Only have a minute? Listen instead
EDINBURG — Just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the elderly clients of Guardian Angel Adult Day Care began to make their way outside the facility and into the parking lot.
Most of them were clad in purple in a show of support for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), which is observed on June 15. Purple shirts, purple hats, purple masquerade masks, and some holding purple balloons.
They set up shop along West University Drive, some holding signs, awaiting the annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Parade.
“How do I look?” joked 92-year-old Edinburg resident Maria Ofelia Flores as she showed off her purple plastic top hat.
She said that she was happy to participate in an event that helps spread awareness about elderly abuse.
At 9:45 a.m., an Edinburg police unit with purple streamers attached to its doors cruised by the group and blocked traffic on the intersection of University Drive and 10th Street.
The elderly but enthusiastic group cheered and waved as a caravan made up of over 50 vehicles and law enforcement vehicles slowly drove by with horns honking and sirens blaring.
“As you can see, we’re all in solidarity,” Guardian Angel Adult Day Care owner Rocky Guzman said. He owns and operates the adult day care facility with his sister, Michelle. “Today we’re in our purple for elderly abuse awareness. All the clients here are very excited to be part of it.”
June is recognized as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Many organizations throughout the Rio Grande Valley are taking the opportunity to educate the public about elder abuse, as well as preventative measures to help recognize signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
“We’re trying to get it out there as far as the awareness, because I mean, there’s very little awareness for the elderly,” Adult Protective Services supervisor Abigail Rivera said. “Basically, today, we were just trying to show awareness to everyone, like, y’all ever need assistance with adult protective services, you can contact the 1-800 number and we can go assist you.”
APS investigated 3,886 cases of elderly abuse in the Rio Grande Valley alone during the 2022 fiscal year. More than half of those cases, 2,303 to be exact, were out of Hidalgo County.
“We’re asking everybody to be aware, to ask questions, take pictures,” Hidalgo County District Attorney Toribio “Terry” Palacios said. “If you see that a person you know has a mood change or feels depressed, or is having weight loss, there may be something going on. So please report it either to the Adult Protective Services here in the Valley or to your local police department.”
APS will also be hosting the fifth annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Walk & Resource Fair on Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon at 201 N. First St. in McAllen. The event is free and open to the public.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, contact your local police department, or call the Texas Abuse Hotline at (800) 252-5400. For more information about elder abuse, visit www.everyonesbusiness.org.
To see more, view Monitor photojournalist Delcia Lopez’s full photo gallery here: