How to Keep Yourself and Loved Ones Safe from Elder Abuse
By Lauren Guynn, Executive Director for Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County
Today, June 15, 2020, is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. At Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County, we promote and support independent lifestyles for adults 55+ in our community. It is important for us to acknowledge the unfortunate reality that older adults, much like children, are at a higher rate for victimization of abuse. The Indiana Council Against Senior Exploitation (IN-CASE) reports that nearly 16% of people 60+ are a victim of elder abuse.
Our community partner, Prevail, has a great blog about the types of elder abuse you can read here (link to blog). Prevail offers crisis intervention and restorative support services for adult, adolescent and child survivors of crime and abuse, which includes elder abuse. Since they did a great job of describing elder abuse, I want to focus in on how Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County can help you keep yourself and loved ones safe.
Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County’s newest program is our Guardianship Program. This program allows SCHC to serve as the court-appointed legal guardian of incapacitated adults in Hamilton County and helps those adults through trained Volunteer Advocates.
It promotes the dignity of a person who no longer has the capacity to make major life decisions by helping them find the least-restrictive assistance that also prioritizes their best interest, safety, and self-determination.
By offering this type of support, adults with limited decisional capacity in one or more areas of their life as determined by the court could benefit from the Guardianship Program as a means of helping them make decisions based on their own best interests and preferences. This ensures they are not put at risk for being a victim of elder abuse. For more information about our program, please click here. (link to Guardianship page)
Reaching Resources offers adults 55+ and their caregivers with connections to all resources related to aging. Our Reaching Resources Coordinators meet with an older adult and/or their caregivers in their home to complete a full intake assessment. Then, the Coordinators connect the older adults with any resources that may help them improve their quality of like, maintain their independence, and prevent isolation. This program is completely free to anyone in this age group in Hamilton County.
Through Reaching Resources, we can help people proactively age in place safely. By working on financial and legal issues before they arise, it is a great way to prevent and reduce the potential victimization for abuse. The other unfortunate statistic is that 90% of older adults are victimized by someone they know (IN-CASE). By connecting the older adult and their loved ones with more resources and supports, it reduces the potential for stressful caregiving situations. To find out more about Reaching Resources, please click here.
Our Community Caring program links background checked volunteers with older adults in our community that are financially fragile, physically disabled, or struggling with a chronic health issue. The volunteers offer transportation assistance, help with cleaning and organization, friendly visits, phone pals, and more. This volunteer support helps older adults age in place safely and maintains their independence.
Community Caring volunteers offer safe support to ensure seniors are not overburdening family and friends. They also help reduce the need for older adults to seek outside sources for assistance that made subject them to victimization, like unlicensed care companies. To find out more about Community Caring, please click here.
Together Today is a social program for adults 55+ in Hamilton County. Each weekday one of our groups meets at different locations around the county. The sole purpose of this program is to ensure older adults reduce their isolation. It is a safe space for seniors to meet others in their same life stage to have fun and socialize. Together Today Lead Volunteers are present during the entire program to offer support and connect seniors with each other. This allows seniors to connect with others in a safe environment. To find out more about Together Today, please click here.
If you would like to learn more about any of these programs, please call us at 317-674-8777. We would be happy to get you connected with help to keep you and your loved ones safe.