SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: To know elder abuse is to stop it

Maureen Wendt

June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Month. With the growing global population of elderly people and as longevity increases, abuse of the elderly is an increasing and serious problem that affects health and human rights and can cause death. So, it is vital to raise awareness of it and thus prevent whenever and wherever possible.

Elder abuse comes in many forms, including: physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse, as well as neglect. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to abuse and to being unable to defend themselves and get help as fear and infirmity can be major barriers to seeking and getting help. Sometimes, spotting and challenging abuse in the elderly isn't easy.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Month highlights the danger of elder abuse and what can be done to prevent it and what to do if it is suspected.

Locally, a public forum will be held on Friday, June 28th at Lockport Town Hall, 6560 Dysinger Road, from 10 a.m. to  noon, sponsored by the Niagara County Council on Elder Abuse in collaboration with the Niagara County Office for the Aging. The event will spotlight current scams and how they affect older adults and their families in our community.

The presenters on the panel include state Sen. Robert Ortt, state Assembly Member Mike Norris, Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek, Niagara County Undersheriff Mike Filicetti, Center for Elder Law and Justice representative Melissa Woods, Cornerstone Federal Credit Union representative Rebekah Dash, Better Business Bureau representative Kelsey Rebmann and AT&T representative Kevin Hanna.

The topics that presenters will be covering include scams by phone, email and mail. Some of the big scams that are increasing in frequency now are the Grandparent Scam, Sweetheart Scam and IRS Scam. Attendees will also learn about "red flags" to look for, where to report a scam, and who can help them if they are scammed.

There will also be an attorney/paralegal team on hand to provide "done in a day" legal assistance for people 60 and older as well as general information about the Center for Elder Law and Justice's services. Resources will be available from all the Elder Abuse Council members and light refreshments will be served.

Please consider attending this important public forum.


Maureen A. Wendt is president and CEO of The Dale Association, a non-profit organization that provides senior, mental health, in-home care, caregiver support services and enrichment activities for adults. For more information, call 433-1937 or visit .