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Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts Recognized

Armen Hareyan's picture

Elder Abuse Prevention

Elder abuse and neglect was in the spotlight at a capitol rally that included state officials, law enforcement and advocates for seniors.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the Kentucky Association of Gerontology, AARP, the Office of the Attorney General and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse sponsored Kentucky Elder Abuse Awareness Day today to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

"Each of the community partners involved in elder abuse education and prevention plays an important part in the solution to this crisis," CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said. "Our statewide network of community groups and advocates are admirably coordinating their sometimes limited resources to make a world of difference for seniors and their families."

About 200 people attended the rally.

"It's wonderful to know that so many people and organizations stand together against elder abuse and neglect," said Tom Emberton Jr., CHFS' undersecretary for children and family services. "Protecting seniors is a priority of this cabinet, and this event proves that no matter where we live, we can all play a part in sheltering our seniors."

Kimberly Baker, a specialist in CHFS' Adult Safety Branch, said organizers of the rally wanted it to help raise public awareness of elder abuse and neglect, advance victims' rights to justice and promote participation in the statewide network of Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse (LCCEAs). Forty councils cover 113 counties.

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"These groups provide elder abuse education outreach at the local and regional levels," Baker said. "Their work is designed to meet the needs of each community, and the whole Commonwealth benefits."

The Pulaski County Council on Elder Abuse received a $500 Public Awareness Initiative Award from the Adult Safety Branch for its exceptional accomplishments over the past year. The money is to be used for continued community efforts to raise awareness on the issues of elder abuse and neglect.

Emberton said it is important to acknowledge the groups and individuals who are raising awareness about the issue.

"The state's adult protection social workers investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, but it requires the involvement of multiple community partners to ensure successful resolution of the issues identified during the investigation. Our DCBS staff can't do this job alone," he said. "With our population graying and the prevalence of elder abuse and financial exploitation growing, these councils and our community partners are even more valuable."

Several Kentuckians who have made an impact in the field of elder abuse prevention were recognized.

Kentucky State Police Senior Trooper Scott King, stationed at KSP Post Seven in Richmond, was acknowledged for his nomination for the National Association of Police Organizations' "TOP COPS" award.

King has worked more than a year collecting evidence and developing a criminal case against a Madison County woman's relative. This person was financially exploiting and neglecting the elderly woman, who was not aware of her financial situation because of the effects of Alzheimer's disease. The case is pending trial.

Tim Rees, an adult protective services supervisor in Kenton County, was nominated for the National Adult Protective Services Association's (NAPSA) 2007 "Spirit of the NAPSA" award. Rees has worked in developing relationships with community partners in an effort to increase collaboration on investigations, prevention activities and public awareness to further enhance services and protection of the elder population.