Skip to main content

El Paso Thrive After 60

Grace Ortiz: A Champion for Senior Abuse Prevention

Mar 04, 2024 12:56PM ● By Bella Ramirez

Grace Ortiz, a dedicated advocate for seniors and adults with disabilities, serves as the Faith Based and Community Engagement Specialist at Adult Protective Services (APS) in El Paso, Texas. With a career spanning over two decades, Grace has been instrumental in raising awareness about abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation faced by vulnerable individuals in our community.

Starting her journey with APS in 2004 as an investigator, Grace witnessed firsthand the hardships endured by seniors and disabled adults. This experience ignited a passion within her to become a voice for those who often go unheard. In 2010, she transitioned into the role of Community Engagement Specialist, where she focuses on educating the public and professional organizations on recognizing and reporting signs of abuse.

When asked about her motivation, Grace emphasizes the importance of community involvement. "We have to do this together," she asserts. "To protect our seniors and persons with disabilities, it takes all of us to make this happen." Grace encourages individuals to be proactive by checking on seniors, being aware of signs of abuse, and reporting any suspicions to APS.

In addition to her work at APS, Grace is actively involved in several community organizations. As the Chairperson of the Extreme Weather Task Force, she oversees the distribution of free blankets in winter and fans in summer to elderly and disabled individuals without adequate heating or cooling. This initiative aims to prevent weather-related fatalities among vulnerable populations.

Grace also serves as an instructor in the Senior Adult Program at El Paso Community College. Her class, "Getting Older Does Not Have to be Hard," focuses on preparing seniors for various aspects of aging, including caregiving, legal matters, and organization. Through her teaching, Grace empowers seniors to approach aging with positivity and preparedness.

Additionally, Grace is the liaison to the APS Silver Star Board, a group dedicated to raising awareness and supporting APS programs. The board provides educational opportunities and assists seniors with services not covered by APS. Grace also manages the APS Silver Room, which houses donations for neglected APS clients, including toiletries, cleaning products, medical equipment, blankets, fans, and adult underwear.

One of Grace's key initiatives is the APS Annual Crimes Against the Elderly Conference, held in June during Elder Abuse Awareness Month. The conference features educational sessions on topics affecting seniors and disabled adults, along with vendor booths providing information on available services. Attendees are asked to donate a toiletry item for the APS Silver Room, further supporting vulnerable individuals in the community.

Grace's dedication to protecting seniors and adults with disabilities has made a significant impact in the El Paso community. Her tireless efforts to educate, advocate, and support those in need serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration to others. Grace's message is clear: by partnering to protect, we can create a safer and more inclusive community for all.

Resources for Reporting Abuse or Neglect

Texas Abuse 24/7 Hotline: 1(800) 252-5400


APS Annual Crimes Against the Elderly Conference

Date: June 13, 2024 

Time: 8:30am-4:30pm

Location: EPCC ASC College Conference Center, 9050 Viscount Building A