Elder abuse awareness workshop Nov. 15 at The Commons
DOVER-FOXCROFT — Anyone who suspects someone they know may be a victim of elder abuse or would like to know more about the topic and how to help is invited to a free elder abuse awareness and response workshop from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 15 at The Commons at Central Hall, 152 East Main Street.
Catherine Reed of Partners for Peace — an agency working to provide information and support to anyone affected by abuse and domestic violence throughout Penobscot and Piscataquis counties — said the organization was approached by the Brunswick-based Elder Abuse Institute of Maine about co-hosting the workshop. She said the Elder Abuse Institute is working with domestic violence prevention groups across the state on sessions to help educate the public.
Community volunteers, social service agency staff, medical providers, law enforcement and faith community members are encouraged to attend the Nov. 15 workshop, and they will learn what elder abuse is, the signs, resources available to help victims and families and what attendees can do to help someone affected.
“It impacts anyone whether you are a professional or community member,” Reed said. She mentioned some medical providers have mandated reporting guidelines and others taking part in the workshop can learn resources to share with those impacted by elder abuse.
“There is going to be a wide range of speakers,” Reed said, mentioning legal services for senior citizens and law enforcement as examples. “We really want people to come so they can learn more and find out who these service providers are. They can build connections and relationships with people who do this kind of work every day.”
“I think it’s a much needed topic and I hope there is interest,” she said, saying in addition to the workshop being free there will also be food provided.
During the workshop organization process Reed said Elder Abuse Institute of Maine Director of Community Engagement Chris Wolff pointed out an example of watching for elder abuse. Wolff said a resident may notice a member of their church congregation has suddenly stopped coming, and while this does not necessarily indicate elder abuse it could be worth checking on.
“There are all sorts of things we want people to think about,” Reed said. “We don’t want people to assume there is abuse but we would like them to be able to have a non-judgemental conservation asking if they are safe in the space they are living in.”
“Financial abuse, exploitation, emotional abuse and neglect, these are the types of things that can make this a challenge for people to reach out,” Reed said. She said seeking help can be especially scary if the abuser is a caretaker and/or family member.
“They know these people are their children or partners and it’s not just black and white, they have to think about ‘what will happen to them if I say something,?’” Reed said.
“One of the great things about this region is that people care and want to know ‘how I can be a supportive community member?,’” she said.
“Partners for Peace advocates will be there as well as other community partners for a great opportunity to network and connect,” Reed said.
For more information on the free Nov. 15 elder abuse awareness and response workshop please call 712-8551. Registration can be done at http://bit.ly/DFElderAbuse.