UPDATE: More than 30 different organizations have committed to being part of the Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force.
“More than 73,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “They experience physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, or neglect.”
72-year-old Macomb resident Dennis Burgio was a victim of elder abuse when he lost his entire savings because a close friend took advantage of their relationship.
”He was like the son I never had … I trusted him unconditionally,” said Burgio.
Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks said “We started our local task force in 2015 and since that time it has helped us successfully prosecute about 20 cases, mostly involving financial exploitation.”
Four members of the Michigan legislature will participate to ensure a strong legislative role as the task force identifies laws that may need to be strengthened or introduced.
“The primary role of government is to keep the peace and to protect the public,” said Rep. Brian Elder. “Its highest calling is to protect its most vulnerable members.”
Sen. Pete Lucido added “Michigan needs to lead the country in protecting our elder citizens from those who bankrupt, abuse, or neglect them … We will send a clear and unified message that in Michigan our elders are highly valued and will receive the protection they have earned and that they deserve.”
The Michigan Supreme Court is involved in leading the task force because of its supervisory role over all Michigan courts and because probate courts are responsible for the appointment and supervision of adult guardians.
“If the adult guardianship system is failing our moms and dads, we have to fix that,” said Chief Justice McCormack.
Michigan residents are urged to report any signs or concerns about elder abuse using the elder abuse hotline for anonymous tips 800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873) or online at www.mi.gov/elderabuse.