Medina County commissioners recognized World Elder Abuse Awareness Day during their meeting Tuesday. On hand were Sharon Holmes, left, of Medina County Job and Family Services, and Laura Toth, director of the Medina County Office for Older Adults. BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE
MEDINA — Elder abuse is on the rise in Medina County, according to data presented Tuesday to county commissioners.
Sharon Holmes, supervisor manager for Medina County Job and Family Services, told commissioners there were 271 calls about elder abuse in 2016 and 367 in 2017.
The total number of calls to date for this year wasn’t available Tuesday, but Holmes said there have been 12 cases opened this month.
“There’s been a big increase,” she said.
Holmes explained the several forms of abuse — physical, emotional, neglect, sexual and exploitation.
“Some have caregivers or family members in the home (who abuse them),” she said.
Holmes said in neglectful cases, the elderly are not able to take care of themselves. She said they are left alone, many of them in isolation.
“They are not physically able to do it any more,” she said.
Some of the elderly have mental issues that compound the problem.
Some seniors get scammed out of thousands of dollars. In those cases, Holmes said her office works with local police departments.
Job and Family Services also is part of the area Adult Advisory Consortium, and several groups get together to discuss trends including the Office for Older Adults, Catholic Charities, and police and prosecutor’s office.
“Sometimes they bring specific cases to the team,” Holmes said.
“Various people work together to see what we can come up with.”
She said her office has one full-time person and one part-timer dealing with elder abuse cases.
“I don’t see it ending any time soon,” Holmes said. “That’s the way things are trending. More people are becoming aware of things. The more awareness built in, the more they should pay attention.”
To report abuse, Holmes said individuals can call (330) 661-0800.