ASHLAND — Ashland has long taken pride as someplace special, and the headquarters of the nicest people! Many of Ashland’s nice people are over the age of 65.
According to the 2020 census, seniors make up 23% of Ashland’s population. Veteran seniors make up over half the veterans living in Ashland. Older people make major contributions to our community.
“We need to invest in the lives of our valued and wise citizens, and to have mechanisms in place to ensure that they are empowered and not mistreated,” said Rebecca J. Jentes, Program Director Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven.
June is Elder Empowerment Month in Ashland County, and Elder Abuse Awareness Month nationally. June 15, 2022 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
To celebrate this day, social service agency personnel and community members will be wearing purple to recognize the importance of honoring our senior friends.
As we all know, “Growing old is not for the faint of heart.”
Normal aging affects health, vocation, socialization, and the value people place on the elderly. Although aging can produce significant challenges, there are many ways to stay healthy and vibrant as a person ages.
Staying healthy and strong involves many domains.
Approach healthy aging from a multidimensional perspective – physical activity, nutrition, socialization, and faith all play a role.
The Ashland community provides many avenues to promote a senior’s sense of overall wellbeing.
This list provides examples of what is available in Ashland County:
○ Pickleball is creating a sensation – see the new courts at Cahn Grove Park
■ Ashland Pickleball Association – see their page on Facebook
○ Athletic Classes – Silver Sneakers classes (yoga, stability, circuit, and classic)
■ Ashland YMCA – ask for Shayla Parrish
○ Ballroom Dance Classes
■ Kroc Center – call for times and prices
○ Ashland Council on Aging – Hot or Frozen Meal Delivered Week Days
○ Kroc Center – M-F – Hot meals 11am-11:30am
○ Ashland Parks
■ Brookside Park Mini-golf
■ Guy C. Myers Band Shell
○ Ashland Council on Aging
■ Monthly Lunch Outings
○ American Legion Harry Higgins Post 88
■ Bingo every Thursday night from 6:30pm-9:30pm
○ Ashland County Ministerial Association
■ Weekly Prayer meetings
■ Find a local church and spiritual support
“We can all play a role in adding a sense of meaning, purpose and value to the seniors in our life,” Jentes said. “Our aging friends are walking history. Ask them to tell their story and enjoy where the journey takes you.
“Find ways to include your older neighbors, friends and relatives into activities and conversations. Your life and theirs will be enriched.”
Abuse and exploitation of seniors
Along with encouraging and supporting positive health and wellness activities for seniors we must also acknowledge and prevent their abuse and exploitation.
According to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, “More than 10% of adults age 60 or older experience elder abuse every year per the U.S. Justice Department. Such abuse can result in deteriorating health, depression and early death.”
What is abuse?
While this term often first brings to mind physical abuse, the abuse of seniors often may include: neglect, verbal abuse, financial abuse, and even targeted restrictions of their autonomy.
At Safe Haven of Ashland, the seniors that receive the most commonly provided services are verbally abused. Unfortunately, this abuse is often perpetrated by the very people who are charged with taking care of the elderly, even family members.
“Of all the senior victims we have served, most have identified verbal abuse to be the most painful and destructive,” Jentes said. “The power of verbal abuse to damage another individual often stems from the belief the abuse is justified, a lie that is so often repeated by the abuser that the victim begins to absorb the lie as truth.
“As a result, victims of verbal abuse frequently fail to recognize themselves as victims and the abuse continues unreported.”
Here are some agency resources for you to refer to if you believe that you or an older adult is being abused:
● Ashland Jobs and Family Services: https://www.ashlandjfs.org/ – Adult Protective Services 419-282-5000
● Ashland Council on Aging: https://www.ashcocoa.org/ – 419-281-1477
● Area Agency on Aging: https://www.aaa5ohio.org/ – 419-524-4144 or 1-800-860-5799
● Ashland Police Department: 419-289-3639 or 911 if an emergency
● Ashland Sheriff Department: https://www.ashlandcountysheriff.org/ – 419-289-3911
● Attorney General Yost website:
https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/SearchResults.aspx?searchtext=elder+abuse&searchmode=AnyWord – Help Center: – 1-800-282-0515
Mental Health and Advocacy Services
● Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland: https://www.ashlandmhrb.org/ – 419-281-3139
○ Call for local counseling agencies
○ Link to June event calendar –
○ Link to June event list –
● Catholic Charities: https://www.ccdocle.org/counties/ashland -419-289-1903
● Appleseed Community Mental Health Center – https://www.appleseedmentalhealth.com/
– 24 Hour Crisis: (419) 289-6111 Crisis Text Line: Text 4HOPE to 741741
● Safe Haven of Ashland (Program of Appleseed)- https://www.safehavenofashland.org/ –
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 419-289-8085
What can we do as neighbors, friends, church communities, and family members to prevent the abuse of our senior friends and neighbors? First and foremost, be a positive upstander.
This term may be new to you. An upstander is someone who intervenes on behalf of another. Do not turn a blind eye to the maltreatment of another, and certainly not to the treasured elders of our community.
As the headquarters of nice people, let’s be who we say we are, and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
The Life section is supported by Brethren Care Village in Ashland.