Mar 6, 2012 5:40 PM by Andy Koen

Neglect case highlights issue of elder abuse

A Colorado Springs man faces a felony charge of neglect after it was discovered that his 86 year old mother was left lying on the floor in her own waste for 5 days. Dennis Foust, 50, was arrested last Tuesday on a charge of Crimes Against At-Risk Adults.

According to the warrant, Foust called paramedics to their home in 1900 block of Kodiak Drive on January 24 because his mother Margareta reportedly had refused to take her medication. It was later discovered that she had fallen five days earlier and was left lying on the floor.

Foust's attorney Steven Katzman and a neighbor who asked to remain anonymous both confirmed that Foust is disabled as well. He uses a walker and Katzman says he has restricted use of his arms and wrists.  In the warrant, he told the first responders that his mother asked him not to call 911 out of a fear that she would be sent to a nursing home. The document gives no indication of Mr. Foust's physical ability to care for his mother but did find cause for neglect.

Foust was released from jail on a $15,000 bond and is expected to be advised of the charges against him in Court on Wednesday, March 14.

The case brings to light the often overlooked issue in our community of elder abuse. Chris Garvin, the manager of Aging and Adult Services for the El Paso County Department of Human Services, says around 1,300 cases of elder abuse and neglect are reported each year. Of those cases, almost half are for self-neglect. However, Garvin estimates the problem to be much larger.

"It's definitely under reported," he said. "There's probably 5 times as many things going on that we don't know about."

Garvin encourages relatives, friends and neighbors to watch for signs abuse and neglect and report to Adult Protective Services at 444-5755. If there is an emergency, call 911.

"Be aware of your surrounding and how people are interacting with you and around you and report things that seem suspicious because it can save someone's life," Garvin said. His office uses the acronym SPEAK UP to help remember the signs of abuse:

Sudden changes in behavior, finances or lifestyle
Physical injuries, dehydration or malnourishment
Extreme withdrawal, depression or anxiety
Absence of basic care or necessities
Kept away from others

Unsanitary living conditions
Personal items or money missing


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