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Elder abuse victim shares story to help save others

DETROIT – As many as 90,000 adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse, with many of the crimes going unreported because the victims are too scared to speak out.

But a 95-year-old metro Detroit man has courageously shared his story with the Local 4 Defenders.

Frank, whose identity is being concealed for his safety, said he’s still fearful of his one-time caretaker.

“We had a very congenial relationship, but he turned just like that. Very suddenly,” Frank said.

The caretaker became verbally and emotionally abusive.

“He told me before that he had two firearms that were loaded, and he know how to use them,” Frank said. “I wasn’t this scared in World War II.”

Frank said he didn’t know what to do, or who to turn to for help. His four children lived out of state.

“Suddenly, I get so scared. I bolted the front door. I went to the back of the house and bolted the back of the home,” Frank said. “I moved to the center of the house and moved inside of the closet where no one could see me.”

Frank called his son.

“I said, ‘I’m scared to death and don’t know what to do,’” he said.

His son picked him up and took him to Jewish Senior Life in West Bloomfield, which has some rooms that are specifically set aside for elder abuse victims.

“Sadly, elder abuse is alive and well in our state,” said Barbara Giles, who is with the Center for Elder Abuse Awareness. “Older adults are frightened to speak up because they don’t want someone to not take care of them anymore.”

Frank’s case was serious enough that he was able to get a personal protection order.

“I’m sharing my story because if I can help one individual out there, I would be so happy,” Frank said.

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