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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Building Strong Support for Elders

Josefa Scherer, Protective Services Supervisor
Michelle Billings, Protective Services Supervisor
Dean Lagrotteria, Protective Services Program Director

Saturday, June 15, 2019 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On this day communities in the USA and all over the world will sponsor events to highlight solutions to this systemic social challenge. LifePath is proud to participate in this national conversation.

We appreciate the worldwide efforts to focus on telling the stories of older adults to highlight the importance of social connectedness and the structures necessary to support this essential feature of elder abuse prevention.

We want to use this opportunity to help clarify some important and regionally relevant connections. Community members in Franklin County and Western Worcester County are significantly impacted by addiction and elder abuse. Importantly, while addiction is a risk factor for elder abuse, wellbeing is a protective factor against both! Social connectedness, food and housing security and access to healthcare that treats the whole person are goals that we can focus on meeting, knowing that this enhances the wellbeing and safety of older adults, prevents risky drug behavior, and supports recovery from addiction.

“Together, we can and must support older adults in creating healthier and safer living environments.”

Opiate misuse, and addiction in particular, is linked to financial exploitation, medication mismanagement, caregiver neglect, and other kinds of abuse. Recovery from addiction and safety from abuse are linked to social connectedness, spiritual wellness, expectations of physical safety, and other dimensions of well-being.

Together, we can and must support older adults in creating healthier and safer living environments. We can do this by strengthening social support networks, decreasing isolation, and enhancing well-being. LifePath’s programs help to address transportation issues, access to social and educational programs, in-home health and personal care, and caregiver support. LifePath also administers the Adult Protective Services program, which investigates and intervenes in the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people 60 and over.

If you are a community member interested in more information about how to keep older adults in our communities safe, please reach out to LifePath at 413-773-5555 or explore our programs on our website. To make a report of concern about elder abuse, call 800-922-2275.