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June 27, 2012

Elder Abuse on the Rise

ELDER ABUSE ON THE RISE
By LISA ERMAK
The Holland Sentinel
Jun 26, 2012

Holland —
Elder abuse is an unrecognized, unreported social problem and one Lynne McCollum, elder abuse prevention specialist with the state of Michigan, predicts will only get worse as the population of people 60 years old and over steadily increases.
Elder abuse in Michigan has increased 30 percent over the past five years, according to numbers from Adult Protective Services.
The mistreatment results in loss or harm to an elderly person, including neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence, financial abuse and psychological abuse.
Every year, more than 2 million elderly Americans are victims of abuse and exploitation, while about 73,000 are victims in Michigan, according to the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging.
McCollum said elder abuse remains under the radar, since victims are often unable to come forward and self report or are afraid to.
“Isolation is a primary tactic utilized by abusers, preventing the vulnerable adult from contact with individuals who could report abuse,” she said. “Further, given that a majority of vulnerable adults are victimized by someone close to them, many feel shame in reporting someone they know and love is harming them.”
Dolores Trese works as managing attorney of the Holland office of Legal Aid of Western Michigan and is a member of the Tri-County Senior Protection Team, a task force that tries to address the issues of elder abuse in Ottawa, Muskegon, and Oceana counties.

 Abridged
SOURCE:     The Holland-Sentinel

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