The Baraga County TRIAD program met today to shed some light on a topic that is all too often neglected – elder abuse.
It’s an issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, mainly because most victims don’t speak up.
“Seniors, a lot of times, are afraid to report things because of retaliation. When the resident has a complaint, sometimes they don’t get believed. Some of the staff or the facility the resident works with won’t take them seriously,” said Connie Grahovac, the Ombudsman for the Upper Peninsula.
“There are so many forms of abuse. Most people just think of physical abuse, but abuse comes in all shapes, forms and fashions,” noted Oedith Harris, Chairperson for the Baraga County TRIAD.
Michigan State Police, County Prosecutors and other Aging Service officials discussed new threats in emotional, physical and financial abuse, as well as the tools needed to protect one another from falling prey.
The problems are not only large in scale, but also sheer size. The affected population is growing a rampant pace.
“Within the next 30 years, we will have somewhere in the range of 85 million Baby Boomers [entering retirement]. Unfortunately, this will create a large number of potential elder abuse victims. Given the right set of circumstances, unfortunately, any Senior has the potential to be a victim. They and the people around them need to be aware,” cautioned Ron Tatro, the Director of Elder Law Service in Michigan.
Anyone who feels they’ve been abused has options. There are a number of elder services that are ready and willing to help. But, they can only do so if those who have been abused reach out and say something.
TRIAD is a national organization that brings Seniors, Law Enforcement, and community officials together to develop and implement crime prevention and education programs. There are 5 counties in the Upper Peninsula that have their own chapters including: Baraga, Delta, Houghton & Keweenaw, Iron, and Marquette.
You can join the Baraga County TRIAD group the first Wednesday of every month at Baragaland Senior Center in L’Anse. You can also call them at 906-524-6711. You can also help by calling the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program in Hancock at 906-482-7382, or the Department of Adult Protective Services at 855-444-3911.