World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Inspiration

by Talitha Guinn

Looking for a little inspiration for your World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) event?  Well, look no further.  Check out these highlights from last year’s WEAAD events from all over the country.  From educational events to radio shows, you are sure to find something to use as a catalyst for your own planning team.  THANK YOU to these programs for sharing their fabulous WEAAD events with us.

North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, IL breaking the silence

NATIONAL – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. has taken on the issue of elder care, including raising awareness of elder abuse and neglect. Believe us when we say, this is a good thing!  Zeta is an international sorority predominantly of African American women founded in 1920.  Zeta Phi Beta believes that a sorority should not allow socializing to overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations – to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty, and health concerns of the day.  On WEAAD 2013 public awareness materials were handed out to older adult communities throughout the country, but the work didn’t end there. Each year, Zetas gather in Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators about issues of concern.  For “Zeta Day on the Hill” in September, following a briefing by staff from the Elder Justice Coalition, members of Zeta Phi Beta spoke to their members of Congress about elder abuse, awareness and prevention.  Way to go, sisters!  Have you considered partnering with a local sorority or fraternity?

ILLINOIS – North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, Illinois recognized WEAAD by wearing purple and distributing information to members and visitors at North Shore Senior Center.  This event was coordinated by Holly Lichtman, Supervisor Adult Protective Services Program.  An informational table can really help to distribute educational materials to a targeted audience!

North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, IL breaking the silence

IOWA – Iowa Department on Aging’s WEAAD activities included a series of press releases on the subject of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation:

  • May 6 –WEAAD is June 15, 2013
  • May 13 – What is Elder Abuse and How We Can Help Prevent It
  • May 20 – Financial Exploitation of Our Older Citizens:  How We Can Help Prevent It
  • May 28 – Denial of Critical Care and Self Neglect, A Silent Suffering
  • June 3 – Help in the Prevention of Elder Abuse in Long-Term Care Settings
  • June 14 – Announcing WEAAD
  • June 14 – Launch of the new State of Iowa’s Clearinghouse on Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation
  • Formal Proclamation Signing with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

Press releases are a great way to inform the public of your good elder justice work and keep them up-to-date on elder abuse issues.

Formal Proclamation Signing with Gov. Branstad

NEW YORK – The Coalition on Elder Abuse in Dutchess County held their 5th annual conference: “Take a Stand Against Elder Abuse in the Year of Elder Abuse Prevention” at Cornell Cooperative Extension – The Farm & Home Center in Millbrook, NY.  The work of the Coalition throughout the year was highlighted; an elder abuse awareness presentation included the video An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America; breaks provided an abundance of food donated by local businesses and a chance to place bids on silent auction items; a multidisciplinary panel (APS, law enforcement, homecare, crime victims, financial institution, mental hygiene, and legal services) discussed an elder abuse case; remarks and questions were taken from the 80+ community members in attendance.

A conference, big or small, creates an ideal learning environment for sharing specialized elder abuse information tailored to allied professionals.

Multidisciplinary Panel presentation

Dutchess County Coalition members

ILLINOIS – Senior Services Associates’ Senior Center inElgin, IL hosted a WEAAD event coordinated by the senior center’s activity director, Minne Vasquez and the Elder Abuse Supervisor Amy Flynn.  Amy spoke to the seniors about the types of elder abuse, warning signs, and how the public can report suspected abuse.  Then the senior’s went outside and released a purple balloon for every substantiated case of elder abuse that they had received that year – 75 total balloons.  There were approximately 67 seniors in attendance.

Have you considered creating a memorial event?  It is easy to do and has high impact.

A group of seniors and advocates stand on a sreet corner holding purple ballons that they are about to release in honor of elder abuse victims. There are about 67 seniors present.

Balloons being released

PENNSYLVANIA – The Franklin County Elder Abuse Task Force held a “Lunch and Learn” for approximately 30 attorneys in the local area. The event was held at the Courthouse in Chambersburg, PA. The presentation focused on the issues surrounding Power of Attorneys and gifting. Discussion centered around appropriate estate planning while ensuring the older adult is well protected and cared for.  Even busy professionals have to eat lunch.  That is why a “Lunch and Learn” is such an inspiring event.  A lot of valuable information can be disseminated in an hour-long educational presentation.

KENTUCKY – Northeastern Adult Protective Services hosted their 1st Annual Elder Abuse Prevention Event on June 17, 2013.  This event was held in Lawrence County at the Community Building. Informational booths were provided by community partners and free health screenings were provided by Bellefonte.  Guest Speakers included Mike Murriell (KSP) who spoke on Scams and the Elderly as well as Jimmy Salyer (APS Supervisor) who spoke on Elder Abuse and the steps in reporting suspected abuse.  Lunch was provided with the assistance of Pathways.  Door prizes were provided as well with the assistance of the various community partners.  Costs of decorations and food were also provided by funds from a soft ball tournament hosted by Bo Brumfield.

This event was a great success.  There are plans for this event to occur every year in a different location as the Northeastern APS team covers a total of 15 counties.  2014 event will be held in Rowan County. Health screenings can drive up audience participation at educational events targeted to seniors!

KY wearing purple with pride!

MASSACHUSETTS – Franklin County Home Care Corporation went on community TV in Berkshire County, MA for an interview discussing WEAAD and how to report elder abuse.  A similar 3 minute segment was recorded for a regional TV show which covers all of western MA. Have you considered taking your message to local media outlets?

WHAT’S ON YOUR WEAAD AGENDA?  For even more ideas and great resources, check out the Administration for Community Living’s WEAAD Toolkit.  In the toolkit you will find resources to help engage your community, educate others, raise awareness, and empower people to take action to end elder abuse. You will also find handy fact sheets, PowerPoint templates, and WEAAD graphics. This year, make your WEAAD event the best to date!

free vector