Friday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. By raising awareness of the issue, our goal is to send the message to people dealing with elder abuse that they are not alone, and that our community cares.

The Androscoggin County Elder Abuse Task Force is a community partnership dedicated to ending elder abuse, generating resources, educating the community and advocating to meet the needs of elder abuse victims. The Task Force works to achieve this mission by providing educational programming for seniors and service providers, and raising awareness of the issue in the larger community.

There are an estimated 12,000 cases of elder abuse in Maine each year, most of which go unreported. Maine has the oldest population of any state in the nation — 19 percent are beyond the age of 60. Each year there are more than 14,000 calls to Adult Protective Services.

Elder abuse comes in many forms and is not always physical, sometimes making it more difficult to determine and therefore seek advocacy, services and help. Abuse can be physical, emotional or financial and can also manifest as neglect, especially if an elder is being cared for by family or caretakers.

Aging in general can cause stress, financial strain and changes in social dynamics to the person who is aging, as well as all of the people caring and close to that individual. The changes are not always easy and can happen quickly if there is sudden illness or injury; or can happen more slowly over time as mind and body age.

Becoming informed of the resources in the community can be a first step in preventing elder abuse and neglect. If people know what resources might be available to them or a family member who is aging, they might be more informed to make decisions, feel less overwhelmed and know where and when to ask for help.

We can all be advocates for the seniors of Maine — by being informed, speaking out if we suspect a person is being abused or neglected and knowing where to seek services. If you or someone you know has questions about services available, you can start by calling 211. The 211 hotline helps older adults and persons with disabilities in Maine by providing referrals to, and information about, health and human services organizations and agencies.

One agency that provides a wide variety of services is Tri-County Mental Health Services. Tri-County offers hope to the people of Maine by providing trauma-informed, integrated services that promote whole health and wellness. We provide services to individuals and families across the life span, assessing needs and strengths of the people seeking our services. You can call and make a referral for services at Tri-County by calling 1-888-304-4673. We offer services out of offices in Lewiston, Bridgton, Oxford, Rumford and Farmington.

In addition, the Androscoggin County Elder Abuse Task Force will be hosting its 9th annual Senior Resource Fair on Thursday, June 14, in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The resource fair will feature a variety of speakers on topics including financial safety, personal safety and wellness, with a keynote address on crimes against elders by Andrew Robinson, District Attorney for District 3. There will also be information tables from local organizations that work with seniors. The Senior Resource Fair is being held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.Thursday, June 14, at the East Auburn Baptist Church, 560 Park Ave., Auburn. The fair is free and open to the public but registration is required. Contact Kelley at 207-795-6744 to sign up. A free lunch and morning refreshments will be provided. This year’s resource fair is sponsored by Seniors Plus, Community Credit Union, the Maine Long-term Care Ombudsman Office, Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter, and the Auburn Housing Authority.

Jesica Michaud is an occupational therapist and the manager of residential services and intensive community based programs at Tri-County Mental Health Services. She also serves as a member of the Androscoggin County Elder Abuse Task Force.

Jesica Michaud


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