(Photo courtesy of Sonoma County)

Last year’s 6,460 elder abuse reports in Sonoma County were the highest ever, Sonoma County officials said last week, and the county is joining a statewide effort to raise awareness about the issue during June’s Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

The Elder Justice Coalition, comprised of community partners including senior centers in Sebastopol and Healdsburg, are offering free presentations titled “Frauds, Scams and Other Types of Elder Abuse,” said Kris Montgomery, spokeswoman for the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.

The Sebastopol presentation at 167 N. High St. is at 1-2:30 p.m. on June 20, and the Healdsburg presentation at 133 Matheson St. starts with a senior potluck at 5:30 p.m. on June 24.

One-quarter of the county’s residents are 60 and older, and prevention and intervention in elder abuse and neglect is vital to those residents, Montgomery said.

Sonoma County also plans to display signs and banners in Healdsburg, Windsor, Sebastopol and Petaluma urging residents to notice a senior in crisis and call authorities.

Other senior centers in the county will display purple flags that show the number of elder abuse reports in their communities last year. Santa Rosa had 3,253 reports and Petaluma reported 814. Cloverdale, the county’s smallest city, had 181 reports.

The county’s Adult Protective Services’ elder abuse reporting hotlines for residents in homes and apartments are available 24 hours a day at 707-565-5940 or 800-667-0404.

For concerns about residents of skilled nursing and residential care facilities, call the long-term care ombudsman at 707-526-4108 or 800-231-4024.

Information on how to recognize and report elder abuse is available at socoelderprotect.org.