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Each year, thousands of seniors living in our communities are victims of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, it is estimated that 1-2 million Americans, age 65 or older have been injured, exploited or otherwise mistreated by someone whom they depend on for care or protection.
However, many of these cases go unreported to law enforcement or other investigative agencies.
In Elkhart County, Adult Protective Services is responsible for investigating any good faith report that alleges abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Under state law, any person who believes, or has reason to believe, that an adult is endangered must make a report to APS or law enforcement.
Last year alone, over 1,300 cases were investigated by APS, which also investigates cases in Marshall, St. Joseph and Kosciusko counties.
As the number of elder abuse cases continue to grow, it is important for states and localities to work together to address the increasing problem of elder abuse in our communities.
On Saturday, June 15, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse will hold its seventh annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
To commemorate this event, APS, the Family Justice Center, and the St. Joseph County Prosecutorâ€™s Office will host an event to celebrate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at 11 a.m. Monday, June 10.
This event will take place at 533 N. Niles Ave., in South Bend.
As the director of Adult Protective Services, I would like to cordially invite people to attend this event to increase their knowledge and awareness of the growing issue of elder abuse in our communes and throughout the world.
By coming together, we can help eliminate the threat of elder abuse and build safer communities for our seniors.
If you would like to make a report to Adult Protective Services, please contact (800) 626-8320. All reports made to APS are kept confidential and anonymous reports are accepted.
Costello has been the director of Adult Protective Services, which includes Elkhart, Marshall, St. Joseph and Kosciusko counties, since 2005. She wrote this for the Advance News.