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June recognized as Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Rowan County

Sydney Graham

A proclamation was signed last week in Morehead with the intention to bring awareness to elder abuse and ways to recognize and combat it. Officials said elder abuse is a problem that affects real people and isn’t just a punch line for jokes about getting older.

Waynanne Caudill, District Long Term Care Ombudsman for the Gateway Area, said the problem is becoming more prolific as time goes on.

“As our population ages more and more folks are aging into senior-hood and senior-services, especially with the rise of substance use disorder, we are seeing increases in elder abuse. Whether it’s financial, exploitation, actual physical abuse, neglect, even scams,” said Caudill.

Caudill said romance scams aren’t a thing of the past and can lead to real problems for elderly individuals. She said some signs to look for if abuse is suspected are bruises, weight loss, sudden loss of funds, and others.

“Whether it’s physical abuse, exploitation or neglect, or sexual abuse, one of the big signs that may not be so noticeable is withdrawal. And I always qualify that with, someone wasn’t so withdrawn before, they become fearful, they don’t want to have contact with people. Of course, with exploitation, we see people who can’t pay their bills, but they could before, they’re behind on their rent and that was never an issue for them,” said Caudill.

The proclamation was to honor June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Rowan County. It was signed by Morehead Mayor Laura White-Brown and Judge Executive Harry Clark.

In addition to the proclamation signing, the Gateway ADD donated a hand bike to the Morehead Senior Center. Officials said it will help people who are wheelchair-bound to work out and keep up their upper body strength.