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Category: NCEA Blog

  • LGBT Community Stands Strong Against Isolation during COVID-19

    As the nation began to take shelter at home during the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic, SAGE (the national advocacy and services organization for LGBT older adults) knew that older LGBT people would be at increased risk of isolation. Up until this time, there was a heavy reliance on in-person programming through SAGE Centers, Affiliate, and LGBT community centers across the country to reach older LGBT people. Remaining in contact with an already isolated older adult community became a number one priority for SAGE. The response from SAGE was swift. Within a week of the SAGE headquarters closing the office and centers in New York City, a team of

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  • Good Neighbor Program: A Law Enforcement Program Worth Replicating

    The role of law enforcement is not just about kicking down doors and arresting criminals.  It is also about protecting one of our most vulnerable populations.  Seniors have greatly contributed to society, worked full careers, raised families, assisted with grandchildren, helped their aging parents; and are now slowing down.  They deserve our attention, respect and the protection of our law enforcement. This was the impetus for the Douglas County Sherriff’s office designing the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) Good Neighbor Program. The program began with one volunteer and one client in January 2017, today, there are 45 volunteers and we have processed about 183 clients. A background checked volunteer is

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  • Hollywood’s Spotlight on Guardianship

    This weekend I watched Netflix’s latest production “I Care A Lot” a story depicting a harrowing fictional journey into the dark side of our guardianship/conservatorship system.  The film follows a court-appointed guardian who seizes the assets of elderly people for her own, until she seizes the wrong person.  My family members watching this with me were incredulous, “Surely this can’t happen, someone cannot just be ripped from their home and their belongings and their rights!” So, I paused the movie and gave them a brief overview of the guardianship system and that led to this blog post.  Being part of the National Center on Elder Abuse, NCEA, I am privy

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  • Social Work and Elder Justice: A Mutually Essential Relationship

    As a college student, when I started working with older people, elder abuse was far from my mind. Over time, though, I realized that elder abuse was a widespread problem. Decades later, elder justice has become a central focus of my macro-level work at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to enhance social work practice with and social policy affecting older adults. NCEA and NASW are currently celebrating Social Work Month with the theme Social Workers Are Essential. I believe this theme has two equally important implications for elder abuse: one, that social workers are essential to the elder justice movement; and two, that working to prevent and address

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  • HONORING BONNIE BRANDL AND RISA BRECKMAN: STARS IN THE FIELD OF ELDER ABUSE

    I was a star gazer growing up, looking up at the sky on clear nights, noticing the formations above me. In doing so, I was struck by the concept of “twin stars”, born in the same stellar nursery, flung out on their own into the galaxy, to remain apart but never far away. From my perspective, Bonnie Brandl and Risa Breckman are like twin stars, with common beginnings, but each shining in her own space, coming together at times, as binary pairs might, but always with unique perspectives and contributions to offer. What this has meant for the field of elder abuse is something bright and beautiful, and often transformative.

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  • Scams That Come to Life After Death

    Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Ray Mendoza [i] was shopping at a local Target when he suddenly grew dizzy and lost consciousness. Paramedics took him to the hospital, where he remained comatose in intensive care for over two weeks. The 56-year-old married father of three girls had suffered back-to-back strokes and lost all brain function before succumbing to his injuries. In the days after Ray’s death, as the family mourned the monumental loss, they were compelled to navigate COVID-based restrictions on funeral services and interment delays. No doubt the pandemic had unwittingly disrupted the natural grieving process and observance of the religious traditions the family held dear. Yet, it was the

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  • Name that Tune! – Integrating Music into Senior Fraud Education

    For those entrusted to engage older adult communities in safety awareness and education, the limitations set by COVID have presented providers with a multitude of challenges to carrying out their mission. Through various meetings and discussions with colleagues, it seems clear that these challenges are widespread throughout urban communities and rural communities alike. Adjusting outreach approaches, and learning by trial and error, has certainly been the case for our Elder Abuse Prevention Program covering Los Angeles County.   In the absence of in-person events, the challenges to online programming have been 3-fold. Seniors may lack the resources needed to acquire internet connection/devices, may lack familiarity with the technology used to facilitate

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  • Elder Mistreatment on the Streets

    Through much of the past year, COVID-19 has unleashed unprecedented harms and exacerbated preexisting hardships for older adults worldwide. One particularly devastating effect of the contagion has been the descent of older adults at the economic margins into poverty and increased threat of homelessness. Prior to the pandemic, the aging homeless population in the United States was on the rise.[i] The coronavirus has placed them in an even more precarious position. Older adults who experience homelessness are projected to more than double by 2050.[ii] While many in the older cohort have lived on the streets for a generation and aged into chronic homelessness,[iii] a majority are now experiencing homelessness for

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  • Finding Support in the Midst of a Tempest

    For most of us, the events of the past few months have infused our lives with a discomfiting sense of instability and uncertainty. Collectively, we are responding to pandemic-induced fear and loss, and confronting systemic racial injustice wrought from centuries of structural oppressions imposed on the African American community. On an individual level, each of us navigates our own personal trials. Yet, within the landscape of our various complicated lives, sometimes an incident can jog us out of our respective worlds and lend insight and meaning to the moment. Nearly four months ago, during the NCEA’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities and “Lifting up Voices” campaign, Art Mason, Director

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  • Supporting our Elder Community: COVID-19 and the Fight Against Loneliness

    Our grandmother lives in a bustling retirement community and, before COVID-19, she had a thriving social life. She often had visitors over to her apartment, loved to go to the gym with her friends, and took the bus to the supermarket every week. Because of her compromised immune system, when COVID-19 arose in March, her doctor told her that she needed to self-isolate. So, she stopped leaving her apartment and began calling her friends rather than seeing them in person, and following yoga routines on YouTube. While she kept busy, it was clear that she was getting lonely. Our grandmother is not alone. Since seniors with COVID-19 have higher hospitalization and mortality rates, many have

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Special Thanks to Judith D. Tamkin

We are sincerely appreciative to Judith D. Tamkin for her gift to help establish the USC Center on Elder Mistreatment’s website. Her deep and personal commitment to eradicating elder abuse is helping to reshape our understanding of elder abuse and ultimately save innumerable older adults from abuse and neglect.