News Release

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB

DATE: October 15, 2002

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108

 

EAST COUNTY LEADERS TOUT SUCCESS OF ELDER ABUSE UNIT

When County Supervisor Dianne Jacob helped fund a team of social service specialists to reach out to seniors who are abused, neglected or taken advantage of, she hoped it would be successful. She just didn't expect the new La Mesa Adult Protective Services Unit to yield 125 calls every month.

Spearheaded by Howard Gordon of the City of La Mesa's Senior Commission and supported by retired firefighter and La Mesa City Councilman Dave Allan, the La Mesa Adult Protective Services Unit (APS), pairs social service workers with officers at the La Mesa Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes against seniors in East County.

The La Mesa APS Unit is the latest tool in the County's ongoing effort to halt crimes against seniors.

"From elder abuse to scammers who target seniors, we're finding out about the people who prey on often vulnerable seniors," said Supervisor Jacob. "Our ultimate goal is to keep our seniors safe and healthy and this program gives us one more advantage over those that would harm our seniors," she said.

APS officials receive about 7,500 reports of abuse involving seniors every year. Half are reports of self-neglect. The other half are reports of abuse to seniors by others. The most frequent forms of abuse against seniors are psychological abuse and financial.

The program also is capable of referring seniors to senior-focused social service agencies.

"This is more than just investigating crime," Jacob continued. "We're also linking seniors with nutrition programs, volunteer programs and health services. We're hoping to truly enhance the quality of their lives" Jacob
said.

The new APS La Mesa unit is located at 8111 University Avenue in La Mesa, next to the County Library. It services seniors in La Mesa, Spring Valley, Lemon Grove and parts of the City of San Diego. It is staffed by nine San Diego County social service caseworkers.

The Adult Protective Service 24-hour reporting hotline is 1-800-510-2020.