“Elder abuse is happening right under our noses. Let’s put a stop to it!”
With a determined call to action, Eva Veitch, community living services director with the Region 10 Area Agency on Aging, kicked off the “No Excuse for Elder Abuse” event at the Holiday Inn in Montrose. Those who attended were given an excellent—although occasionally grim—report on the scourge of elder abuse in our community. Much of the advice was about how to prevent becoming a victim.
District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller said that there has been a steep and steady increase in the number and severity of the elder abuse cases that his office is filing. His office has already filed more cases than the previous year.
“When you become aware of or suspect elder abuse, call the police or adult protective services.” Hotsenpiller advised.
Montrose Police Commander Gene Lillard assured seniors that the police are here to help. “Even if it’s just a well person check, we still make house calls,” he said.
Phil Rosty, a fraud detective with the department, suggested that before responding to a fraudster’s request for your information, you should ask yourself, “Did I request this?” If not, hang up the phone, throw away the letter or flag the email as SPAM.
But sometimes tricksters show up at your door. Such was the case of one local woman, who said a young man had recently come to her house asking for a gas can and use of the facilities. She later discovered he had ransacked the medicine cabinet in search of drugs.
Spotting elder abuse
Montrose Mayor Judy Files said the city is becoming Telluride’s assisted living facility, and it’s true. As our local population grows grayer and more retired people discover the value of living here, the cases of elder abuse are expected to grow with it.
We need to protect ourselves and others. Unfortunately, most elder abuse goes unreported, as the victim often feels embarrassed or ashamed. All too often, the abuse comes from someone close to the victim, like a family member. It’s important to recognize the signs.
“Sometimes there are changes in the person’s mood, hygiene and personal relationships,” said Montrose Police Officer Courtney Jones. “We need to look after each other.”