Left to Right-Laura Snow, Director of Coalition on Abuse Prevention of Elderly; Bunny Kasper, Board Member, Jewish Home for the Elderly (JHE); State Rep Tony Hwang, 134th District; Kaitilyn Klein, JHE/CAPE Intern.
June 15, 2012,Fairfield,CT– Every day, elder citizens across America are being preyed on – physically, emotionally and financially – and often by family members and caregivers. Several local organizations and legislators are leading a charge to help prevent abuses and provide support to victims and their families.
As an advance to the 7th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is marked globally by many organizations on June 15, the Jewish Home for the Elderly (JHE), yesterday afternoon held a gathering at which three legislators and the daughter of abuse victims were featured speakers at the Westport Senior Center. The legislators included CT State Representatives Tony Hwang, (134th, Fairfield/Trumbull), Jonathan Steinberg (136th, Westport) and Sen. Kevin Kelly (21st, Stratford/Shelton). Each speaker gave his personal perspective on seniors and their family struggling with elder abuse and state government efforts to address this critical public policy issue. About 45 people attended, including concerned residents, aging services professionals, high school students and police liaison officers.
“Having been involved with JHE and learning about the devastating impact of elder abuse since I was first elected in 2008, I was thrilled to support this important awareness event,” said Rep. Hwang. “Elder abuse is a form of domestic violence and criminal treatment of our valued seniors that should never be tolerated. We, as legislators, have a responsibility to ensure we do everything to advocate and protect one of our most vulnerable populations.”
Nina Cahill, a Fairfield resident and daughter of elderly parents that were abused by a caregiver, said her parents were wiped out of their financial assets and sent to the hospital on false pretenses.
The JHE itself operates a Coalition for the Abuse Prevention of the Elderly (CAPE), which is specific toFairfieldCounty. It was established in 2008, with a grant from theNationalCenteron Elder Abuse. Its mission is to raise awareness and provide professional training and resources for victims.
“We specifically sought out the grant and established the Coalition,” said Laura Snow, the Program Director for the Institute on Aging. “We heard fragmented reports from the community. There was no one group or forum to represent and discuss concerns. There were really no prevention efforts.”
The activities of the Coalition include an annual training conference for professionals, a monthly meeting at theUnited WayinBridgeportand the promotion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Snow said the JHE serves more seniors in their homes than at the JHE, and that they do a lot of counseling with families as well as a lot of outreach and education on elder abuse. “We work with seniors in the community who are living in their homes, where some of the hidden issues happen,” she said.
For more information about supporting the advocacy against elder abuse, contact Laura Snow, Program Director for the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Jewish Home of Fairfield County at email@example.com or 203-365-6403.
Left to Right- Laura Snow, Director of Coalition on Abuse Prevention of Elderly; J.P. Lewis, HighSchool Videographer; Jake Luders, HighSchool VideoEditor; State Rep Tony Hwang, 134th District; Kristen Cusato, Alzheimer Association; Sen. Kevin Kelly, 21st District.