Special to the EagleHerald
An area youth assisted the ARDC of Marinette County with the placement of the pinwheels. There are 107 pinwheels in front of the ARDC building on Hall Avenue; each wheel represents one elder abuse and neglect case investigated in the county.
Special to the EagleHerald

An area youth assisted the ARDC of Marinette County with the placement of the pinwheels. There are 107 pinwheels in front of the ARDC building on Hall Avenue; each wheel represents one elder abuse and neglect case investigated in the county.

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Pam Daye, supervisor of the ARDC of Marinette County. 

Older people are vital, contributing members of our society and their maltreatment diminishes all of us. Older citizens today are more visible, more active and more independent than ever before. But as the population of older Americans grows, so does the hidden problem of elder abuse, exploitation and neglect.

According to Pam Daye of the ADRC of Marinette County, 107 cases of Elder Abuse or Neglect were investigated in Marinette County in 2019, 120 cases in 2018 and 102 cases in 2017. Daye cited self-neglect as being the most prominent in Marinette County, followed closely by financial exploitation. Daye shared that the ADRC is witnessing a substantial number of elders becoming the victim of scams.

“These scammers are very good at pitching their story, but never deliver on their promises. Scams related to Social Security, COVID-19, stimulus checks and the IRS are just a handful of the scams that we have seen right here in Marinette County,” according to Daye.

Monday, June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On that day communities across the USA and all over the world sponsored events to highlight solutions and create awareness to this systemic social challenge. The ADRC of Marinette County began its awareness efforts June 8 with a colorful pinwheel display, signifying the 107 elder/neglect investigations completed in Marinette County during 2019. These pinwheels can currently be seen in front of the building on Hall Avenue with a banner promoting awareness.

“We recognize the presence of elder abuse in our community and we hope by educating and increasing awareness, our efforts can assist with reducing elder abuse and neglect,” said Daye. 

This year the ADRC has also partnered with area banks and Zingers Coffee to create additional awareness.

The current pandemic (COVID-19) is making it even more difficult for our older citizens to stay involved with and connected to our communities. As a result, people are more likely to experience social isolation, which increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect. Those who are socially connected and protected from harm are less likely to be hospitalized, less likely to go into nursing homes and less likely to die. We can and must create connections for healthier and safer living environments for older adults in their homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and most importantly our community.

Daye shares there are several ways to strengthen our communities and assist with preventing elder abuse: Educate yourself and help others to better recognize the warning signs of elder abuse and neglect; become a friendly visitor to an older person living in our community; provide the much-needed support for someone who is a caregiver.

“We are encouraging everyone to take just a bit of time out of their busy day and make a connection with an area older adult,” said Daye.

Please take a stand against elder abuse and neglect. See it. Stop it. Prevent it. Report it.

To learn more about or report suspected elder abuse and/or neglect please call the ADRC of Marinette County at 715-732-3850. Reporters can remain anonymous.