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What should you do if you suspect an older person is mistreated?

Did you know that every county in Wisconsin has an elder abuse agency that will look into reported incidents of abuse? To find your local Aging and Disability Resource Center, check out the Wisconsin Department of Health Services web page at

Wisconsin has made great strides in identifying and protecting elders. Sadly, though, elder abuse and neglect is a growing problem in Wisconsin. Elder abuse is a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship that causes harm or distress to an older person. Elder abuse can be verbal, physical, emotional, sexual or financial. It can also be intentional or unintentional neglect. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services estimates that roughly two-thirds of all elder abuse perpetrators are family members. If you suspect an elderly person, you know or love is abused, there are resources to turn to that will help

If you or a loved one is suffering from abuse you can also report your concerns by calling the Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline:1-833-586-0107. Your identity is confidential by law and cannot be disclosed without a court order. When you call, expect to answer a few questions such as, what happened, when and where the abuse occurred, and the name of the elder or adult at risk. If there is an immediate crisis, calling 911 is an appropriate response.

If you have any questions about how to connect with a local Family Caregiver group, contact your county Extension Office, County or Tribal Aging Unit or University resources regarding life span issues . For additional questions, contact Nancy Vance, Human Development and Relationships Educator at or Life Span Program Manager, Sara Richie, at

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