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How Colorado works to protect older adults from elder abuse

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Elder Law |

The state has a duty to those who are too vulnerable to protect themselves. State authorities can intervene on behalf of those incapable of ensuring their own safety. For example, there are agencies dedicated to the protection of children who face abuse and misconduct from parents or other caregivers.

The state also has systems in place to protect older adults from abuse. Elder adults are vulnerable to misconduct due to health challenges and other factors. Their interpersonal relationships and personal assets might make them a target of abusive or unethical individuals.

How does Colorado work protect older adults from abusive behavior?

Adult Protective Services can help

Just as there is an agency dedicated to the protection of vulnerable children, so too is there a state organization aimed at protecting vulnerable older adults. Adult Protective Services in Colorado receives reports from concerned members of the public about abusive conduct toward vulnerable older individuals.

The organization can investigate claims of misconduct ranging from in-home caregiver abuse committed by family members to overt negligence at nursing home facilities. Adult Protective Services can remove vulnerable adults from certain situations and can create penalties for those involved in the mistreatment of vulnerable older adults. However, the agency is limited and more cases and reports than it can reasonably manage, which is why Colorado does not make the list of the safest states for elder adults. Older adults may need to protect themselves whenever possible.

How estate planning can help

Older adults can take steps to limit their vulnerability to abuse as they age. Creating a comprehensive estate plan is an important step toward minimizing caregiver abuse. Those who have engaged in crucial elder law planning efforts, such as long-term care planning and incapacity planning, can protect themselves from certain forms of misconduct. Granting someone they trust authority in the event of cognitive decline can be beneficial. So can transferring control of certain assets to a trust as a way of minimizing the incentive to engage in financial misconduct.

Those who worry that they may be vulnerable to elder abuse may want to prioritize elder law matters as they prepare for retirement. Understanding the limits to the state’s systems in place for the protection of older adults may benefit those worried about becoming dependent on others as they age.