APS hopes to get word out about elder abuse

It's everyone's business.

That's the message Adult Protective Services (APS) is trying to drive home with Texans during the month of May, which just happens to be Elder Abuse Prevention Month and Older Americans Month.

“APS is reminding Texans that stopping elder abuse is truly everyone’s responsibility,” said Marleigh Meisner, public information officer with the agency. “No one knows exactly how many older Texans are being abused, neglected, or financially exploited. Many victims are too embarrassed to ask for help, and their suffering can be shrouded by secrecy.

“As our population ages, statistics show the problem is a growing concern, and nationwide studies estimate that three to five million seniors age 65 and older have experienced abuse, with only one in five cases reported. In 2008, Texas APS, a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), completed almost 70,000 investigations of abuse, neglect or exploitation involving adults living at home. Of those, more than 48,000 cases were confirmed, with most cases including physical or medical neglect.”

Meisner said the perpetrators are often family members — ranging from adult children to spouses and grandchildren — and one of the the keys to preventing these crimes is education.

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