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Who’s Elderly? Nearly 150,000 Riverside County Adults Get New Definition  

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2022

Contact: Gene Kennedy
Senior Public Information Specialist
(951) 203-0343

Who’s Elderly? Nearly 150,000 Riverside County Adults Get New Definition
State law now defines age 60 as elderly as part of long-term effort to end abuse and neglect

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.—Californians who turn age 60 are now recognized as elderly under a new state law that expands who is eligible to receive adult protective services.

Assembly Bill 135 took effect Jan 1. The legislation changed the definition of a senior from age 65 to 60. The law also defines a dependent adult as a person between age 18 and 59 who has both a disability and inability to protect themselves from abuse or neglect.

The changes align with a statewide roadmap to bring resources and support long-term planning for aging and at-risk adult populations.

Riverside County is the tenth most-populous county in the nation and one of the ‘grayest’ in California. One in five of its 2.5 million residents is age 60 or older—a population that is projected to double in coming decades Officials say an additional 150,000 adults countywide may currently be eligible for protective services under the new definition.

“We’re here to meet the needs of at-risk adults. We hope our ability to intervene sooner will lead to better outcomes for everyone,” said Todd Bellanca, assistant director of Adult Services at the county’s Department of Public Social Services.

Anyone who suspects an adult is the victim of abuse or neglect in Riverside County, should call the 24-hour Adult Protective Services hotline at (800) 491-7123. Mandated reporters can also report suspected elder abuse and neglect online at

The revised age definition is part of California Assembly Bill 135 which passed last summer and includes additional funding to support Adult Protective Services and programs that provide disability benefits and house seniors experiencing homelessness. You can learn more by viewing this video.

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