County to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
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Sonoma County is commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.

Elder abuse investigation and prevention are a priority for the Human Services Department and its community partners. 

In 2013, the Adult Protective Services Program received more than 3,400 reports of suspected elder and dependent adult abuse in the community. This represents a 110 per cent increase in reports in the past 10 years. 

In 2013, the Senior Advocacy Services Ombudsman Program responded to more than 900 reports of elder abuse and neglect in licensed care facilities in Sonoma County.

More than 6,500 people turn 65 every year in Sonoma County. That trend will continue for the next 20 years. 

Nationwide, the senior population is growing, and a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year, an estimated 5 million or 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. 

Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 24 cases go unreported.

“We should all be aware of the growing number of incidents of elder abuse and neglect,” Sonoma County Human Services Department Director Jerry Dunn said. “By providing information and resources to elder abuse, we hope that people will have the tools to protect themselves. Our goal is for all seniors to live in health and dignity.”

To raise awareness about increasing elder abuse in Sonoma County, more than 4,000 purple flags will be planted on the lawn in front the County Administration building in early June. Each flag represents one report of elder abuse made in Sonoma County. 

To find more about recognizing signs elder and dependent adult abuse, go to To make a report of elder abuse or neglect in the community, call APS at (707) 565-5940 or (800) 667-0404. 

To make a report of elder abuse or neglect in a licensed facility, call the Ombudsman Program at (707) 526-4108 or (800) 231-4024.

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