Annual Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Symposium draws record crowd
Riverside- Riverside- City of Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey welcomed more than 430 community leaders, professionals, and local partners gathered at the Riverside Convention Center for the 5th Annual Elder and Dependent Abuse Awareness Symposium. Mayor Bailey highlighted the need for collaborative efforts and community support in preventing elder and dependent abuse across Riverside County.
The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Adult Services Division hosted the Symposium. The focus was on “Building Bridges” to improve public and private partnerships that focus on services and policies that prevent and address elder abuse.
DPSS Director Susan von Zabern said, “Only 1 in 14 incidents of abuse is actually reported, making the awareness of elder abuse critical to holding perpetrators accountable and equipping friends, neighbors, and family members to recognize, prevent, and respond to abuse and neglect.”
This year’s symposium featured keynote speaker Amber Christ, Senior Staff Attorney with Justice in Aging, who spoke about the importance of advocacy for vulnerable members of our community. Participants also attended breakout sessions with topics such as elder abuse forensics, pharmacotherapy in older adults and Alzheimer’s disease.
Riverside County has the highest estimated growth rate of residents 65 and older, when compared to other Southern California Counties. On average, Riverside County APS handles over 20,000 calls of abuse and neglect to the APS hotline. Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person, and may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and includes mistreatment, neglect, and self-neglect.
“Older adults are important, active, and contributing members of our community. All community members, including seniors, are entitled to live a life that is free of abuse and neglect. It’s time for us to acknowledge their importance and recognize they are entitled to the respect of their communities and especially their families,” said Jennifer Claar, Assistant Director of DPSS Adult Services.
Symposium sponsors included the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, Public Authority, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health, the Department of Public Social Services, the District Attorney’s Office, Office on Aging, Sheriff’s Department, Superior Court-Probate, University of California Riverside School of Medicine, Molina Healthcare, Inland Empire Health Plan, Inland Regional Center, Southern California Gas Company, and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Riverside County DPSS Adult Services regularly provides prevention education to seniors, and training to those interested in how to recognize and report elder abuse. For more information, you can visit their website at: