Marion County Commissioners on Wednesday passed a proclamation, declaring May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.

For the county, of the 92 intakes investigated by Adult Protective Service’s in-home caseworkers in 2018, a total of 27 of them were confirmed cases of abuse, neglect and/or exploitation against the elderly or those with disabilities.

“People who are elderly or have disabilities have contributed to the general welfare of Marion County by helping to preserve customs, convictions and traditions of many people from diverse backgrounds,” the proclamation states. “These residents are vital and integral members of our society and their wisdom and experience have enriched our lives.”

The proclamation goes on to recognize that abuse of the elderly and people with disabilities in domestic and institutional settings is a wide-spread problem, impacting hundreds of thousands of people across the nation.

“Elder abuse is grossly underreported because the elderly who are being abused find it very difficult to tell anyone and are usually ashamed and sometimes afraid,” the proclamation states.

And because many of the cases invested by APS in Texas involve self-neglect, Marion County urges citizens to check on one another’s welfare.

“It is our duty as citizens to reach out to people in need,” the proclamation states. “The Marion County Commissioners Court urge all citizens to work together to help reduce abuse and neglect of people who are elderly or have disabilities.”