Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) organized two marches during Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Over 100 participants joined OCES and the Brockton Council on Aging in a march on June 15th, and more than 75 concerned citizens joined OCES and the Plymouth Center for Active Living in a march along the Plymouth waterfront on June 22nd.
“Both marches were organized to raise awareness of the issues of elder abuse and neglect and were well-attended,” said Teresa Kourtz, LSW, Protective Services Director at OCES, the non-profit agency proudly serving older adults and individuals with disabilities throughout greater Plymouth County and surrounding communities. “The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs logged 25,000 reports in a recent fiscal year. It is estimated that 1 in 10 elders have experienced some form of abuse – physical, mental, emotional or financial – and experts in the field say that number is considered low due to under-reporting.”
Each march was followed by a luncheon that included informative guest speakers and an awards ceremony. At the Plymouth Center for Active Living, several individuals who have assisted seniors in protective services and in the town of Plymouth received recognition awards including Attorney J. Marlin Hawthorne, Chief G. Edward Bradley of the Plymouth Fire Department and Connie DiLego, a dedicated volunteer and former director of the Center for Active Living. In Brockton, Pat Foley, the Brockton Triad, and Brockton Police Officer Nicole Anderson received recognition awards.
OCES would like to thank the following event sponsors: Mary Cruise Kennedy Senior Center (Brockton Council on Aging); Plymouth Center for Active Living; HarborOne Bank; Roche Bros. and Shaw’s Supermarkets; the Brockton Patrolmen’s Association; Plymouth Police Relief Association (PPRA); and the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office.
Elder abuse includes financial exploitation, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, family members (spouses, adult children, partners and others) comprise the majority of abusers. Additionally, research indicates that individuals with dementia are at even greater risk for elder abuse.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, an estimated five million, or one in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation every year. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.
OCES helps elders who have been victims of neglect or harm from a caregiver. Protective Services Workers investigate each report, and provide support, and if needed, information about resources such as medical, legal, psychological, financial and housing assistance.
If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation call the Elder Abuse Centralized Intake Unit, available 24/7 at 1-800-922-2275. All calls are confidential and will lead to thorough investigation at the local level.
Founded in 1974, OCES proudly serves greater Plymouth County and surrounding communities. OCES is a private, non-profit organization headquartered in Brockton with a second office in Plymouth. OCES is designated as one of 26 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’ mission is to support the independence and dignity of elders and people with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency has 232 employees and operates more than 15 programs serving older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call 508-584-1561 or visit www.ocesma.org.