County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Let’s Work Together to Support Our Older Adult Community During COVID-19 June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month

Santa Rosa, CA  –  June 9, 2020  –  Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10 older Americans experience physical, mental, and financial elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The COVID Crisis has increased isolation for older and dependent adults, likely causing unreported instances of concerns from neighbors and others. Individuals and community-wide prevention efforts and supportive services can help keep older adults safe and healthy, helping stop abuse before it happens.    

County Supervisor Shirlee Zane invites community members of all ages to join together in supporting local solutions by attending a virtual Town Hall Meeting. The event, titled “Let’s Work Together to Support Our Older Adult Community” is scheduled for Monday, June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, from 6.00PM to 7.30PM. The event, supported by the County of Sonoma Human Services Department’s Adult & Aging Division, the Office of the District Attorney, and a number of local non-profits that serve older adults will be presented on Zoom and live-streamed on Supervisor Zane’s official Facebook page.

“Before this pandemic, we already knew that elder and dependent adult abuse is a complex and growing issue that requires all of us – families, caregivers, and community organizations – to work together to provide the support our older adults need to stay healthy, safe, engaged and independent,” said Shirlee Zane, of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “This is especially critical during a period that has caused extended isolation.” Zane is also the chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Long Term Care subcommittee, and serves on the steering committee of the County’s Aging Together Initiative. 

Prevention and intervention in elder abuse and neglect by caring community members is vital to the health of Sonoma County where residents age 60 and older account for over 25% of the population. Participants in the June 15 Town Hall meeting will gain insight on how to help older adults detect and prevent scams, frauds, and financial abuse. Additionally, local senior service agencies will provide information about support services to address the nutrition, transportation, physical, and mental health needs of our elder community. 

“A connected community is a better community, especially for vulnerable or isolated citizens, such as older adults. If we all take part in supporting one another, nobody should be left alone,” added Paul Dunaway, Adult and Aging Division Director. “Sonoma County is rich with resources.  Knowing about them and getting involved aims for our highest potential.” 

A Q&A session will follow the informational panel, and will include representatives from: 

  • Council on Aging
  • Family Justice Center Sonoma County
  • Legal Aid of Sonoma County
  • Petaluma People Services Center
  • Redwood Caregiver Resource Center
  • Senior Advocacy Services
  • Sonoma County Adult & Aging Division
  • Sonoma County District Attorney

Call the 24-hour Sonoma County Adult Protective Services (APS) hotline to report concerns about older adults living in homes or apartments in the community at (707) 565-5940 or (800) 667-0404. 

For concerns about residents of skilled nursing and residential care facilities, call the Senior Advocacy Services’ Ombudsman program at (707) 526-4108 or (800) 231-4024.

Questions on access to virtual Town Hall:

Download Event Flyer


Contact Information

Paul Gullixson
Communications Manager
County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235