June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month
Make Every Day Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Abuse is an epidemic that is non-discriminatory, impacting people of all races, income, religion, sexual orientation, and even age. June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month and the United Nations appointed June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. As the percentage of seniors increases, so does the rate of violence and neglect against them. According to the National Council on Aging, “Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse”.
Elder abuse is any “form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss” to those ages 60 and over (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse). It happens in different forms, including physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, financial, neglect, self-neglect, and abandonment. Physical abuse is any action for intentionally causing bodily harm e.g. punching, kicking, slapping. Emotional/psychological abuse involves being degrading towards an elder, speaking to them in a way that strips them of their dignity and respect. Sexual violence happens when sexual contact is made or attempted without the individual’s consent. Financial abuse results from the misuse and exploitation of money, assets and other resources of an elderly person by someone else. Sometimes older adults legally provide access to their resources; for instance, when they appoint a person as power of attorney to handle their finances. It is when this responsibility turns into an opportunity to take advantage of them that an issue arises. Neglect, denying care such as food and medications or barring someone from accessing services like medical appointments, can be done by another individual or self-inflicted. Abandonment is when an elder is left without care by someone who is supposed to be supervising them.
Circumstances that increase an elder’s likelihood of being abused include being physically and/or financially dependent on a caregiver, being isolated, cognitive and physical impairments, mental health issues, gender, and history of abuse. A lot of this mistreatment occurs where the elderly reside, whether it is in their own home, assisted living facility or nursing home. Perpetrators of these behaviors are more than likely those who are in close contact with the senior, or have access to their property and financials. This includes family members, close friends and professional caregivers. In 90% of reported cases, family members were found as the perpetrators (Psychology Today).
Elder abuse does not get the same acknowledgement as it does with teens and adults. Part of this is society’s assumptions about the older population. Ageism, discriminating someone based on their age, leads to the mentality that older people have bad memory, no sense of what is happening around them, are helpless, or feel sad and anxious all the time. These can also all be indicators that mistreatment is happening. However, it could be hard to identify signs of abuse, or to consider its possibility, if this is considered a normal perception of the older community. Furthermore, there is the misunderstanding that older adults cannot be taken advantage of sexually. It is crucial to remember that in cases of abuse it is about power and control. Unfortunately, the same vulnerabilities that may seem normal and make it difficult to recognize elder abuse are the same vulnerabilities that cause the biggest risks of continued violence. Those who commit these acts more than often believe that because their victim has dementia, or has a lack of family support, that no one will believe them, meaning they are able to get away with it.
As frequent as it is, it is important for those experiencing elder abuse to know that they are not alone, nor is it their fault. It happens whether a person lives in a facility or in their own home, able-bodied or disabled. The consequences are equally as detrimental. Injuries lead to more hospitalizations and acquired disabilities. In addition to physical injuries, depression, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, suicidality, constant fear and self-harm are among the effects of traumatic situations. Sickness is also a concern if medications are not provided or administered properly. Those who already felt isolation may go into a bigger withdrawal. The National Council on Aging mentions that elder abuse creates a 300% higher risk of death. Another result is that, as the Council on Aging explains, “older adults in the United States lose an estimated 2.6 billion or more from financial abuse and exploitation”. It is our collective responsibility to protect the dignity of all individuals so that everyone has the opportunity of maintaining self-fulfilling lives throughout all of the life stages.
It is also important to remember although there is no excuse for aggressive behaviors, caregivers are under a lot of stress. There could be times when incidents happen unintentionally. By utilizing resources such as support groups or family and friends, a caregiver can alleviate this stress which can help them provide the best quality of help possible. For more information, reach out to the Broome County’s Office for the Aging for their Caregivers Support program.
If you suspect that you or someone else is being abused, there are local resources that can help. If you notice something is not right, open up the conversation with the person who you think might be abused. If there is an immediate risk of danger, call local law enforcement. You can also contact the Broome County Adult Protective Services at 607-778-2642. For those living in nursing homes call the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 607-722-1251 or 1-888-201-4563 for the New York State Department of Health. #WEAAD
CALLING ALL PERFORMERS!
Do you like to sing or act like you can sing? Then this Challenge is perfect for you! Contestants ages 55+ can participate as a soloist or in teams of 2 or more. Choose a song and move your lips to song of your choice! Call us at (607) 722-1251 to register today, hurry before the spots are filled!
Download and mail in your form by clicking on this link: Registration Form. Mail it to our office at Action for Older Persons, 200 Plaza Drive, Vestal, NY 13850 or fax it to (607) 722-1293.
Interested in becoming a Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman Volunteer?
More information on Long-Term Care Ombudsmen in the article below. Certification training dates to be held in May. Applications due Early April. Contact us at 607-722-1251 for additional information.
