Help prevent elder abuse

To the editor:

The Jefferson County commissioners approved a proclamation recognizing June 2015 as World Elder Abuse Month. The proclamation is to raise awareness of elder abuse. The proclamation signed by the commissioners reads, in part, “United States seniors are valued members of society and it is our collective responsibility to ensure they live safely and with dignity.”

The elderly population is one of the most vulnerable in our community, and they, unfortunately, experience abuse on a regular basis. In 2014, our agency received 115 adult protective service reports. There are different types of abuse that affect the elderly in our community: Physical abuse – inflicting physical pain or injury to a senior, e.g., slapping, bruising or restraining; emotional abuse – inflicting mental pain, anguish or distress on an elderly person through verbal or nonverbal acts, e.g., humiliating, intimidating or threatening; sexual abuse – nonconsensual sexual contact of any kind; and exploitation – the illegal taking, misuse or concealment of funds, property or assets of a senior for someone else’s benefit.

Elderly people deserve our utmost attention and respect. We must protect their health, safety and rights. Some day, we will be elderly, too, and we should treat them the same way we hope to be treated ourselves.

June is World Elder Abuse Month. It is a time to reflect on what we are doing as a community to support people who are elderly. We all have opportunities to reach out to our families, friends and neighbors. This June, let’s make sure that all people who are elderly are valued.

If you suspect elder abuse, be a good citizen and neighbor and contact the Jefferson County Job and Family Services Adult Protection Unit at (740) 282-0961.

Elizabeth Ferron

Director, Jefferson County

Department of Job

and Family Services