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More than 1K elderly residents in Nueces County are victims of abuse, here's how Adult Protective Services is helping

3NEWS spent time with an Adult Protective Services caseworker for a closer look at one day of services and the details of what they encounter.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As the month of June ends, we’re reminded of the abuse our elderly community faces. As of 2021, more than one thousand elderly residents in Nueces County are victims of elder abuse.

Elderly residents above the age of 65 represent 14.7 percent of the community in Nueces County and in Texas, 13.5 percent, making up a large portion of our community.

3NEWS spent a day with Adult Protective Services for a closer look at one day of services and the details of what they encounter.

Brandy Ritter is a caseworker for APS. Ritter’s job is to make sure neglect, abuse, and exploitation stop happening to elders.

“What we do is we investigate abuse, neglect, exploitation of the elderly or substantially impaired,” said Ritter. “If it goes unsaid, if there’s abuse then it’s going to continue which can lead to death. Neglect can do the same. Exploitation- if exploitation continues then funds are wiped out, bills can’t be paid and that leads into a form of neglect.”

Right now, Ritter has 19 cases, but on a day-to-day basis that number can change.

“Depending on the day and how many cases I get it’s usually between 5 and 7 visits that I would end up doing in a day,” said Ritter.

Ritter never knows what she may stumble upon.

“You could always get a case that its they don’t have running water, but you get there and there could be hoarding concerns, fire hazards, there could be rodent issues where there is feces, urine,” said Ritter.

Although APS isn’t a long-term solution, it’s a start.

“We do want to get the services in place that can be long term. We go in, we investigate and then we would refer to different kind of community agencies to get the ongoing services in place,” said Ritter.

Ritter and other case workers help to educate the people they serve on the resources available and help those who feel like they don’t have a voice.

“The most rewarding part of the job is seeing the outcome of the case seeing the progress that is made helping the individual to have a better life than what they had before,” said Ritter.

Ritter adds it's important to check on your neighbors especially if they're elderly and if you suspect any abuse neglect or exploitation of someone 65 or older or someone between the ages of 18 and 64 with a disability, call 1800-252-5400-- the hotline is open 24/7.

If you would like to learn more about how to help, click here.

RELATED: Inflation especially tough on elderly, draining social security, retirement accounts

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