TYLER, Texas — More than 18% of the East Texas population is over the age of 65.
With Saturday, June 15 being World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it is a reminder to look out for our loved ones who are senior citizens.
"There's several different kinds of abuse that can happen with elders and even disabled people," Board President of Adult Protective Services Jenny Wells said.
In 2018, APS investigated more than 4,500 cases of elder abuse in East Texas, alone.
"I do know that in the board's activity in the last couple of years that we've almost increased the calls and the awareness to Adult Protective Services by more than 50%, which is great," Wells said. " I mean, it's sad, but it's also great because it means that these cases are getting documented, and people are getting help for what they need."
Abuse can come in many different forms and often is at the hands of those trusted most.
"Where they're taken advantage by their trusted hands of their loved ones, it could be a family member, it could be someone that they've had a trusting relationship, where they've become financial exploited, and as a result of bad financial exploited, they're no longer able to take care of their necessities of life," Bettye M. Mitchell of the Area Agency on Aging said. They're not no longer able to take back, purchase their medicine, purchase their food, pay the utility bills, and as a result, end up in a very debilitating state as a result of being victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation."
Another often overlooked form of abuse is self-neglect.
"So, consider those who live at home by themselves. when you're seeing them unclean or not maybe taking their medication, that could be signs of self-neglect," Wells said. "Which is also a variant like it's a very severe case of abuse because they don't realize necessarily that it's occurring."
If you or someone you know is being abused in any way, contact your local authorities or report the abuse to Adult Protective Services.