Elder abuse is a growing problem in this country. While many states have taken steps in helping their elderly citizens with this problem, some have yet to take major actions that ensure the safety of the vulnerable adult community. Colorado is a state that proudly endorses the mandatory reporting of elderly abuse. This is definitely a step in the right direction. It forces indecisive people to speak up and gives them the push they need to seek assistance. Unfortunately, there are still more unreported cases in Colorado, as well as the United States as a whole. The best way to fight elder abuse is to report incidences to the proper authority.
Elder Abuse Colorado: Statistics
According to the Colorado Department of Human Resources, roughly half the reports they receive have to do with either financial exploitation or cases of neglect of the elderly.
As of 2014, Department of Human Resources was given 3 million dollars to be used on better equipment and tracking software to further assist the elderly from abuse. The software has allowed the department to share case information and keep better track of overall statistics.
Using this technology, the state has gathered that 42% of cases involved elder ages 70-79. 44% were for elders ages 80-89 and 12% were for elder ages 90 to 104. There is a steep decline in percentage past 90 because that exceeds the average lifespan.
With this information, the Department of human Resources is better able to hone in on what age groups need more focus and protection. Now they can allocate their limited resources accordingly.
Elder Abuse Colorado: Laws and Regulations
On July 1st, 2014, all professionals that were previously allowed to give information on cases of abuse at their discretion (doctors, lawyers, psychologists, etc.), are now required by law to give this information to the proper authorities within 24 hours.
The mandatory reporting law is also a key factor of elder abuse reduction, which requires everyone to report an incident of abuse. Anyone who was once hesitant about reporting a case of abuse is now forced to speak up. In fact, in Colorado, it’s considered a class 3 misdemeanor if a case is not reported.
Another law that goes a long way in Colorado is the training of banking and financial personnel. They are trained to identify and report cases of financial abuse. The only thing stopping people from reporting elderly abuse in Colorado is the victim’s feelings of embarrassment or fear, but elderly residents of Colorado need to understand that help and protection are available, all you need to do is reach out for it.
Elder Abuse Colorado: Resources
Please contact any of these organizations for assistance with abuse cases: The Colorado Adult Protective Services, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Health Facilities Division External Web Site Policy, Colorado Division of Aging and Adult Services, Colorado Long Term Care Ombudsman. All of these organizations have toll-free numbers and most have 24-hour hotlines where they can be reached.
For any assistance with elderly abuse, contact the Colorado Adult Protective Services office first. If unavailable, any of the other groups mentioned above will be able to help. Remember, you are not alone in your struggle against elder abuse in Colorado.