Rally Spotlights Elder Abuse Awareness

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Actor and Kentucky native William Mapother is leading a state and national effort to protect elders in a new public awareness campaign for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

The CHFS Department for Community Based Services has partnered with the National Council on Elder Abuse to produce public service announcements for television and radio, CHFS officials announced today at an Elder Abuse Awareness Rally in the Capitol Rotunda.

Gov. Steve Beshear has declared today Elder Abuse Day in Kentucky. It is also World Elder Abuse Day.

At the rally, Mapother and elder abuse prevention advocates from across the state gathered to celebrate successes and recommit to preventing elder abuse.

Mapother, who has starred in TV's "Lost" and movies such as "World Trade Center," "Magnolia" and "In the Bedroom," recorded both Kentucky-specific and national television and radio spots at a Louisville production studio while visiting his family last fall.

"Of course I was mindful of elder maltreatment, but when I became involved with this campaign, I was genuinely shocked at its magnitude and complexity," Mapother said.


"We are thrilled to have a nationally known Kentuckian of William's success to lead the campaign against elder abuse and neglect," elder abuse specialist Kimberly Baker said. "William is a deeply caring and honest person, and his genuineness really shows in the PSAs."

Baker said Mapother was very involved with the production from the start. "Because he's a seasoned actor, he had great ideas for refining the scripts. It was phenomenal to use that expertise to improve the project."

CHFS has sent the PSA to the state's television and radio stations along with a letter signed by Secretary Janie Miller.

In the letter, Miller writes, "This campaign is an encouraging start to the education and awareness process. ... These PSAs will educate our citizens on how to recognize elder abuse and how to become a part of the process to prevent it."

Also at the rally, awards were given to groups and individuals who exemplified their commitment to protecting seniors.

Mapother presented the Public Awareness Initiative Award to the Kentucky River Council Against Maltreatment of the Elderly (CAME). CAME received $500 for its continuing public awareness activities.

CAME is part of the state's network of Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse (LCCEAs) that cover 115 counties. LCCEAs provide elder abuse education and outreach at the local and regional levels depending on the needs of the communities. Kentucky has the nation's only network of such councils, which involve advocates from CHFS, law enforcement, volunteer agencies, businesses and all areas of the community.