EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It’s Elder Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month and an Adult Protective Services specialist is making a change in the senior community. 

When you feel like a senior is being abused, look for red flags. According to studies, approximately 5 million elders in America face abuse every year; however, only one in every 24 abuse cases is being reported.

Faith Based and Community Engagement Specialist for Adult Protective services Grace Ortiz says she empowers the community to help our seniors and make a positive change in their lives. 

One thing to notice when it comes to elderly abuse is that they all have one thing in common and that is neglect. 

For example, if you see an elderly individual losing weight or if you go to their home and their air conditioning isn’t working, it’s more than likely they are not being well taken care of. Ortiz suggests to call Adult Protective Services.

“I ask everyone to please be a buddy to a senior. During these really hot days, don’t just do it on those days I’m saying but all the time, we should be a buddy to a senior, we’re all  connected to somebody who’s aged. An older Texan, check on them. Ensure that they’re okay, that they have utilities, they have food, that they’re taking their medication,” Ortiz said. 

The signs to look out for when an elderly is being abused is bruising, burns, cuts and if they are living with the abuser you will notice intimidation and isolation.  

Ortiz says if you notice something off with the senior, don’t be afraid to ask how you get that bruise and make sure the story matches their injury.

Another thing to look out for is family interest with  money and assets. 

“People will start thinking, family members, you know what my mom, my aunt, my dad are getting older. I better get involved because I want to make sure I get my inheritance.”

Although there is elderly people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, look out for signs in their mental status and ability to remember things and a doctor will tell you how bad their state of mind is.  

“One day, I’m going to be very, very honest with you and sincere, one day we’re going to be in those shoes,” Ortiz said.

According to Grace, anybody who is abused from the age of 65 and older, is eligible for Adult Protective Services.

Grace wants everyone to know that there is an agency that wants to help and their goal is not to put an elderly in a nursing home but ensure they can stay home and live with dignity and respect.

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