June is World Elder Abuse Month, and ADRC is committed to being a part of the fight against the exploitation and abuse of our senior population. During the month, many agencies promote events and educational opportunities to alert community members to the signs of elder abuse and to stress the importance of understanding, recognizing, and reporting this type of abuse. It truly does take a village when it comes to combating this crime against our most vulnerable citizens.
According to the Department of Justice, elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older adult. There are five subtypes of elder abuse: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. In 2020, the highest reported type of neglect was financial exploitation in Brown County.
There are many ways that we as a community can have an impact on reducing elder abuse and neglect. Among these efforts are advocacy, education, and everyday practices; neighbors staying connected to isolated elders and reporting suspicious events; home care workers advocating for their customers; family members watching for signs of abuse; financial institutions implementing policy when there is suspected financial exploitation.
According to Brown County Human Services, the current caregiver shortage is a primary barrier to combating elder abuse. Families are in desperate need of respite care that is difficult to find. Caregiver barriers are both a statewide and national crisis that are addressed in the current 2021-23 Wisconsin budget, that proposes allocations such as:
• Investing over $200 million to support family caregivers
• Providing funding to support a Family and Guardian Training Program
• Additional Ombudsman positions at the Board of Aging and Long-Term Care
• Funding expansion of the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support program
There is much more to the budget proposal that strengthens our caregivers’ roles and in turn ensures that this vulnerable population gets proper care. To read further on the full budget proposal, specific to the needs of caregivers and vulnerable populations, go to
Help is out there:
• The Elder Rights Project – dedicated to providing legal and supportive services to any Wisconsin resident who is 50 or older and is a victim of a crime or abuse. The project is a culmination of Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare and can help plan for your safety, find safe housing, provide emotional support, and connect you with resources, referrals, and legal services. (920) 432-4645
• Adult Protective Services – a state and federally mandated investigative department. Their role is to investigate abuse and neglect of adults at risk (age 18-59) and the elderly (age 60+). (920) 448-7885
• Frauds and scams – unfortunately, abuse happens more frequently in the form of fraud and scams. To get more info on common scams, please go to: www.blog.ssa.gov/category/fraud-2. If you wish to report an event you believe to be a scam, contact the State Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-422-7128.
• ADRC – available to discuss concerns any community member may have about a possible abuse/neglect situation. Although we provide voluntary services, we can provide direction to get connected with the proper assistance to help resolve the situation. (920) 448-4300
BC Human Services