Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15, 2019

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2019

Contact: (413) 588-5761
Fax:  (413) 584-7076
Julie Pearce
Protective Service Program Director


Community Leaders Recognized for their Commitment to Elder Safety

FLORENCE, June 15 is the 14th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  Each year, Highland Valley Elder Services endeavors to raise awareness around 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, 2019.

            *       Reaching out to someone, age sixty (60) and over, to find out if they feel safe from abuse.

            *       If you have reasonable cause to believe that an elder is at risk, please call (800) 922-2275 or visit to make a report of concern.

At the local level, Highland Valley Elder Services will be promoting this event providing education about different forms of abuse, neglect and self-neglect.  These efforts include a recent training, provided to community professionals, at the Western Massachusetts Elder Care Conference.  The Protective Services team at Highland Valley investigates reports of risk, and works closely with the elders and community partners to alleviate these concerns.  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 Charlyn Arnell, Detective Ryan Tellier, Laurie Runkle and Officer Ernest Malone for their dedication and the valuable contributions they have made to stop elder abuse and alleviate risk.


Charlyn Arnell, Engagement Counselor from Eliot Community Human Services, is being recognized for her hard work and outstanding service to elders in her community. Charlyn has shown that she is willing to go above and beyond to ensure that not only are elders safe, but that their thoughts and feelings are respected. Charlyn has demonstrated her ability to handle a very complicated situation while showing impressive patience and dedication. She shows kindness and respect to both clients and service providers, which helps build the trust needed for effective collaboration in helping those who need assistance. Her friendliness and ability to be a fierce advocate has made her instrumental in making sure that vulnerable people in the community receive the support that they need.

Detective Ryan Tellier, of the Northampton Police Department does an amazing job working with elders in the community.  Detective Tellier not only assists elders when they are being subjected to abuse, neglect, and scams, he also takes a pro-active approach in seeking out assistance for elders to reduce potential risk.  This approach has allowed many elders to remaining living safely in the community without having to suffer in silence.  Detective Tellier embodies the positive change that can be made by one person making the extra effort to ensure the safety of community members.

Nurse Care Manager, Laurie Runkle, of Valley Medical Group in Amherst has spent her career working to focused on patient care and the continued safety of her patients.  Laurie makes herself available to collaborate with patients and professionals to quickly address risks.  She is highly respected by community members and professionals for the follow-up she provides and all of the work she does to reduce risk for the individuals in her care.  We are thankful to have a community partner so dedicated to the population she serves.

Police Officer Ernest Malone at the Southwick Police Department is being recognized for his exemplary service to the elders in his community. Officer Malone brings a positive energy to all of his interactions with Protective Service staff and his open communication has greatly improved the effectiveness of interventions needed to reduce risk for elders. He is not only responsive to Protective Service involvement, but has been willing to reach out for resources in order to prevent risk and emergency situations from occurring. We greatly appreciate Officer Malone’s commitment to public safety and willingness to advocate for those who need it most.

While checking 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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