Symposium Seeks to Broaden Understanding, Find Solutions to Elder Abuse

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Finding ways to prevent abuse of seniors and those with physical limitations will be the focus of a conference Thursday in downtown Riverside.

The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services will have its annual “Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Symposium” at the Convention Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., hosting talks and breakout sessions involving representatives from nonprofits, law enforcement agencies, medical practices, social service agencies and other fields.

Among those slated to speak are county Chief Executive Officer Jeff Van Wagenen, geriatric specialist Dr. Wael Hamade, Deputy District Attorney Maureen DuMouchel, Superior Court Probate Director Sheri Gulino and DPSS Deputy Director Ryan Uhlenkott.

“June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on June 15,” according to a DPSS statement. “The prevalence of elder abuse is said to be about 10%, which includes physical abuse, psychological or verbal abuse, financial exploitation and neglect … While any older person is potentially at risk, some are more susceptible, such as women and people 80 and older.”

There will be workshops specifically geared to how to detect and stop abuse.

In 2017, DPSS initiated its “Know Abuse, Report Abuse” campaign to awaken more residents to the existence of abusive circumstances and promote reporting suspected cases of neglect or other forms of mistreatment to law enforcement.

In California, custodial neglect and self-neglect are both treated as forms of abuse.

The following examples have been cited as red flags for anyone suspicious that abuse is occurring:

— an elder or dependent adult going without food, water and other basic amenities;

— dirty clothing and lack of personal hygiene;

— bruises, black eyes, broken bones;

— bloody, ripped or stained clothing and sheets;

— acts of harassment, intimidation or humiliation; and

— caregiver’s apparent misuse of senior’s or disabled adult’s funds.

The county operates a 24-hour hotline to take reports of elder or dependent adult abuse: 800-491-7123.

Instances involving potential abuse at a residential care facility or assisted living facility should be referred to the California Department of Adult Protective Services: 833-401-0832.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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