BCAAA Elder Rights

Elder Rights

Boulder County Area Agency on Aging works to protect the rights of elders to live safely, with dignity and to be free from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

Elder Abuse Awareness

  • Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited.
  • Some estimates put losses from elder abuse over $36 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care.
  • Elder abuse occurs in every demographic and can happen to anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you.
  • It is estimated that only one in 24 of these crimes are reported.
  • Most elder abuse is perpetrated by a person close to an older adult. Only around four percent of elder abuse is perpetrated by strangers and formal, or paid, caregivers.

Reporting Elder Abuse

Abuse of an older adult can happen in many ways. They might be kept from seeing family or friends. Money might be used without consent, or there could be threats of harm. Often times, the older adult may have their health, general care, or emotional needs neglected.

  • Mandatory Reporting – Elder abuse is now reportable by specific groups of people that work with or come in contact with older adults. They should receive training to identify elder abuse and report it according to legal requirements. Learn more about mandatory reporting. Reports of elder abuse by mandatory reporters should be made to local law enforcement within 24 hours.
  • Reporting – For the rest of us, while not mandated, we are encouraged to call Adult Protective Services (303-441-1309) with concerns or 911 in an emergency.

The BCAAA is a member of the Elder Justice Coalition, a collaboration of local agencies including Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, Safehouse of St. Vrain, Moving to End Sexual Assault, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement in multiple municipalities in Boulder County, Adult Protective Services, City of Boulder and Longmont, and other agencies that serve older adults. We continually work to raise awareness, prevent elder abuse and provide a collaborative community response to elder abuse.

What is Elder Abuse? For the purposes of the law in Colorado elder abuse is divided into four main categories. Learn more by clicking the titles below.

Aside from the obvious (slapping, punching, kicking, etc.), physical abuse can also include more subtle forms like chemical and physical restraints, confinement, force feeding, and punishment. Physical abuse is the use of force that may result in physical injury, physical pain or impairment.

The obvious forms of sexual abuse are easy to identify (unwanted contact and sexual assault) but this could also be touching genitals during care, exposure to explicit photography or video and images of older adults in various stages of undress.

This includes illegal or improper use of a person’s funds, property or assets. This can include cashing check or stealing funds/money, forging a person’s signature, undue influence to convince a person to sign a document, and/or misuse of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.

Neglect is failure by a caregiver to provide a person with life necessities like food, water, shelter, personal hygiene, medical, or comfort needs and other essentials.

*Although self-neglect is frequently reported, it is not included in the criminal statute. Older adults maintain the right to self determination and the ability to make decisions for themselves that may not be recommended by others, as long as they have capacity to do so.

Additional Information

If you would like more information about elder rights and elder abuse issues, or to schedule a community presentation on the warning signs of abuse and what to do about it, please contact our Elder Rights Program Manager at 303-441-1170, or ecorson@bouldercounty.org.

If you have concerns about care or resident rights in an assisted living or nursing home in Boulder County, please contact our Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. Click here for more information.

Contact Us


Boulder County Area
Agency on Aging

Main: 303-441-3570

to the Aging Well e-newsletter.


Location

Sundquist Building
3482 Broadway Street
Boulder, CO 80304
Map & Directions
Hours: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F


Mailing Address

PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306