UPDATED: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 8:47am
Waco, Tx — Abuse comes in various forms and unfortunately happens on a daily basis. Tuesday, Adult Protective Services held a walk in Waco to shed light on the rising number of abuse crimes that happen against the elderly.
"Elderly trust people. And, they're not aware that someone could be that cruel," said walk participant Teresa Dale.
Dale is one of dozens of people who came out to the first annual "Walk of Ages". Dale works at Ridgecrest Retirement Community and says she sees abuse against the elderly happen way too often.
"They come from that time where you do trust people and people who are supposed to help you but don't," said Dale.
Tuesday's walk was a way to get the community to join forces with Adult Protective Services.
"They're our eyes and ears. We can't do it alone," said Adult Protective Services Regional Director, Ross Jackson.
Together, they're looking out for the elderly who fall vulnerable to abuse.
"Last year, in McLennan County, there were 1,002 cases. Of those, 475 of them were validated or we found that abuse and neglect or exploitation did occur," said Jackson.
Many times, it's family members who financially abuse these victims. Now, officials say it's time to bring this issue to light because the situation is getting worse. The elderly become easy targets because they aren't as savvy with newer technology and they are physically not as strong.
"The issue is becoming more prevalent I think because of the generation we are now experiencing in the elderly age. They did flourish financially. They did have a lot of security," said Samuel Cortina, Program Specialist for Financial Exploitation with Adult Protective Services.
Cortina says financial exploitation is a very common form of abuse against the elderly, including people taking advantage of their investments, savings, CDs, and pensions. The aging generation of elderly, Cortina says, is also more financially sound than younger age groups, which also make them a target.
Each participant walked a mile to honor the victims of abuse. If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, you can contact Adult Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 for help. The entire month of May is recognized as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.