Elder abuse is more widespread than you may think

Seniors gathered for an observance of World Elder Abuse Day at the Westfield Senior Center Thursday.

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A sobering disclosure Thursday of how widespread physical and financial abuse of the elderly exists in western Massachusetts.

Westfield Senior Center members heard some discouraging statistics during the observance of World Elder Abuse Day. Julie Pearce, Highland Valley Elder Services protective service program director, told 22News that so far this year, her agency has received no fewer than 700 complaints of alleged senior abuse in Hampden and Hampshire Counties.

She said that some seniors are at the mercy of their family members closest to them.

“Having seniors living in their home, not paying rent, things like that. Sometimes, it’s just straight-up theft of their items, their money, their bank accounts; all of that stuff,” Pearce said.

Pearce added that some seniors are at risk because they have not planned ahead for their retirement years.

She also warned the elderly to be aware of robo-calls.