With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day coming up, Longmont is hosting a community event this Thursday to raise awareness and provide attendees with tools for recognizing and preventing elder abuse.
Saturday, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and in honor of it, a community event is happening in Longmont this Thursday to inform residents about the prevalence and dangers of elder abuse.
In the United States, one in 10 older Americans is neglected or abused each year. Elder abuse is also vastly under-reported.
According to Erica Corson, the elder rights program manager with the Area Agency on Aging for Boulder County, elder abuse takes on four different forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
“All of these are affecting millions of people … but are very under-reported,” said Corson. “We’ve seen statistics that show that only one in 14 are reported so, even though it’s happening to millions of people, we know it’s happening to millions more.”
On a national scale and in Boulder County specifically, the most common form of elder abuse is financial exploitation. This kind of exploitation most often occurs at the hands of family members or caregivers, not strangers or phone scams.
The fact that most elder abusers are people that the victim knows likely contributes to the underreporting of these crimes.
“You don’t want somebody who you love to be in trouble so it’s definitely something that’s delicate,” said Corson. “These are things that take a community effort to report and to follow up on and make sure that it’s preventable.”
The event, taking place from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Longmont Senior Center, will feature members of the Longmont Police Department, the Boulder County District Attorney Office, Adult Protective Services and the Area Agency on Aging.
According to Corson, these resources are vital for anyone concerned about elder abuse in their lives.
“As long as there’s other agencies involved, more eyes on a person, more people involved then the risk of elder abuse happening is reduced significantly,” said Corson.
Overall, the most important thing to do to prevent elder abuse is to not stay silent. Events like Longmont’s are helping to begin the conversation in local communities so that these crimes may be adequately addressed.
“This is a tough topic to talk about … so it’s really about raising awareness and just protecting ourselves,” said Corson. “The more involvement, the more contacts, the more connections people have with their neighbors and their community, the better off we all are.”
The Elder Abuse Awareness Event will be taking place this Thursday, June 13 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Longmont Senior Center at 910 Longs Peak Ave. The event is open to the public but attendees must register prior to the event. You can register in person or over the phone by calling (303) 651-8411. For more information about the event click here.