Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By: Rachel Autera-Polzin, Volunteer Intern

Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, but who comprises the elderly population? Anyone can become a victim, including your grandmothers and grandfathers, neighbors and friends. Elder Abuse Awareness Day was created to raise awareness of abuse and neglect of older adults.

In Michigan, there are approximately 40,000-50,000 elder abuse cases annually; which include physical abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of elder abuse cases that go unreported each year. Some of the abusers in these cases are family, caretakers, or medical personnel. Cases are unreported for many reasons.

Some people might be scared to report abuse that is happening to them or a loved one. Other times the person being abused doesn’t know how to communicate that they are being hurt. There might not be a way for the victim to report the abuse, because abuser is intimidating or isolates them.

What are types of elder abuse?

  1. Physical: causing a person pain or injuring them in any way.
  2. Emotional: causing distress emotionally.
  3. Sexual: inappropriately touching a person without their consent.
  4. Neglect: failing to take care of a person.
  5. Financial: taking money from a person without their knowledge or consent, as well as scamming money.

What are warning signs of elder abuse?

  1. Physical: bruises, cuts, sores that are unexplainable.
  2. Emotional: threatening or controlling behavior toward a person.
  3. Sexual: bruising or lesions around genitalia or chest area.
  4. Neglect: dehydration, malnutrition, or unexpected weight loss.
  5. Financial: large or multiple unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

In Michigan, you can report elder abuse by calling Adult Protective Services at 1-855-444-3911. You do not need to leave your name when reporting.

Remember, there is NO EXCUSE for Elder Abuse.