Community Protects Elders From Abuse

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

May 26, 2005

As Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month comes to an end, members of the community continue to promote awareness through prevention workshops.

The sole purpose of Thursday's workshop was to promote awareness about the relevance of adult abuse in the community, something experts believe affects everyone.

"It's huge," says Jeanne McCusker of Home Instead Senior Care. "It's so huge because everyone has an elderly neighbor or an elderly aunt. My great aunt was taken advantage of, so we all have a story, but the only way to stop it is to step up and be proactive."

"A lot of times there's a lot of press about child abuse, but adult abuse a lot of times goes unnoticed, unfortunately," says Patti Alan, the Workshop Organizer.

As a result, some local caregivers in the area are taking extra measures to educate the community and spread the word. "We promote awareness by training our staff to be able to identify it out in the field, so by providing training and information to our staff, as well as the community hopefully we can reduce the amount of people who are being abused, neglected and/or exploited," says McCusker.

In addition to educating caregivers, local police say there are some things senior citizens can do to protect themselves. "What elderly people can do is not open their door to strangers, always ask for identification, or simply just deal with people you know and trust," says Detective Carl Brown with the Albemarle County Police Department.

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