World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Thousands of cases reported in Milwaukee County last year

NOW: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Thousands of cases reported in Milwaukee County last year

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Wednesday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Officials say it's all about ensuring that older Americans age with the dignity, security, and appreciation they deserve.

Milwaukee County hosted a walk and resource fair at Clinton Rose Senior Center to bring attention to the needs of elderly people in the community.

"We want to educate people and train people on what to look for," said Marietta Luster, Administrator for Milwaukee County Aging & Disabilities Services.

3,000 purple pin wheels were set up along the walk route. Each of which represents a victim of elder abuse in Milwaukee County in 2021.

"We had over 3,000 cases investigated in 2021, for abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. There's so many scams out there that elders fall prey to," said Luster.

Elder abuse often goes unreported.

"No one really wants to raise their hand and say yes I've been abused," said Luster.

She says the county wants people to feel empowered to report it and understand when it happens. There are different types of elder abuse. It ranges from physical, to neglect, emotional, and financial exploitation.

"Many are targeted for their retirement accounts," said Luster.

Wisconsin's Better Business Bureau (BBB) says older citizens are more vulnerable to scams.

"They're generally gentle in nature. That's how they were brought up so they might not question somebody who is trying to help them but is really going to take advantage," said Lisa Schiller, Wisconsin BBB Director of Investigations.

Schiller says seniors can be very trusting. "They don't want to believe that it could happen," she said.

"Have they changed friends, are they doing something different, did you see any marks on this person?," Luster explained as some things people can look out for.

Elder abuse is a widespread issue. Millions of seniors fall victim nationwide and billions of dollars are lost to financial scams targeting older adults.


The Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative website features an Elder Abuse Resource Roadmap to help quickly find the right reporting agency, financial topics, and helpful resources.

Click here for more information about how to spot Elder abuse. 

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