In an effort to raise awareness of elder abuse, Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), the non-profit agency proudly serving older adults and individuals with disabilities throughout greater Plymouth County, is holding a special lawn sign campaign in June.
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
In Massachusetts, 34,812 reports of elder abuse were made in the year 2020. Nationally, up to five million older adults are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion according to the National Council on Aging. Seventy nine percent of the five million cases, go unreported. OCES’ call-to-action is for the community and organizations to lift up their voices – and those of older adults – and raise awareness about elder abuse. OCES encourages the community to make a difference and display a lawn sign for the month of June, 2021 to educate others about who to call to report elder abuse.
OCES is creating a number of lawn signs with various sayings to raise awareness, such as “You can make a difference” and “See Something Say Something – Report Elder Abuse 1-800-922-2275”.
To obtain a lawn sign, community members can contact the Brockton Council on Aging (508) 580-7811, Plymouth Center for Active Living (508) 830-4230 or OCES (508) 584-1561. Those who are picking up a sign will be provided with a designated pick-up time.
Special Banner Raising in Brockton
Join OCES and Mayor Sullivan on June 15th at noon at 144 Main Street in Brockton, MA as he raises the awareness banner in honor of older adults for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Community members can bring awareness to the campaign by displaying a lawn sign at a local business establishment or personal residence.
Sharing on Social Media
Anyone displaying a sign is encouraged to photograph themselves near the sign, or simply take a photo of the sign alone, and share it on OCES’ Facebook page @OCESMA. This further helps to raise awareness of this important issue of elder abuse. Use the hashtags #ElderAbuseAwareness #LiftingUpVoices #WEAAD when posting the pictures. Follow OCES on Facebook at @OCESMA for more information.
“Even in these challenging times, with social distancing, we can still work together to collaborate as a community and build awareness for this important issue,” said Teresa Kourtz, LSW, MSG, Protective Services Director at OCES.
Recognizing Elder Abuse
Elder abuse includes financial exploitation, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living, an estimated five million older adults are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation every year. One in 10 Americans age 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Common risk factors for elder abuse are social isolation, poor physical health and dementia.
OCES Protective Services Program staff works with older adults or their designees to prevent, eliminate or remedy situations involving emotional, physical or sexual abuse, neglect by a caregiver, financial exploitation and/or self–neglect. When there is a report made to the Elder Abuse Hotline, and the elder resides in our catchment area, OCES will receive the report and determine if further investigation is necessary by a Protective Services Worker.
If you have concerns, please contact your local Protective Services Agency. If you are looking to file a report on elder abuse, please contact the Centralized Intake Unit (Elder Abuse Hotline) at 1-800-922-2275.
To learn more about WEAAD, visit https://eldermistreatment.usc.edu/weaad-home/
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 25 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’ mission is to support the independence and dignity of older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency offers a number of programs to serve older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call 508-584-1561 or visit www.ocesma.org