Elderbridge-logoThis is the tenth annual Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Iowa. Tammy McCready, an elder rights specialist at the Elderbridge Agency on Aging in Fort Dodge, says it’s important to address this growing problem for senior citizens as Iowa has one of the nation’s oldest populations.

“Each year in the U.S. alone, there’s an estimated 200,000 seniors that are subjected to abuse,” McCready says. “That could be financial exploitation, family members or friends taking advantage of seniors, it could be physical abuse, it could be neglect by a caretaker, someone who’s supposed to be tasked with taking care of a senior.”

McCready says she’s continuing to see new incidents of elder abuse. “We just get lots and lots of cases,” she says. “Financial exploitation is huge and we also have a lot of seniors that have dementia and they’re not taking care of themselves, and caretaker neglect. The problem is much bigger than we’re even aware of.”

A workshop will be offered Tuesday from 9:30 to 3:30 at the Mason City office of the Salvation Army on health issues related to seniors who are hoarders. “It is a free workshop with free lunch and free snacks,” McCready says. “We just want to bring light to the subject and get people interested in how we can help seniors in the community, help our neighbors with this particular issue.”

In addition to Fort Dodge, Elderbridge has offices in Carroll, Mason City and Spencer. Learn more about elder abuse at www.elderbridge.org.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)