Today we celebrate older adults and bring much needed attention to the struggles many endure. Policies and practices in place make it hard for older people to stay involved with and connected to our communities as they age. As a result, older people are more likely to experience social isolation, which increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect. It happens here in our small county. In 2020, there were 71 reported cases of elder abuse. Three were an additional 32 reported cases of abuse of at-risk adults under the age of 60. The highest number of referrals were for self-neglect; 14% for were financial exploitation; 10% were for emotional abuse. 70% of the alleged abusers were a son, daughter, spouse or grandchild. We can design stronger societal supports to keep older people connected and protect them from abuse, whether financial, emotional, physical or sexual. When we address a root cause, like social isolation, we also make it less likely that people will experience abuse, whether financial, emotional, physical or sexual. We can and must create healthier and safer living environments for older adults. It is up to everyone to prevent and address elder abuse. Talk about it –If you see something -say something. Volunteer to be a friendly visitor and either call, mail or email an older person living in the community. Offer your support: assist in arranging meal or grocery delivery services for someone who is a caregiver or an older adults who is alone and not connected to anyone. Don’t tolerate ageism – this begins with not making fun of older adults. If you suspect elder or adult at risk abuse or neglect, please contact the Bayfield County Department of Human Services at 715-373-6144 or your local law enforcement.