According to a statistic from the Family Refuge Center, there are over 50 cases of elder abuse reported in Greenbrier County each year.
Gloria Martin, President of the Committee on Aging said 50 cases are too many, but she knows there are more out there.
“Older people have not been willing to come forward. They’re embarrassed. They don’t want to report family members or caregivers because they’re afraid they’re going to end up in the nursing homes. They’re going to lose their independence,” said Martin.
Martin worked with several agencies including the West Virginia Coalition against Domestic Violence to get a grant from the Division of Justice and Community Services.
“When the coalition was awarded the grant it was one of nine in the country. So we formed a training team with folks from Greenbrier County, and McDowell County,” said Martin.
Martin was one of the instrumental people who helped put together a team of community members to look into elder abuse cases. The team is made up of Martin, Pat McDaniels, who represents S.A.F.E in McDowell County, Jeff Vance with the Lewisburg Police Department, and Jennifer Dent, an assistant prosecutor in Greenbrier County.
Brenda Walters was recently hired to be the Elder Abuse Victim Service Coordinator for Greenbrier County. Her job is to ensure the elderly are protected physically, emotionally, and financially.
“We know that they like their privacy. They are slow to anyone about their issues, and we just want to let them know that we do care and that there is someone out there to help and we will respect their privacy,” said Walters.
Walters urges people who are victims of elder abuse, or know somebody who is to come forward.