GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An inaugural campaign to raise awareness about elder abuse and to solicit feedback from Michigan residents was held in Grand Rapids on Friday.

Several dozen people, including state and local officials, gathered at the Kent County Courthouse for what is being called a “listening tour.’’

State officials say they plan to go across the state to solicit input and to talk about efforts underway to reduce elder abuse.

“We have what we believe to be about 73,000 cases of abuse and neglect and exploitation of seniors every year in this state,’’ Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “We know what the problems are. People have known for a very long time what those issues are. Now we’re going to be tackling those problems and actually solving them.’’

Elder Abuse Task Force initiatives include requiring professional guardians to become certified, adopting standards for vulnerable adult investigations and mandating reporting for financial institutions on suspected fraud and exploitation.

“The listening tour is about providing a voice to those who don’t often have a chance to speak up and speak out,’’ Nessel said.  “We want to hear directly from our state’s seniors about the issues and challenges they face so we can make certain our new task force is prepared to properly address the troubling issue of elder abuse.’’

The Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Task Force is made up of nearly 50 organizations, including law enforcement, state agencies, lawmakers and advocacy groups.

Representatives plan 11 additional stops across the state to gather input. Cities on the tour list include Traverse City, Benton Harbor and Ann Arbor. The visit to Grand Rapids was the first stop.

Nessel called elder abuse an “incredible concern.’’

“We have almost two million people in the state of Michigan that are going to be 65 years or older,’’ she said. “With the baby boomers getting older, we have an aging population here in Michigan and we need to make sure they are being taken care of.’’

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