Senior citizens are a fast-growing percentage of our nation's population, and the rising statistics surrounding elder abuse are now every bit as troubling as those that concern child abuse.

Learning to recognize the warning signs of elder abuse--and knowing what to do in response-- can be life-saving information.

Stew Grabel, an ombudsman for the Pima Council on Aging speaking on behalf of PCOA's Elder Rights & Benefits Department, says the department is seeing more clients about elder abuse cases now than ever before, but not all of these cases involve physical abuse.

Many seniors today face the risk of losing control of their lives, often due to poorly-considered legal decisions.

Faced with confusion over their rights and worries about uncertain futures, senior citizens are often susceptible to negative outside influences.

But whatever the kind of abuse, Grabel says there are warning signs that someone concerned with a senior's well-being can learn to spot.

Advocacy on an individual, one-to-one basis is available through PCOA's Elder Rights and Benefits Department, which can assist persons 60 years of age and older in getting the benefits, services and information they need. Family members and caregivers are welcome to call the PCOA Help Line at (520) 790-7262.