(COLDWATER) – The abuse and neglect of elders is an issue we have all heard of.
With June 15 being World Elder Abuse Day, the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency wants to help raise awareness of this problem, reminding residents about the importance of reporting suspected elder abuse.
It's estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, exploitation and neglect every year. And that's only part of the problem. Experts also believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, partially because so many communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it.
Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities.
Laura Sutter, Director of Area Agency On Aging Region 3C says we are fortunate in our area to have resources to support elders, including the Services To Victims Of Elder Abuse. The Victim Specialists serve elders and dependent adults who have experienced abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Sutter says caring, person-centered staff offer support and services such as personal and criminal advocacy, referrals to community organizations, emergency financial assistance, housing supports and much more.
If you have been a victim of elder abuse, or want additional information on the resources available in the area, you can contact the Area Agency On Aging Region 3C for St. Joseph and Branch Counties by calling 517-278-2538. In Hillsdale County, you can call the Area Agency On Aging Region 2 at 517-592-1974.
If you wish to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elder citizen, you can call Michigan’s Centralized Intake at 855-444-3911 twenty-four hours a day.
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