Montgomery County’s Elder/Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force Members Hold Senior Safety Forum; County’s 5th Commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release: 6/10/2015 Montgomery County’s Elder/Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force Members Hold Senior Safety Forum; County’s 5th Commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Montgomery County Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force today hosted its 5th Annual Montgomery County Senior Safety event from noon until 3 p.m. at the Holiday Park Senior Center located at 3950 Ferrara Drive in Wheaton. Seniors, their families and social work professionals participated in activities planned to raise awareness of senior safety and elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, particularly financial exploitation. State’s Attorney John McCarthy, County Council President George Leventhal, Councilmembers Marc Elrich and Sidney Katz, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger, Sheriff Darren Popkin and Director of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Uma Ahluwalia were joined by the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging Rona Kramer and the Executive Director of the National Adult Protective Services Association Kathleen Quinn. The National Adult Protective Services Association’s National Elder Justice Leader Bill Benson delivered the keynote address. “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a way for us to raise awareness of an important issue, the safety of our seniors,” said State’s Attorney McCarthy. “As our country and County residents reach their golden years it’s time for all of us to protect their health and wealth. This year’s theme is financial abuse and my office has recently established the Crimes Against Seniors and Vulnerable Adults or CASVA unit to attack this problem head-on. With our partners on the task force we will work collaboratively to holistically address the needs of our aging community.” The event kicked off with a Red Flags of Abuse press conference alerting the public to the types of crimes – Neglect, Financial Abuse/Exploitation, and Physical/Sexual Abuse – victimizing elders; and the programs and services the County offers through its Elder/Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force to improve the safety, health and quality of life for County seniors. “Elder abuse is described as the hidden epidemic,” said HHS Director Uma Ahluwalia. “Research indicates that for every case of elder abuse that is reported to law enforcement or social services agencies, 24 go unreported. We are fortunate to have a multi-agency and inter-professional task force dedicated to addressing this heinous crime.” “In 2013 our police department formed an Elder/Vulnerable Adult Abuse Unit within our Special Victims Investigations Division,” said Chief Manger. “Since that time we have investigated 276 cases involving elderly and/or vulnerable adults. A person does not need proof positive to call Adult Protective Services or police to open an investigation of abuse. We want to be notified of suspicious situations and concerns of possible abuse.” The forum agenda included speakers and exhibitors on topics including: elder abuse, scam and fraud exploitation, a “Money Smart for Older Adults” class, emergency preparedness and home safety, and Montgomery County resources for seniors. The event also included police and fire/rescue demonstrations, free blood pressure checks, musical entertainment, light refreshments and door prizes. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2006. Their goal was to unite communities around the world to raise awareness about elder abuse. Elder abuse includes intentional, unintentional and neglectful acts by family, caregivers or others. Recent research (reported by the Alliance on Aging and other senior service organizations) found that one in 10 older Americans are abused each year. Only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is reported. The effect of elder abuse is felt far beyond the suffering created for victims and their families. The most recent estimates show that elder victims of financial exploitation lost $2.9 billion in one year and that the direct medical costs associated with violent injuries to older adults adds over $5.3 billion to annual U.S. health expenditures. Abuse of the elderly is a growing and increasingly recognized phenomenon both nationally and in Montgomery County, especially as baby boomers age and the number of senior citizens grows. In Montgomery County the 60+ population is over 182,627 or about 18.5 percent of the County’s total population of over one million, and is increasing faster than the total population. The Montgomery County Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Task Force consists of representatives from the Montgomery County Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services. Its goal is to prevent elder abuse, raise public awareness of elder abuse, support legislative efforts to establish stronger and better laws, and aggressively investigate and prosecute those who commit elder abuse. The Senior Safety Forum was hosted by six agencies responsible for protecting the County’s seniors: the Montgomery County Police, the Ombudsman Program, Adult Protective Services, Licensure and Regulatory Services, the Office of the State’s Attorney, and the Office of the County Attorney – partnering with the Montgomery County Recreation Department and ElderSAFE Center, Charles E. Smith Life Communities, with funding provided in part by the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation. For information about County Senior Services: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/hhs/. # # # Release ID: 15-234 Media Contact: Lucille Baur 240-777-6507

http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=14946]]>

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