Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, State Officials Mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Highlight Programs That Help Support Older Adults Living in Connecticut
(Hartford, CT) — Today, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz 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 Tuesday’s press conference, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz was joined by Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull; Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter; Mairead Painter, Connecticut State Long Term Care Ombudsman; 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; and AARP-CT State Director Nora Duncan.
“Our state agencies and advocates work hard every day to improve elder security and develop integrated systems in order to protect our seniors and prevent elder abuse in Connecticut,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “Combating elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation is always of top priority. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to educate our residents on the resources available to keep our seniors safe and independent. Public awareness is key to strengthening the ability to combat elder abuse.”
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.
“Older adults are especially vulnerable to several types of maltreatment, including physical, emotional and even sexual abuse, along with neglect and financial exploitation,” said Dr. Deidre S. Gifford, Department of Social Services Commissioner and Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner. “Social workers in the DSS Protective Services for the Elderly program help adults 60 and older by investigating allegations and providing or arranging for services to alleviate and prevent further maltreatment. But we cannot do this alone. Older adults need their families, friends and neighbors to join mandated reporters in getting involved to stop elder abuse and neglect (including self-neglect). On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we thank Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz and partners for raising awareness of this serious problem. We also appreciate 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.”
“Older members of our population can be vulnerable to many types of fraud, scams and abuse, and it’s a part of DCP’s mission to help ensure public health and safety, and to support Connecticut residents as they work to protect themselves from scams,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “This year we worked with the legislature to strengthen background checks for homemaker companion agencies, and as always, we continue our work to protect and warn people against fraud and scams that target the elderly by giving people tools and skills they can use to recognize a scam. Thank you to our sister agencies and partner organizations for continuing in this important work with us.”
“We strive to create programs that educate, empower and support our older residents and their families so they know their rights, live in strong communities, and retain their independence in ways that are personally meaningful,” said Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter.
“State officials and our Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut partners continue to demonstrate their commitment to building strong support for older adults in our community. Our networks provide access to information and advocacy, giving older adults and their loved ones resources to help keep them safe, strong and as independent as possible in the setting of their choosing,” said Mairead Painter, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Coalition for Elder Justice in Connecticut.
“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day gives AARP a chance to showcase some of the important work we have been focused on this year in an effort to combat elder abuse and neglect. We have fought to make paratransit drivers mandated reporters of abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment of older adults. We have worked to strengthen the bill of rights for residents of long term care facilities and allow residents to use the audio and video technology of their choosing to facilitate virtual visitation, allow family to monitor them, and more. We also applaud Governor Ned Lamont for recently signing House Bill 6100 which requires a national background check for homemaker-companions, in addition to the state background check required under current law. We are pleased to have been able to support these changes to protect some of our most vulnerable Connecticut residents.” said Nora Duncan, State Director for AARP CT.
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