Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, State Officials Mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Highlight Programs that Help Support Older Adults Living in Connecticut
Today, Lt. Governor Susan joined state agency and community leaders to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and highlight the programs and systems in place to support older adults living in Connecticut.
During Monday’s press conference, Lt. Governor was joined by Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull; Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter; Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Dr. Miriam Delphin-; Mairead Painter, Connecticut State Long Term Care Ombudsman; Department of Social Services Deputy Commissioner Kathleen Brennan; Dorian Long, Social Work Services Director for the Department of Social Services; Barbara Cass, Branch Chief for Healthcare Quality and Safety for the Department of Public Health; Department of Banking Outreach Coordinator Kathleen ; and AARP-CT State Director Nora Duncan.
“Every day, our state agencies are working tirelessly to protect our seniors and ensure they have the support systems needed to maintain their independence. As we mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it’s crucial that we come together to prevent elder abuse. Elder abuse can happen to anyone – a family member, coworker, friend or neighbor. But knowledge is power. By arming our older adults with the education and resources they need to safeguard their personal information and ensure they feel safe in their communities, we can better prevent elder abuse,” said Lt. Governor .
Launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of seniors by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes impacting elder abuse and neglect.
Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited. Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.
“Abuse and neglect of older adults is a trauma that needs to be brought further into the sunlight of public awareness,” said Dr. Deidre S. Gifford, Department of Social Services Commissioner and interim Department of Public Health Commissioner. “Our protective services social workers are seeing various types of maltreatment, including physical, emotional and even sexual abuse, along with neglect and financial exploitation. Raising awareness is so important because elder abuse can easily go undetected and unchecked unless family, friends and neighbors join mandated reporters in getting involved to stop it. We thank the dedicated professionals across state and local government and our non-profit and law enforcement partners for their outstanding work in safeguarding and serving older adults.”
“We strive to create programming to educate, empower and support our older residents and their families so they know their rights, live in a strong community, and retain their independence in ways that are personally meaningful,” said Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter.
"Elder abuse is an incredibly important topic that is important to us at DCP year-round," said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. "Specifically, we regulate home maker companion agencies, that help provide the opportunity for our older family members to remain independent by supporting them with day to day tasks. We also work with our partner agencies to warn families about fraud and scams that target the elderly. We encourage anyone who has questions, or needs support to contact our office. Remember, if someone calls, emails, or comes to your door, and they seem like a scam artist - follow your instincts, ignore them, and contact us. I want to thank our sister agencies, all of the organizations we work with on this important issue, and the Lieutenant Governor for her leadership."
“Social isolation has long been one of the leading factors contributing to the financial exploitation of older investors. The unprecedented, but necessary, quarantines to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus have taken social isolation to a new dimension for many seniors, making them more vulnerable to financial exploitation,” said Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez. “While financial abuse can happen at any time, perpetrators often strike during times in a senior’s life when they may be more vulnerable, such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. Everyone should be more vigilant in these uncertain times.”
“The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is honored to be able to participate in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and help to increase awareness about this very serious issue,” said Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-. “Seniors and their families can access our senior outreach and engagement program in every region of the State. This program provides person-centered, strengths-based, and culturally sensitive services that can help to stabilize behavioral health symptoms and improve overall quality of life while older adults remain integrated in the community, ‘aging in place.’ These services can help to reduce the risk of abuse.”
“I am thankful that state officials and our Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut partners are committed to strengthening the network that works with older adults in our state to keep them safe and strong in the setting of their choosing,” said Mairead Painter, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut.
“PURA appreciates the importance of this day and joins with other state agencies to raise awareness around elder abuse and neglect. Especially in these uncertain times that we’re all living in now, we need to protect our elder community as we’ve seen certain scam activities heighten. In response to COVID-19, we have put in place protective actions that prohibit public utility service from termination. PURA reminds residents to always be vigilant if approached with a service offer or threat of service termination, and to call their utility company directly or PURA’s consumer affairs unit with any questions,” said PURA Chairwoman Marissa Gillett. “For more information on available resources in response to the public health crisis, such as payment plans and the shut-off moratorium, please visit PURA’s COVID-19 Resources page at https://portal.ct.gov/PURA/Consumer-Services/PURA-COVID-Actions.”
“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day gives AARP a chance to stand up for those who need a voice and offertools to those who want to raise their own voices. The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a nationwide interactive platform available to everyone. Here in Connecticut our team of peer volunteers and community partners help bring the program’s fraud fighting power to communities,” said Nora Duncan, State Director for AARP CT.
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