Have you checked in on a senior lately?
According to Stacy Merritt, Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator-Department of Elder Affairs, aging adults are integral to Florida's growth and success. Elders are tax payers, volunteers, voters, and are active in making Florida a great place to live overall. However, according to Ms. Merritt, seniors who remain in the community are also in danger of becoming isolated which can foster elder abuse as well as neglect, both of which are harmful and can lead to horrific outcomes. Elder abuse in Florida and, in particular, in Brevard County is not rare. Ms. Merritt points out that elder abuse is becoming an epidemic. According to her one way to prevent elder abuse is to reach out to socially isolated elders. Those of us who live in Titusville, Cocoa, Merritt Island, Melbourne and Palm Bay should check on our neighbors, friends and family, and do so often. As citizens of Brevard County we should make sure seniors are living in clean surroundings, have fresh food, and enough of it. Make sure your elderly neighbors have their utility services on, have access to prescription medication and that no one is exploiting their finances. One resource that could help connect Brevard County seniors with life-sustaining services is the Florida Elder Help Line at 1-800-96E-LDER (1-800-963-5337). As stated by Ms. Merritt, "our seniors are Florida's greatest national treasure. Let us love and honor them. Do not allow them to fade away into isolation." It is the responsibility of all of us in Brevard County to care for our elders as well as ourselves.