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Riverside County unites with global campaign to prevent elder abuse  

June 14, 2023

For immediate publication:

Gene Kennedy, Senior Public Information Specialist, (951) 203-0343, [email protected]
Angela Maria Naso, Public Information Specialist, (951) 660-1925, [email protected]

Riverside County unites with global campaign to prevent elder abuse  
Local officials encourage communities to value and protect older adults from harm 

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. —Tomorrow, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and Riverside County is joining the worldwide campaign to take a stand against the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.

Launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, WEEAD is celebrated each year to unite communities around the world to protect seniors by raising awareness about elder abuse, why it occurs, and what can be done to stop it.                                                                 

One in five of Riverside County’s 2.5 million residents is age 60 or older—a population projected to grow by nearly 250% in coming decades, according to the California Department of Aging.

“Riverside County residents deserve to age with dignity and respect,” said County Executive Officer Jeff Van Wagenen. “Our senior citizens are among our most vulnerable populations, and as such, we must, as a society, increase our understanding of elder abuse. Check in on your families, friends, and neighbors. Ask how they are doing. We can all work together to make a difference to prevent elder abuse.”

Every year, an estimated one in ten older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Every year, Riverside County’s Adult Protective Services receives about 50,000 calls and online reports of suspected elder abuse and neglect. Those reports lead to approximately 19,000 investigations per year.

Experts believe elder abuse is often underreported, in part because some communities lack social supports, which would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it.

“Many of us know about instances involving the exploitation or neglect of someone we know or even in our own families,” said Todd Bellanca, assistant director of Adult Services Division at the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services. “That is why it is important to be vigilant in engaging with our elders and other vulnerable adults in our communities. We can offer lifelines to those who need help by reporting abuse when we see it.”

If you or an older or dependent adult you know is experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Riverside County, please call the 24-hour Adult Protective Services hotline at 1-800-491-7123.