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Community Rally Highlights Commitment To Combating Elder Abuse

Chautauqua County commemorated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with a special rally outside of the County Courthouse.

MAYVILLE – In a significant show of support and awareness, the Chautauqua County Multidisciplinary Team on Elder Abuse, with assistance from the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services and the Center for Elder Law & Justice, commemorated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) by hosting a rally outside the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, on Friday.

First launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, WEAAD unites communities globally to raise awareness about elder abuse. This day serves as a call-to-action to highlight the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders and to reaffirm our commitment to justice for all.

“By coming together, we can prevent elder abuse and neglect,” said Mike Lee, Social Worker at the Center for Elder Law & Justice. “Through robust support services and dedicated community resources, we can address and mitigate the impact of elder abuse in our society.”

Chautauqua County Executive Paul M. Wendel Jr. emphasized the importance of community involvement, adding that, “addressing elder abuse is a collective responsibility. Our community must stand united to support and protect our older residents, ensuring they live with dignity and respect.”

Elder abuse remains a pervasive issue, with an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation each year. Alarmingly, experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, with only 1 in 14 cases reaching the authorities. The absence of adequate social supports often leaves many elder abuse cases hidden and unresolved.

“Preventing elder abuse requires not just awareness but action,” said Dr. Mary Ann Spanos, Director of the Office for Aging Services. We need to educate, support, and provide resources to our older population and their caregivers to ensure their safety and well-being.”

Elder abuse not only violates the American commitment to justice but also has far-reaching consequences, impacting public health and economic stability. However, through proactive measures, communities can prevent and address elder abuse effectively.

Key strategies to strengthen social supports and prevent elder abuse include:

– Creating Intergenerational Spaces: Designing community centers that foster relationships and active participation among older adults.

– Enhancing Transportation Systems: Reducing social isolation by ensuring accessible transportation for older community members.

– Coordinating Support Services: Streamlining teams, agencies, and programs to provide comprehensive support to older adults.

– Educational Programs: Educating families and professionals to recognize the signs of abuse and understand preventive measures.

By fortifying our social support structures, we can reduce social isolation, protect vulnerable individuals, and uphold our national commitment to justice for all.

A video recording of today’s rally is available on Chautauqua County’s YouTube page.

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