Governor, State Agencies and Private Organizations Recognize Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Baldacci and Senior Advocates Highlight Under-reporting of Abuse and Call for Greater Awareness

AUGUSTA, MAINE – Representatives of state agencies and non-profit organizations that combat violence and the exploitation of seniors joined Governor John E. Baldacci today for the signing of a gubernatorial proclamation designating next Tuesday, June 15th, “Elder Abuse Awareness Day” in the State of Maine.

In signing the proclamation (a copy of which accompanies this release), Governor Baldacci recognized the efforts of state employees, as well as the staff members and volunteers at many private organizations, for their ongoing efforts to protect elderly Mainers and raise awareness about all forms of elder abuse.

“Seniors in Maine are fortunate to have a network of dedicated and caring individuals who work tirelessly to prevent elder abuse and assist those who become the victim of violence or exploitation,” Baldacci commented. “In designating June 15th as Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I want to acknowledge the service of those in state agencies and private organizations who work each day to protect our seniors.”

At the same time, the Governor and senior advocates emphasized that elder abuse is frequently misunderstood and unreported. Elder abuse includes the physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse of a vulnerable senior, or the neglect of a senior on the part of a caregiver. It is one of the most under-reported and fastest-growing crimes, due to the dramatic increase in the number of seniors in our society.

Statistics collected by the National Center on Elder Abuse show that the majority of seniors are victimized by family members or other caregivers, which may contribute to cases never being reported or investigated. A significant number of cases of financial exploitation often involve a trusted individual with access to the senior’s finances.

Joining the Governor for the proclamation signing were representatives from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, the Office of Adult Protective Services and Elder Services at DHHS, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, AARP, Spectrum Generations (one of Maine’s five Area Agencies on Aging), the Elder Justice Training Partnership and Elder Abuse Task Force, and local Triad chapters.

In addition to the proclamation, a partial listing of contact information and services in Maine related to elder abuse accompany this release. More information about Elder Abuse Awareness Day and crimes against seniors is also available from the National Center on Elder Abuse online at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov. Additionally, Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services provides Elder Abuse information online at http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oes/.

Partial List of Elder Abuse Awareness Events

  • Augusta Area Awareness Luncheon: The Greater Augusta Elder Abuse Task Force will visit the Cohen Center in Hallowell on June 15th from 11:00-1:00 to Celebrate Seniors! Elder Abuse information will be offered, along with door prizes. More information is available by calling the Center at 626-7777.
  • York County Triad Luncheon and Purple Ribbon Event: Triad chapters are regional coalitions of law enforcement officials and other senior advocates. York County Triad will host a lunch on June 15th at Kittery Estates to offer information about Elder Abuse and to raise awareness. More information is available by contacting Candice Noble of the Eliot Police Department at 439-1179.
  • Mid-Coast Lunch and Learn: Spectrum Generation’s Coastal Community Center in Damariscotta will host a Lunch and Learn on Elder Abuse presented by members of the newly formed Lincoln County Elder Abuse Task Force (EATF) on June 16 at 11:00. The Center is located at 521 Main Street. More information is available by calling Center Coordinator Marianne Pinkham at 563-1363.
  • Richmond Area Presentation: Merrymeeting Triad and the Richmond Senior Center will host an informal presentation and dialogue on how elder abuse and exploitation can happen to anyone. The event will be held June 23 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon at the Richmond Senior Center, located at 314 Front Street, telephone 737-2161.
  • MPBN Television Airs “Broken Trust: Elder Abuse in Maine” at 10:30 p.m. on June 15th. Jennifer Rooks presents a special report on elder abuse in Maine, its prevalence, and what’s being done about it.

Partial List of Elder Abuse Prevention Resources and Services

  • To report Elder Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation, contact the Department of Health and Human Services: 1-800-624-8404
  • To report the financial exploitation of seniors, contact Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation:
  • Office of Securities: 1-877-624-8551
  • Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection: 1-800-332-8529
  • Bureau of Insurance: 1-800-300-5000
  • Bureau of Financial Institutions:1-800-965-5235
  • To seek consumer protection and mediation services from Maine’s Office of Attorney General: 1-800-436-2131 or consumer.mediation@maine.gov
  • Statewide Family Violence Project Hotline: 1-866-834-4357
  • Statewide Sexual Assault Hotline offered by the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault: 1-800-871-7741
  • Legal Services for the Elderly: 1-800-750-5353
  • Senior Hotline, Area Agency on Aging: 1-877-ELDERS1 or 1-877-353-3771
  • Maine AARP Office: 1-866-554-5380
  • Volunteers of America Northern New England, which administers housing and programs in support of seniors: 207-373-1140 or http://www.voanne.org/
  • Midcoast Maine Community Action’s “Keeping Seniors Home Program”: 1-800-221-2221 or patricia.a.oh@gmail.com
  • Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine: 1-800-871-7741 information@sassmm.org
  • The Elder Justice Training Partnership, a federally-funded training collaborative of criminal justice and legal services advocates, members of the judiciary, social service agencies and other governmental and volunteer organizations that assist older adult victims of abuse or exploitation: Herrick and Associates, 233-2685 or Sharon@herrickandassociates.com

PROCLAMATION DECLARING JUNE 15TH 2010

“ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY”

Whereas, seniors are valued members of our State and it is our collective responsibility to ensure they live safely and with dignity; and

Whereas, elder abuse is an ever-increasing problem in today’s society as the growing senior population across all socio-economic boundaries is increasingly targeted; and

Whereas, there are multiple types of elder abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation; and

Whereas, all forms of elder abuse continue to be vastly underreported to law enforcement officials and to State agencies, with estimates indicating that only 1 out of 5 cases or fewer are currently being reported; and

Whereas, many agencies of State government, including the Office of Elder Services, Adult Protective Services, the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Public Safety, are actively engaged in elder abuse education, prevention and service delivery; and

Whereas, numerous non-profit organizations are devoted to the protection of seniors, such as the statewide Elder Abuse Task Force, Maine TRIAD, AARP/Maine, the Area Agencies on Aging, the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Elder Abuse Institute of Maine, Legal Services for the Elderly, and Volunteers of America Northern New England; and

Whereas, Elder Abuse Awareness Day will raise awareness of elder abuse and financial exploitation and will reinforce our universal commitment to protecting seniors in our communities;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN E. BALDACCI, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim June 15, 2010 as

ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY

throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to become increasingly sensitive to the reality of elder abuse and to take appropriate action when abuse is suspected.

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