For immediate publication:
June 13, 2022
Angela Maria Naso, Public Information Specialist, (951) 660-1925, firstname.lastname@example.org
Riverside County joins global initiative to raise awareness about elder abuse
Local officials encourage communities to value and protect older adults from harm
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. —Last week, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, joining a worldwide effort to prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.
Fifth District Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, Chairman of the Board, said a strong and dedicated network of community and public partners is vital to protecting older adults from abuse and neglect.
“We are committed to providing accessible services to ensure our aging residents have a good quality of life in communities that support their needs,” Hewitt said. “These challenges are impacting many of us and we need to meet them head on together.”
Riverside County is the fourth ‘grayest’ county in California. One in five of the county’s 2.5 million residents is age 60 or older—a population that’s projected to double in coming decades.
Local leaders are collaborating on the statewide Master Plan for Aging to ensure communities are prepared to meet the needs of an aging population. Strengthening social supports and improving their safety are key, advocates say.
“Our seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Maile Haynes, deputy director of programs at Riverside County Office on Aging. Haynes credited partnerships for the county’s ability to bring services and resources to a vulnerable and growing population.
At least one in ten older adults will experience abuse or neglect, which are more likely to increase as an individual ages or experiences a cognitive decline. More than 35,000 reports of suspected elder abuse and neglect were made in Riverside County last year.
Specialized teams that include law enforcement, mental health, medical and community partners collaborate to protect older adults from all types of abuse and neglect. Other teams respond to the needs of seniors living on the streets or who are experiencing a crisis.
“We receive thousands of calls to our hotline every month, but we know that we know that only one out of ten of cases of elder abuse comes to our attention,” said Ryan Uhlenkott, deputy director of Adult Services at the Department of Public Social Services. “By speaking up, we can all raise awareness and eliminate elder abuse right here in our own county.”
For more information on what is being done to prevent elder abuse in Riverside County, please click here.
Report suspected elder or dependent abuse in Riverside County by calling the 24-hour Adult Protective Services hotline at 1-800-491-7123.