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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. Elder abuse is something many people aren’t aware of or don’t want to think about. Today more people feel comfortable talking about and addressing issues of abuse and violence, but elder abuse is unfortunately often left out of the conversation.

Older people are vital members of society and their maltreatment diminishes all of us. Older people are more likely to experience social isolation, which increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect. We need stronger societal supports to keep our older people connected and protect them from abuse — financial, emotional, physical or sexual.

Hope House prevents abuse and provides support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Sauk, Columbia, Adams, Juneau and Marquette counties. We have a 24-hour, confidential helpline at 800-584-6790, and are here to listen, believe, talk through options, and share resources and information to people of all ages. In 2018, our oldest client was 94 years old.

We can and must create healthier and safer environments for older adults. Get more information about how to make a difference by visiting the National Center on Elder Abuse ncea.acl.gov and the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life ncall.us.

Debra Bauer, volunteer and community outreach coordinator, Baraboo

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