Elder abuse affects thousands of families across Michigan. But now Attorney General Dana Nessel is promising to address the problem.
More than 70,000 seniors are victims of physical, emotional and financial abuse and neglect in Michigan, according to the Attorney General’s office.
That’s why a special elder abuse task force was just created.
“It doesn’t matter what your race is, or your religion, or your geography or your socioeconomic status, your political party,” Nessel said. “The good Lord willing, we’re all gonna be elderly one day, right? This affects every single one of us.”
Nessel laid out several ways the task force plans to fight the different kinds of elder abuse, an issue that can be hard to detect and is usually underreported. The initiatives include limiting the number of dependent people assigned to each guardian, and requiring financial institutions to alert authorities if they suspect someone is exploiting a senior.
State Supreme Court justice Richard Bernstein says it’s up to the justice system to protect the state’s most vulnerable people.
“Once someone becomes your guardian, they have control over your entire life,” Bernstein said. “And the only voice you’re really gonna have is the voice of the court and the voice of the judge.”
The task force will start holding hearings in different counties around the state this summer to answer questions and hear any concerns.
The Attorney General’s office also set up a hotline people can call to report any suspected elder abuse.
If you feel someone is being abused, call 800-24-ABUSE or go online at mi.gov/elderabuse.