World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On that day, communities in the USA and all over the world will sponsor events to highlight solutions to this systemic social challenge. LifePath is proud to participate in this national conversation.

We appreciate the worldwide efforts to focus on telling the stories of older adults to highlight the importance of social connectedness and the structures necessary to support this essential feature of elder abuse prevention. You can find out more about these ideas here: Strengthening the Structure of Justice and The Five Domains of Wellbeing.

We want to use this opportunity to help highlight some important and regionally relevant connections. Community members in Franklin County and the North Quabbin are significantly impacted by addiction and elder abuse. Importantly, while substance use is a risk factor for elder abuse; access to wellbeing is a protective factor against both! We can focus on meeting goals related to wellbeing knowing that this enhances the safety of older adults and the wider community. The Full Frame Initiative (FFI) defines wellbeing as a set of needs and experiences necessary to have health and hope. FFI has identified five domains of wellbeing; social connectedness, meaningful access to relevant resources, mastery, stability and safety.

One of the ways we can foster wellbeing as a community is to recognize that while opiate misuse and addiction is linked to financial exploitation, medication mismanagement, and caregiver neglect; access to wellbeing is linked to recovery from addiction and safety from abuse. When we look at the needs and assets of our community through this lens, not only can we prevent elder abuse, but we can being to recognize and support the importance of increasing all five domains of wellbeing across our community.

LifePath’s programs help to address transportation issues, access to social and educational programs, in-home health and personal care, and caregiver support. LifePath also administers the Adult Protective Services program, which investigates and intervenes in the abuse, neglect and exploitation of people over 60.

We must create healthier and safer living environments for older adults. We can do this by strengthening social support networks, decreasing isolation, and building on the resulting enhancement of well-being. Creating and supporting resources that allow for the complicated relationships we have with each other and our unique needs is a community goal that we hope to work on together in the coming year.

If you are a community member interested in more information about how to keep older adults in our communities’ safe, please reach out to LifePath at 413-773-5555 or to explore our programs. To make a report of concern about elder abuse call 800-922-2275.

Josefa Scherer, Michelle Billings and Dean Lagrotteria are with LifePath Adult Protective Services. Rachel Broudy and Marianne Bullock are with Full Frame Initiative, Healthcare Transformation and Capacity Building.


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