Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15, 2018

Community Leaders Recognized for their Commitment to Elder Safety

FLORENCE, June 15-- marks the 13th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  On this date each year, participants seek to raise awareness of the self-neglect, neglect, financial exploitation, and abuse suffered by elders.  Cases of elder abuse are prolific in our society, with the number of reports increasing every year. Individuals over the age of 60 are often living in poverty, and in today’s economic climate, cases of unlawful eviction and financial exploitation are also on the rise.  Unfortunately, many elders suffer in silence.

To help promote and raise awareness, you can show your support by:

            *       Wearing purple during the week prior to and on June 15, 2018.

            *       Reaching out to someone, age sixty (60) and over, to find out if they feel safe from abuse.  If not, please call (800) 922-2275 to make a report.

At the local level, Highland Valley Elder Services will be promoting this event providing education about different forms of abuse, neglect and self-neglect.  The Protective Services team at Highland Valley investigates allegations of elders at risk, and work closely with community partners to ensure elders are safe in the community.  The Highland Valley Protective Services Team will be presenting certificates of recognition to professionals in the community who exemplify what it means to reduce risk for elders at home.  This year we will honor Charlie Hayes, Officer James Damouras , and Mary MacIntyre for their dedication and for the valuable contributions they have made to stop elder abuse and alleviate risk.

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The work done by Charlie Hayes, Director of Social Services at the Hilltown CDC, is phenomenal.  Charlie has worked with the Protective Services Team, providing coordination of volunteers and assistance for some of our most remote clients to address their needs.  Charlie has a drive to help others and will not stop until he has created a plan that will address the risks being faced by an elder in the community.  Protective Services has worked with Charlie on a multitude of cases and we are always impressed with his creativity, caring and follow-through.

Mary MacIntyre has been ensuring the safety of elders for many years in both the community and skilled nursing facility setting.  Protective Service Workers have had the pleasure of working with Mary to address concerns and implement interventions, which address elder safety when they are returning to the community.   This partnership has lasted throughout Mary’s time as the primary Social Worker at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst, and we look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role, as the Director of Social Services, at the Genesis HealthCare Elaine Center at Hadley.

While the Protective Services team has had limited involvement with Patrol Officer James Damouras, the work that we have done with him has shown that he exemplifies what is means to be a professional working in the community to reduce and alleviate risk to elders.  Officer Damouras recently provided safety assistance to workers, ensuring both worker and elder safety, during a Protective Services home visit.  He utilized his training and skills to de-escalate the situation and create a solution that allowed workers to ensure the elder’s safety in the home.  It is clear that Officer Damouras has the ability to build rapport with elders in the community and treats them with dignity and respect.

While taking the time to check on elders in your community, take the time to thank all of those individuals working hard to keep seniors safe.  We appreciate every person working hard to do so.  For more information or for any questions, please contact Julie Pearce, Protective Service Program Director at (413) 588-5761.

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