Elder Abuse Awareness Day event planned

SIDNEY — In celebration of Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Shelby County Adult Protective Services is hosting an event on Friday, June 14, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the main entrance to the Shelby County Courthouse.

“This is a day that multiple organizations in Shelby County are coming together to make elderly aware that there are services available to them. It’s also a way for them to know what each organization can offer them in their time of need,” said Tori Butterfield, APS caseworker at Shelby County Job & Family Services.

Shelby County Adult Protection Services serves as a call-to-action for communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm the country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.

“When we come together, we can prevent elder abuse from happening. We can put support services in place, and direct community resources toward addressing elder abuse. Our country must reaffirm our commitment to justice and create a sturdy structure of support that will benefit us all as we get older,” said Butterfield.

Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.

In addition to being a clear violation of the American commitment to justice for all, elder abuse is an issue with many consequences in today’s society. Its effects on communities range from public health to economic issues.

“The good news is that we can prevent and address the issue of elder abuse. There are many ways to strengthen our social supports through policies, services and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age,” said Butterfield.

Ways to combat elder abuse include:

• Design and equip community centers to work as intergenerational spaces that allow older people to build relationships and participate in the work, play and life of neighborhoods.

• Think about the role of transportation in reducing social isolation and adjust systems so everyone can all continue to move throughout their communities as they age.

• Figure out new and better ways to arrange and coordinate the teams, agencies and programs that work specifically with older people.

• Develop programs to educate families and professionals who work with older adults to understand the importance of preventing isolation, how to spot the warning signs of abuse, and what to do to address abuse or neglect. By doing all that communities can strengthen the social support structure, reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse, and build a nation that lives up to the promise of justice for all.

During the June 14 event, there will be hot dogs, buns, water, chips and cookies provided to those attending.

“All are welcome to attend this event in hopes of preventing elder abuse to someone we know or a loved one,” said Butterfield.

Organizations which will be present during the June 14 event are Shelby County Adult Protection Service, Shelby County FMS, Sidney Police Department, Sidney Fire Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Victim Services, New Choices, Sidney Care Center, Wilson Health, The Pavilion, Catholic Social Service’s PASSPORT, Shelby County Veteran Services and Tri-County Board of Mental Health.