In this special edition, I share a wonderful video and important information about Elder and At-Risk abuse. The mistreatment, exploitation, and neglect of Denver’s older and at-risk persons is a serious and ongoing problem. Many cases of abuse and neglect are not reported because victims are afraid or unable to tell police, family, or friends about their abuse. Prosecuting these crimes was important enough that in 2018, I created a dedicated unit, lead by Chief Deputy Jane Walsh, to handle these cases.
Colorado laws are helping the fight against elder and at-risk abuse. In 2015, Colorado enacted the Mandatory Reporting of Abuse and Exploitation of At-Risk Adults. The law requires certain professionals (and their staff and volunteers) to report elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Another Colorado law went into effect making it a class 6 felony to unlawfully confine an at-risk adult and a Class 1 misdemeanor to abandon an at-risk adult. This law, enacting penalties for persons convicted of at-risk adult abuse crimes, was the result of hard-fought lobbying efforts of advocates within the Colorado disability community and Chief Deputy Jane Walsh.
Well known for her work and knowledge surrounding at-risk adult issues, Jane presented on the subject of elder abuse at a recent TEDxMileHigh event. I hope you gain insight into this topic as you watch the video. We’ve also included some valuable information surrounding the warning signs of elder abuse.

As always, keep safe and stay well, Beth



Elder Abuse is illegal, yet each year approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, elder abuse is a global social issue that affects the health and human rights of millions of older persons around the world and deserves the attention of the international community. 
Estimates indicate that by 2050, the global population of people above the age of 60 will exceed the number of younger people. These changes have led to a worldwide recognition of the problems and challenges that face the elderly. Research by the National Institute on Aging has shown that elder abuse, neglect, violence, and exploitation are the biggest issues facing senior citizens around the world. World Health Organization data suggest that 4 to 6 % of elderly suffer from some form of abuse, a large percentage of which goes unreported.     

A Guide to Identifying Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is defined as any abuse, exploitation, or neglect of anyone age 70 years old or older. This guide provides mandatory reporters with the questions to ask and what signs to look for when identifying suspected elder abuse. Speak up and call the police if you suspect someone is being abused. You might save someone from financial ruin or even their life.

Speak Up

Many elders who are being abused are often embarrassed or afraid to say something. That’s why it is critical to speak up, ask questions, and call to report suspicions of elder abuse.  

 Don’t Make Assumptions. Ask Questions.

Tip 1: An abuser often accompanies the victim to various places and appointments. It is always a good idea to ask the talk to the elder alone, to ensure a safe environment for conversation.

Tip 2:  Aging skin is thin, but it doesn’t always explain bruising or skin tears. Ask about the injury.

Tip 3: Walking gingerly is not necessarily a sign of aging. Be sure to examine feet for sores and poor hygiene.

Tip 4:  Confusion about financial transactions is not always a sign of aging. Ask questions to make sure any confusion isn’t a symptom of financial exploitation.

Tip 5: Confusion about or changes related to Wills or Power of Attorney documents may be a sign of financial abuse. Be sure to carefully review documents and ask questions to ensure the elder clearly understands and approves.

Tip 6: Wiring money or withdrawing an unusual amount of money is a possible sign of financial abuse. Ask questions aimed at making sure the person isn’t being pressured to make the transaction. 

Know the signs of Elder Abuse. If anything sounds familiar, call the Police or Adult Protective Services in your area right away.            

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