Elder Abuse Awareness –  Ways to make a difference in an elder’s life

 

The Department of Justice observed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Thursday, June 15, 2017. 180TLA wants to recognize the profound need for this awareness and share with our community what this means and how we respond to this issue in our organization. As the leading and designated agency in Monmouth County for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and human trafficking, 180TLA has positioned its mission to be most effective in supporting those vulnerable to these crimes. We are supported by trained, world class volunteers and by our professional staff with years of deep experience. The domestic violence victims whom we serve include all members of a family that are victims of violence that occurred in their homes. Think about the pain that occurs when a person is victimized by someone who is both in their home, where they should feel and be the safest, but is also someone that is in a close relationship with them. This is the irony and the tragedy that elders often face when abused by someone in their homes.  Most of us believe that our closest relationships or family should also bring us safety and comfort. When those relationships are broken by their most intimate relations, particularly because they are already vulnerable, seniors suffer the unthinkable and can become victims of physical abuse, psychological or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. Their defenses are down, their world is broken and they are in need of support from agencies like 180TLA and the law.

There is help and there is hope.  Both come from raising the level of awareness of Elder Abuse so that these victims do not suffer in silence; and, the crimes against them, such as psychological and financial crimes, which can be hidden more readily that some others, are brought out into the open where supportive people, family and community members can be effective in stopping the abuse. As the United States Department of Justice notes, “far too many older Americans are suffering in the shadows.”

The Department of Justice is working on multiple fronts to protect elders from abuse and to raise the level of awareness throughout the country.  They have also launched 10 regional Elder Justice Task Forces across the country “to enhance the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to work together to combat elder financial fraud and to pursue those nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care to their Medicare and Medicaid residents.”  In the home, some elders are also in danger of financial abuse from their caretakers. Family members should be aware of these crimes and share their concern with appropriate authorities.  Studies show that elders suffer physically and are put in harm’s way when the crimes against them are financial fraud and abuse. This leads to both higher rates of hospitalization and mortality.

180 has supported victims of elder abuse.  We have sheltered them in our Safe House. We have supported them in their efforts to be free of the abuse and live their lives in the peace that we all expect is our due when we’re older.  Connecting elders to the people and resources they need to be free of abuse opens a new lease on life for them. If you want more information on elder abuse go to Elder Justice website: www.elderjustice.gov.  If you need support for yourself or an elder call 180 at our toll-free number:  1.888.843.9262.   We’re here to help you in Monmouth County 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many people will experience being vulnerable at least once in their lives. Helping them and showing them how to help themselves during these times is a genuinely kind and humane way to be a part of your community.

Elder Abuse Day proclamation:  https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-observes-world-elder-abuse-awareness-day

Our First Thanksgiving at the new Safe House

Dear Friends of 180,
It’s our first Thanksgiving at the new Safe House – how blessed we are this year! Thanks to your support, our families are celebrating together. They are planning the menu as I write this note to you – and setting a special table, one that for the first time in 40 years, is large enough to accommodate all of them for this gathering. They will take turns at the stove while pausing to watch each other’s children – telling stories and sharing traditions. We have a newborn baby girl with us this Thanksgiving and a toddler who is just learning how to walk. The teens will be playing video games in the Game Room as the aroma of freshly baked pies fill the home that you helped us to build. Our families are so grateful for this home – a true safe haven to protect them this Thanksgiving Season. What a blessing for them to be among others who, like them, have taken the brave steps needed to turn their life around after years of abuse and violence. There is a profound sense of strength and hope that results from going through the same life challenges and overcoming them too.
This is our family. Parts of this Thanksgiving celebration may sound a lot like yours. Although our families will never celebrate together again, we all share the special bonds of family. Soon our families will leave us to start anew….each going in a different direction to begin a life free of violence and abuse. And for this we are especially grateful. I know you are too.
It is in this spirit of Thanksgiving, that 180 is especially thankful to you for your many gifts of support throughout the year that enable moments like this to take place. On behalf of the Monmouth County families and children that 180 serves, please accept our sincere thanks and best wishes for a peaceful Thanksgiving with your family.
With warm regards,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director