July is Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Illinois. Although not a pleasant topic it is one that needs to be discussed, as elder abuse is a blemish on our vision of a compassionate and caring society. But we must not turn from the sight, as more than one in four victims is aged 86 or older. The abused are our most vulnerable members of our communities. They are our neighbors, our friends and our family members.

Today Illinois law protects and supports victims, and it gets tough with those who act criminally. If you suspect elder abuse or suspect that an elder person is no longer able to care for themselves, please reach out to them and make a report by calling the Statewide Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-866/800-1409.

This tragedy is a reflection upon all of us, as we are judged not by our treatment of the most fortunate but by how we treat our most fragile and susceptible population-our seniors. Our elders have given to us; now it is our turn to look out for them.

Shawn J. Lewis
Senior protective services supervisor
Oak Park Township Senior Services

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