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Aging and Disability Information & Resources

Colorado’s older citizens lose millions of dollars every year to financial exploitation. Con artists deliberately target older adults, preying on their loneliness, trusting natures, and lack of financial savvy. Adults over the age of 60 make up 18% of the population in Denver; but they account for over 30% of the victims in the Denver District Attorney’s Economic Crime Unit. Of those who prey on the elderly, two-thirds of the perpetrators are known to the victim, either as care giver, relative or trusted advisor.

Vulnerable Circumstances

  • Living alone and isolated; lonely; no family members or friends in the immediate area from whom to seek advice.
  • Lack of knowledge on financial, legal and insurance matters; little attention paid to financial accounts. Inexperienced and unsophisticated investors.
  • Over-dependence on one caregiver or advisor, particularly if that person is financially dependent, controlling or seeks to further isolate the at-risk adult.
  • Overly trusting and charitable, causing victim to project trust on perpetrators: “He wouldn’t tell me I needed a new roof if it wasn’t true.”
  • Refusal of help - don’t seek a second opinion.

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is the intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that harms, or could harm, an older adult.  Abuse comes in all forms:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Abandonment

Report It!  If you see abuse or neglect happening, call 911 in case of an urgent situation, or Adult Protective Services Hotline 720-944-2994. Recognize the warning signs of abuse:

  • Sudden changes in behavior, finances, or life style
  • Physical injuries, dehydration, malnourishment
  • Extreme withdrawal, or depression
  • Absence of basic care or necessities
  • Kept away from friends, neighbors and family
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Personal items or money missing

Click here informational brochure: “Speak Up! Against Elder Abuse” (in English en Espanol)


Signs of Financial Exploitation

Physical Signs

  • Unusual activity in bank accounts: numerous withdrawals from ATMs, bounced checks, credit card accounts maxed out.
  • Personal belongings such as jewelry, antiques, and silverware missing.
  • Numerous unpaid bills, overdue rent, when a caregiver is to be paying.
  • Adult is living well below his/her means and complaining of not having enough money, no food, poorly dressed, lack of heat.
  • Eviction notice arrives when the adult thought they owned their house.

Care Giver Exploitation

  • Care giver tries to isolate the adult. Tells the adult other friends and family don’t want to see him/her. Care giver has total control.
  • Care giver asks only financial questions. Has an unusual interest in the amount of money spent on the care of the adult; concern that too much is being spent. Refusing to spend money on the adult’s care.
  • Care giver is evasive about financial arrangements. Makes up implausible stories about the adult’s finances.
  • New acquaintances expressing emotional, undying affection for the at-risk adult.

Legal Exploitation

  • Power of Attorney given when the adult is unable to comprehend their financial situation, and is not capable of giving valid Power of Attorney.
  • Recent changes of title of house in favor of a friend when the adult is incapable of understanding the nature of the transaction.
  • Recent revisions to the Will when the adult is clearly incapable of taking such action.
  • Adult says they have been signing papers but doesn’t know what they are.
  • Promises of life-long care in exchange for a Will or deeding of property.

Why At-Risk Victims Don’t Complain

  • Belief that he/she is to blame
  • Lack of alternatives
  • Fear of not being believed
  • Fear of separation from home and family
  • Economic dependence on abuser
  • Fear of the criminal justice system

If you or someone you know is being hurt or extorted or feels threatened or frightened, speak up and report the situation either to the police department in your area, or Adult Protective Services at 720-944-2994.

Aging and Elders Resources

Adult Protective Services
Each county has an Adult Protective Services (APS) program to serve the area.  County APS programs provide for the safety and protection of at-risk adults who are, or are suspected to be, victims of mistreatment. Area County APS intake phone numbers for reporting a concern:

303-480-6700


Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Area Agency on Aging
Serves adults 60 and older, people over 18 years of age with disabilities, and their caregivers throughout Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Douglas, Gilpin and Jefferson counties, and the cities and counties of Denver and Broomfield.

Talk to an Aging and Disability Resources specialist at 303-480-6700, or go to their Network of Care provider listings at http://denverregion.co.networkofcare.org/aging/services/index.aspx for services such as 


Nursing Home/Long-term Care Resident Abuse

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
People living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities need support, protection and advocacy.  The DRCOG Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is designed to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents living in assisted living residences and nursing homes. It is a federally mandated free advocacy service.  For more information about Colorado’s ombudsman program, click here.

Contact the Denver area Ombudsman at 303-455-1000.

See also Disability Law Colorado/Ombudsman by clicking here.


Nursing Home/Long-Term Locator
In addition to DRCOG’s directory of service providers, the DRCOG Long-Term Care Ombudsman can also assist in determining a suitable nursing home.  For assistance, call 303-455-1000.


Seniors’ Resource Center
303-238-8151
www.srcaging.org

Seniors’ Resource Center is a non-profit provider of information, services and advocacy for seniors in the Metro Denver area and surrounding communities. Our programs and services are designed to help seniors remain independent, living in their own homes.


Senior Law Handbook - Colorado Bar Association
View the handbook online, or order your own copy at:
http://www.cobar.org/seniorlawhandbook


Persons with Disabilities Resources

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Assistance

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF)
303-866-6010
State Relay:  711
Email:  hcpf504ada@state.co.us
Website: Click here


Social Security Benefits

Colorado Department of Human Services/DDS
Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state agency that makes the disability decisions for Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/assistance-people-disabilities


Disability Services—Denver

Denver Department of Human Services/Disability Services
Text 311 or call 720-944-3666
Relay:  711
Website: Click here


Disability Services—State

Colorado Department of Human Services, Aging & Disability Resources for Colorado (ADRC)

Provides services to adults age 18 and over who have disabilities or functional impairments or are otherwise at risk through programs administered through the County Departments of Social (Human) Services or through regional Area Agencies on Aging.

Phone: 1-844-265-2372
Website: Click here


Programs for Individuals with Physical or Developmental Disabilities

Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF)
Website: Click here


Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Health Care Program (HCP)
303-692-2370
www.colorado.gov/cdphe/hcp


Advocacy Denver

A program assisting people of all ages with developmental or intellectual disabilities by helping with legal issues, housing, education, financial guidance, and more.
www.advocacydenver.org


Disability Law Colorado 

Disability Law Colorado is an independent, public interest non-profit organization, specializing in civil rights and discrimination issues ranging from special education, housing, and employment, to long-term care and voting rights.

303-722-0300
www.disabilitylawco.org


Mental Health Center of Denver

Assists the Denver community with treatment, support and prevention related to mental health.

303-722-0300
www.mhcd.org


The ARC of Colorado

The Arc of Colorado is a private not-for-profit statewide volunteer organization dedicated to support and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  ARC connects clients to community resources, help them to understand and access government services, and stand with them when they need an advocate.

303-864-9334
www.thearcofco.org/advocacy/index.php