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Protecting Our Elders: Recognizing and Reporting Elder Abuse

It's a sad reality that abuse and neglect can happen to anyone, including those in their golden years. Elder abuse is a widespread problem affecting thousands of older adults yearly. Financial exploitation, neglect, and physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are all forms of elder abuse. Many elders who suffer from abuse don't report it because they're being maltreated by someone close to them, such as a family member or caregiver.

There are many signs of elder abuse that you can look out for, such as unexplained injuries, sudden changes in behavior, and financial irregularities. Some indicators that you or someone you love is being abused are:

  • Physical abuse may manifest as burns, unexplained bruises, scars, or broken bones. The elder may seem scared, too eager to please, or easily startled.

  • Neglect may appear as bedsores, malnutrition, or dehydration.

  • Sexual Abuse includes unwanted sexual harassment or contact and could result in STDs or genital bruises.

  • Emotional Abuse can take the form of verbal assaults, threats, yelling, or isolation.

  • Financial Abuse may be apparent through changes in spending habits, missing cash, or alterations to important documents.

  • Self-neglect, usually seen with dementia, can lead to homelessness, living in unsanitary conditions, or missing appointments.

Elder abuse can have severe consequences for the victim's health and well-being, leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. In severe cases, it can result in debilitating physical injuries and even death. It's crucial that we take steps to prevent elder abuse and protect our elderly loved ones.

If you are being abused or suspect an elderly person you know is being abused or neglected, it's essential to act. Elder abuse is a crime in all states. In Colorado, you must report the abuse to the Adult Protective Services office in the county where the senior lives and to the local police department. Remember, everyone deserves to be safe from harm, regardless of age. With vigilance and action, we can prevent elder abuse and ensure that our older adults are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

For more information or if you need assistance, check these resources:

Adult Protective Services (APS)

Information on Adult Protection and Elder Abuse reporting and services.

1200 Federal Boulevard

Denver, Colorado,


Hotline Number(s)


Main Phone Number(s)


Center for Trauma & Resilience

Supportive services for crime victims (counseling, trauma-sensitive yoga), legal services for VAWA immigration matters, translation and interpretation services.

P.O. Box 18975

Denver, Colorado,


Hotline Number(s)

(303)-894-8000 English

(303)-718-8289 Spanish

711 Relay Colorado for the Hearing and Speech Impaired

Main Phone Number(s)

(303)-860-0660 Translation & Interpreting Center

(303)-996-0976 English

(303)-996-0975 Español

Disability Law Colorado

Legal assistance for people with disabilities and older people, training, advocacy, and investigation of abuse.

455 Sherman St Ste 130

Denver, Colorado,


Main Phone Number(s)


AARP Elder Watch Colorado

Prevention of financial exploitation of older Coloradans, in partnership with the Colorado Attorney General.

Main Phone Number(s)

888-OUR-AARP (888-627-2277)


1-800-222-4444 option 2

Seniors’ Resource Center

Supportive services to help older adults live independently.

3227 Chase Street

Denver, Colorado,


Main Phone Number(s)


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