World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15, 2020

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15, 2020

“Lifting Up Voices”

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations; with the purpose of providing an opportunity to raise awareness and open a dialogue regarding the often unreported crime of elder abuse.

We in the East LTCOP as well as our colleagues around the state and country are very aware of the impact of abuse on the residents that we serve. Financial, physical and emotional abuse are on the rise even with an increase in education and prosecution of these crimes. All of us are vulnerable. Cases remain unreported because of fear, shame and lack of knowledge.

The National Ombudsman Resource Center in 2017 reported 3,847 complaints involving financial exploitation alone. Ombudsman Representatives are on the front line in the long term care facilities that we serve. We may be the first to notice signs of ANE (abuse, neglect or exploitation) and are often the first person a resident may confide in regarding exploitation or other abuse.

As Ombudsman Representatives, our first priority is to work to resolve complaints to the satisfaction of the residents we serve. We must gain their trust and obtain their permission to address these issues. We work routinely and diligently to remind those we serve that they have rights, including the right to be free from abuse of any kind.

In the East (Augusta) LTCOP, we are a part of the CSRA Elder Rights Team” TEAS” Taking Elder Abuse Seriously. This multidisciplinary team is comprised of representatives from long term care service providers, faith organizations, law enforcement, APS, CAVE Team (Crimes Against Vulnerable Adults), and many others including Ombudsman Representatives. This team is instrumental in providing education to our community and assistance to each other as we navigate to protect those we serve.

So, this month we want to set aside time to be reminded of those that have endured abuse or may be experiencing it right now. What a powerful time to join our voices together to speak out across our perspective areas to protect and empower our older adults and those with disabilities that we serve. Here are the five things everyone can do to prevent elder abuse.

What a powerful time at Athens Community Council on Aging. The East LTCOP is always available and eager to provide advocacy, education and resources. You can call us at 706-549-4850.

– Angela Chavous, Athens Community Council on Aging

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