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Dear Abby: Raising awareness of elder abuse

Dear Abby: Thank you for all you do to keep our seniors safe. Saturday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On that day, communities in the U.S. 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, 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

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.

Introduction confusion

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.

Be careful when correcting

Dear Abby: Is it acceptable for one adult to correct another’s English unless asked to do so? My sister does it frequently, and I want to know if it’s rude so I don’t make the same blunder.

– Grammatically Yours in New Orleans

Dear Grammatically Yours: It isn’t rude if it is done tactfully, in private and in the spirit of being helpful. If it’s done as a form of one-upmanship, it is obnoxious.