Educating, Empowering, Advocating
by the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
THE NYS LONG TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM:
What are those things that make us who we are as individuals? It is our ability to make choices, to exercise our rights, and remain as independent as possible while maintaining our dignity. Many of us envision living our lives in this manner, surrounded by family and friends in our own homes and community. The reality, however, can be very different. Unforeseen circumstances such as a fall or illness can change a person’s life plan, creating the need to be placed in a nursing home or adult home. Residents in these facilities deserve to continue to live their lives as independently as possible and often are able to accomplish this by utilizing their advocate, a certified ombudsman.
The New York State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is available in all long-term care facilities across the state to assist individuals in keeping their sense of identity, self-worth, and ability to make choices regarding the care they are receiving. Simply put, the ombudsman program is resident-directed and resident-centered. Ombudsmen provide assistance to individuals and their families to understand and exercise their right to good care in a safe environment that promotes and protects their dignity and quality of life in the facility they now call “home.”
At the heart of the NYS Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is its corps of specially trained and certified volunteers. Many volunteers are retired professionals from various backgrounds. These dedicated ombudsmen spend several hours per week in each of their assigned facilities, advocating for the residents by providing information and resolving complaints.
Little things make a big difference in everyone’s lives. The certified ombudsman volunteers are a “regular presence” in facilities. Because of this “regular presence,” these volunteers get to know residents, their needs, and those things that make a difference in their everyday lives. For residents without any family or loved ones, the ombudsman may be their only socialization from outside the facility and also may be the only advocate they have. The ombudsman becomes a “voice for the voiceless” and a lifeline for those who need assistance when they feel like they have nobody to turn to.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is dedicated to educating, empowering and advocating for the residents in long-term care settings. Sometimes the role of the certified ombudsman is simply to empower residents and their families with education and knowledge so that that they can advocate on their own behalf. An ombudsman can also advocate for residents by investigating and resolving complaints made by or on behalf of them, always with the residents’ consent. Ombudsmen are committed to maintaining resident confidentiality, which is a cornerstone of the program. They represent residents and work on their behalf with facility administrators, staff, and family members to achieve a satisfactory resolution of their complaint and improve their quality of life.
At still another level, certified ombudsman engage in systems advocacy by promoting the development of resident and family councils within facilities and by informing government agencies, providers, and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities.
Throughout the state there are approximately 800 volunteers who provide residents with support and advocacy. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is always in need of more dedicated volunteers to provide this needed and beneficial service to the residents of long-term care facilities. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Broome, Chenango, Delaware, or Tioga County or are in need of the assistance of a certified ombudsman, please call 607-722-1251.
Health Insurance Information, Counseling, and Assistance Program
2016 Annual Report
Action for Older Persons’ Health Insurance Information, Counseling, and Assistance Program had is biggest year ever in 2016. We would like to thank our funders – Broome County Office for Aging, United Way of Broome County, Town of Union, City of Binghamton, and AOP members and donors. We would not be able to provide this valuable service without your support.
To learn more about 2016 program accomplishment, click here: AOP HIICAP Report 2016
Help us plan our next successful fundraiser!
We’re planning our fundraising for 2016. We would love your input. Following the link to a QUICK survey. Thank You!!
HIICAP Success in 2015!
We are very proud to have served many residents of Broome County through our HIICAP program in 2015. We also want to acknowledge our spectacular, dedicated volunteers and thank them for all they have done for us again this year.
- During the eight week (October 15-December 7) Open Enrollment period, AOP provided one-on-one counseling to 786 Medicare beneficiaries. This assistance resulted in an estimated, minimum saving in anticipated health and prescription drug costs of $899,069 for 2016. That is an average of $1143 per person. $300 more than we averaged in savings for our clients last year!
- We were also excited to discover the impact of the HIICAP program throughout 2015; the figures are staggering. We provided Medicare counseling services to 1,578 people in 2015. Providing this assistance will result in a minimum savings of $1,631,556 in health and prescription drug costs – an average of $1033 per person.
AOP Has Relocated!
In late July of 2015 AOP left it’s long time home of the Colonial Plaza (we had been in the building since December 1991)! We got rid of a little unused office space while relocating to a more central location in the County, easier for our clients in Endwell, Endicott and Vestal, while also remaining at a location with easy access for our other clients by remaining right on the line of Binghamton and Vestal. Our new address is 200 Plaza Drive Suite B Vestal, NY 13850. We are happy to announce that it has a bus stop just steps from the building. AOP has gone through many changes through the years and our new move is one of them. We are excited for everyone to visit our new office space. Hope to see you all soon.
AOP Needs Volunteers to Continue Quality Programs!
AOP is seeking volunteers for all programs. Here’s Becky providing more information on WBNG (click to be taken to WBNG’s page.) Read below for a better understanding of what volunteering for one of AOP’s programs entails.
The Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program: The HIICAP program volunteers provide unbiased information to Broome County residents on Medicare and additional insurance plans. Medicare and other insurance is a complicated and often frustrating concept. The HIICAP volunteers provide assistance, knowledge, understanding, and ultimately, peace of mind to Broome County’s Medicare Beneficiaries. All of this is in addition to the financial savings found by HIICAP volunteers, which positively impacts AOP’s clients and the community as a whole. The HIICAP program is a challenging and rewarding opportunity for eager volunteers. To quote one of our volunteers, “who needs luminosity; you could just be a HIICAP volunteer. That will keep you on your toes.”
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: The LTCOP program is searching for volunteers that are interested in becoming advocates for seniors in nursing homes or assisted living/adult care homes. AOP conducts the Ombudsman program in Broome, Delaware, and Chenango counties and is searching for volunteers in all three areas. The LTCOP volunteers visit nursing home or assisted living/adult care residents and discuss resident’s concerns. The volunteers are then able to assist the residents with any actions that need to be taken in order to provide a better living environment.
The Tech Center: The Tech Center volunteers teach classes and provide one-on-one tutoring to anyone wishing to learn more about computers, laptops, tablets, or cellphones. Many of our clients request tutoring for Facebook and Skype. This program is searching for volunteers that are confident in their skills with any of the above mentioned devices or programs. Volunteers for this program would be able to specifically state what types of technology they are comfortable assisting others with. This program is extremely important to AOP staff and members, any amount of commitment would be helpful.
Elder Friendly Business Certification: Later this spring, AOP will also be searching for volunteers to evaluate local businesses using our Elder Friendly Business criteria. These volunteers would serve as “secret shoppers” to ensure that local businesses seeking Elder Friendly certification are well equipped to accommodate the needs of seniors. This is a relatively small commitment working to ensure that needs of neighborhood seniors are met.
Not sure if it’s necessary to review your Medicare coverage annually? Here’s proof!
We are very proud to have served many residents of Broome County through our HIICAP program in 2014. We also want to acknowledge our spectacular, dedicated volunteers and thank them for all they have done for us again this year.
- During the eight week (October 15-December 7) Open Enrollment period, AOP provided one-on-one counseling to 632 Medicare beneficiaries. This assistance resulted in an estimated, minimum saving in anticipated health and prescription drug costs of $567,960 for 2015. That is an average of $898 per person. That number is more than double what we saved our clients last year!
- We were also excited to discover the impact of the HIICAP program throughout 2014; the figures are staggering. We will provide Medicare counseling services to more than 1,300 people in 2014. Providing this assistance will result in a minimum savings of $1,062,960 in health and prescription drug costs for 2015, an average of $824 per person.
Tech Center News – January 2015
AOP’s Tech Center has entered another transition period. As mentioned in previous editions of the Mature Messenger and the 2014 membership drive letter, the search for available funding to support the Tech Center has been challenging. While this has been frustrating, we also understand that resources in the community are limited and numerous challenges must be met.
For this reason, we are currently transitioning the Tech Center from a staffed program to volunteer-based program. While this step is scary, AOP has a long history of recruiting dedicated, knowledgeable, and trustworthy volunteers. We are seeking volunteers with the natural technology skills possessed by today’s younger generation, as well as senior volunteers who understand the nuances of learning to navigate computers, smartphones, and tablets later in life. Class offerings with be limited this winter while we recruit and train new volunteer teachers and tutors.
AOP now providing Long-Term Care Ombudsman services in Chenango County
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) at Action for Older Persons has been helping residents of Broome and Delaware Counties living in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living/Adult Care Homes, and Family Type Homes for many years. Whether it’s assisting with discharge challenges, mediating or finding resolutions to various issues, AOP’s Ombudsman Program staff and volunteers have been effective and diligent in their efforts to help those in need.
It is with great pride and excitement that we are happy to announce that effective January 1, 2015, Assistant Director/Program Coordinator Rebecca Bradley will take over the LTCOP program responsibilities in Chenango County as well. During the past few weeks, Rebecca has been traveling to Chenango County to meet current program volunteers and visiting the various facilities to ensure everyone is aware of the upcoming change.
NONE of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the LTCOP volunteers in Broome, Delaware, and Chenango Counties. As always, the LTCOP program will continue to work for those that matter most, our residents.
If you or a loved one resides in one of these facilities and would like to speak to the Program Coordinator or the appropriate volunteer, feel free to contact Action for Older Persons at 607-722-1251.
AOP’s Educational Material
“The ABCs of Long-Term Care” – Offers a closer look at two important topics in long-term care: the various levels of care, and how to pay for care.
“Preparing Now for Future Health Care Emergencies” – Everyone age 18 and older should have advance directive forms in place. Understand why you need directives and how to go about getting your forms completed.
“The Blueprint for Home Safety And Security” – Fraud and Identity theft are very real threats to your home security. Find out how to spot a scam, and steps you can take to protect yourself.
PLEASE NOTE: A broadband connection is required to view these videos. Video files are large and may take a few moments to load, please be patient.