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AARP Maine Broadens Elder Abuse Awareness

HEALTH CARE PATIENT

— Marc Solomon/Getty Images

AARP Maine has teamed up with Maine Triads to help spread the word on Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention.

In a recent project, AARP helped to develop and produce a laminated palm card that has the toll-free number for reporting suspected cases of adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Maine, and describes the role of Adult Protective Services.

Maine Triads, along with AARP, will be distributing the cards to frontline emergency responders, including law enforcement officials, and community service organizations who serve older adults.

For those who are unfamiliar with Triads, they are community organizations made up of senior volunteers and community organizations who work to assist law enforcement to help keep safe in their communities. The idea for the palm card came from a Maine Triad volunteer who learned how useful such a resource could be when she was a volunteer in Massachusetts. This volunteer tells how she provided the elder abuse hotline number to someone who told her she was concerned about an elderly neighbor. She later learned that a call had been made and officials who had investigated the complaint found an elderly women being held captive in her attic by a relative.

Each year more than 12,000 Mainers are victims of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. It is predicted that this number will increase as the aging population expands over the course of the next 20 years. This palm card serves as a quick reference tool for victims, mandated reporters, and law enforcement officers, for when they encounter suspected cases of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in the community.

“With the holidays are right around the corner, family members are more opt to be visiting older relatives and friends and may be in a situation where they suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation,” noted Greg Cross, AARP Maine Community Outreach Director. “Having the knowledge of Adult Protective Services and knowing how to access to the hotline may assist individuals in reporting suspected cases and may also help to lower the likelihood of elder abuse from occurring in the future.”

If anyone suspects that an older adult is being abused in their community, they should immediately contact the APS Hotline at 1-800-624-8404 to report the case.

If you would like to receive a palm card for yourself and/or for other members of your community or community organizations, contact AARP Maine via email at aarpme@aarp.org.    

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