World Elder Abuse Awareness Day spotlights ugly truth

The message being elder abuse is everybody’s business

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day spotlights ugly truth, advocates say
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day spotlights ugly truth, advocates say

SAN ANTONIOWorld Elder Abuse Awareness Day comes at a time when the number of cases is increasing in South Texas.

“We experienced a slight decrease during the height of the pandemic. We believe it is attributed to the increased isolation our seniors faced,” said Ann Cortez, Region 8 district director for Texas Family and Protective Services.

But she said those cases are now returning to pre-pandemic levels.

One of those cases involved one of Joseph Rodriguez’s clients, Margaret Martinez, who he’s been helping for the past few months as a caseworker with Adult Protective Services.

Like many other APS cases, Martinez said she didn’t need the help. But Rodriguez said someone’s concern for her well-being led to his regularly checking on her by phone and in person.

Now, Martinez said she’s grateful that Rodriguez is handling her case. She said caseworkers like him “treat you like their own family.”

As of Fiscal Year 2020, APS reports of the 9,738 intakes in Bexar County -- 4,330 were validated investigations, indicating the allegations were believed to be true based on the evidence found.

Rodriguez said World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, part of a month-long observance, should remind the public that “elder abuse is everybody’s business, and we want to make sure we spread awareness.”

He urges anyone who suspects an elder is being abused, neglected or exploited to call the APS hotline at 1-800-252-5400.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.