June 15, 2021 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day here in Lake County and across our country. It is the time of year when cities and states can take a moment to shed light on this significant issue. “This is an opportunity for Lake County to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons and raise awareness of elder abuse ensuring security and dignity for all seniors,” said Commissioner John R. Hamercheck, president of the Board of Lake County Commissioners.
Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our 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 come to the attention of authorities. “Lake County is not immune to the issue of elder abuse,” said Commissioner John Plecnik. “When we come together, we can prevent elder abuse from happening. We can put support services in place, and direct the necessary community resources.”
During the year 2020, the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services responded to over 375 calls concerning abuse, neglect or exploitation of a senior. Although these calls varied in nature, the one common theme was the mistreatment of a vulnerable member of our community. “The Lake County Department of Job and Family Services is fortunate to have a dedicated unit of social workers who investigate elder abuse and neglect. Anyone who suspects an elderly individual in our community is being abused, neglected or exploited should contact our agency to report their concerns,” said Job and Family Services Director Suzanne Casar.
Each year the Board of Commissioners support and recognize the importance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and this year is no different. During their June 10th meeting the Lake County Commissioners graciously passed a resolution declaring June 15, 2021, as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Lake County. Lake County Adult Protective Services will recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by hosting a virtual training for professionals focused on financial exploitation and undue influence. Additionally, the agency, in partnership with the Association of Specialists in Aging (ASA), will display purple and white silhouettes at Life Brand Cowboy Church in Painesville. The silhouettes, which symbolize our aging population, serve as a reminder that elder abuse does exist and that it takes a community to recognize and report signs of maltreatment in order to keep seniors safe.
“Elder abuse is a crime. If you see something, say something,” said Commissioner Ron Young. “This is a good reminder to check in with your older neighbors, family members, and friends to see how they are doing and if there is anything they need.” For more information, or to report concerns of abuse, neglect or exploitation, contact the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services, Adult Protective Services Division at (440) 350-4000.