DEAR ABBY: Thank you for all you do to keep our seniors safe. Saturday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On that day, communities in the USA and all over the world will sponsor events to highlight the growing tragic issue of elder abuse.
Your readers — young and old — should know that the U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 5 million seniors are abused or neglected each year in the United States.
Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, financial and sexual. It also includes people who are neglected. Elders who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes and three times as likely to die.
Elder abuse can be prevented if everyone would learn the warning signs and report it to Adult Protective Services or the police if they suspect it is happening. — MARY TWOMEY, MSW, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE
DEAR READERS: I was dismayed to learn that 90 percent of elder abuse happens at the hands of a family member or a caregiver. The descriptions of the kinds of treatment these elderly adults experience are frightening, and frankly, not suitable for readers of all ages. That is why I am urging readers to get more information on this important subject by visiting www.ncea.aoa.gov.
We can all stop this scourge if we know what to look for and are willing to speak up when we see the warning signs. There, but for the grace of God, go you and I.
DEAR ABBY: I was married to a wonderful man, “Ted,” who was 20 years my senior. In social situations his adult children would introduce me as “Dad’s wife” or “Ted’s wife.” Sadly, my husband passed away, and his children no longer know how to refer to me socially.
I was recently asked by Ted’s children how I wished to be introduced, but I’m not sure. I don’t think “stepmother” is appropriate because I’m only four to seven years older than they are. Do you have any ideas as to what might be appropriate? — “MARILYN” IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR “MARILYN”: You could be introduced as “Dad’s widow,” “my late father’s wife” or simply by your name.
DEAR ABBY: Some friends are in the process of adopting two children internationally. Early on, they had a garage sale with the proceeds going toward the adoption. I was excited for them and wanted to help. However, this was soon followed by more requests — for yard sale donations, two more garage sales, the “opportunity” to buy expensive coffee online, a fundraising dinner, and then a solicitation for me and others to provide a “virtual shower” of plane ticket money.
Each time I am notified about another fundraiser, I feel less and less charitable. I have never been asked for money for the same thing in so many different ways in such a short time. While I’m thrilled with their desire to adopt, I am increasingly disgusted and put off by their continued pleas for money. Am I wrong to be so upset about this? — A LITTLE TICKED OFF
DEAR TICKED OFF: It appears your “friends” are taking advantage of your generosity. It will continue for only as long as you permit it. Because the requests for help are continuous, are you absolutely sure this couple is really in the middle of the adoption process and not using the money for some other purpose? Before donating anything else, you should find out.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.