Sometimes the stress of caring for an elderly person can lead to abuse.
In fact, physical, mental and emotional cruelty directed toward our aging population is far too common.
And the majority of victims are defenseless to stop it.
The images are shocking, the statistics are staggering.
Elder abuse can be found on any street, in any neighborhood.
Here in Arkansas, the adult protective services investigative unit is doing all it can to find it and stop it.
"We had 4,478 referrals to the adult protective services hot line."
Director Krista Hughes heads up the Division of Aging and Adult Services for the state of Arkansas.
She knows all too well what investigators sometimes uncover when the frustrations of caregiving begin to boil over.
"Without proper coping skills and without proper rest it's not unlikely that somebody would be pushed to the point where they just don't handle situations correctly."
So what exactly are state investigators looking for when checking out claims of abuse?
"There has to be abuse, neglect, exploitation, or some combination there of. There has to be endangerment."
Stopping abuse as early as possible shouldn't just be the goal of a state agency.
All of us can and should look out for those who can't look out for themselves.
"If you see blinds drawn for days at a time that should be an alert to you. If someone used to come out to get the paper everyday and you are seeing papers that are accumulating on a lawn I would check on that"
And we must go beyond just noticing, we also need to be notifying.
"We do want neighbors to be concerned about neighbors and we do want that call."
Every claim is checked out within 72 hours, time is of the essence.
So if you suspect abuse, call now, because no one should have to suffer abuse for one minute more.