PRESTONSBURG A sapling was planted Tuesday near the Floyd County Library, as part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the small tree now able to grow with the right combination of nature and nurture, much like the care given to a child by parents and grandparents. The tree was planted in memory of victims of elder abuse, with staff from the library and the Big Sandy Council on Elder Maltreatment joining together in the effort. We hope this event will shed light on the growing issue of elder abuse, said Leslie Caudill, vice chair of the Big Sandy Council on Elder Maltreatment. Both the young and the old should be aware that an estimated 700,000 to 3.5 million older Americans are abused each year. In Kentucky, 54,701 cases of adult abuse were reported last year, and this is only the tip of the iceberg since only one in five cases of abuse is ever reported to authorities. Elder abuse is preventable through public awareness and education. According to Caudill, some of the things that can be done to deal with elder abuse include calling or visiting an elderly loved one and asking how they are doing, providing a respite break for a caregiver, asking a doctor to ask all senior patients about possible family violence in their lives and volunteering to be a friendly visitor to a nursing home resident or a homebound senior. The Big Sandy Council on Elder Maltreatment was formed in 2002 as part of a state-wide program under the direction of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. For more information on the Big Sandy Council on Elder Maltreatment, contact Leslie Caudill at (606) 889-1729, ext. 144.