Sunday July 1, 2012

NORTH ADAMS -- State Representative Gailanne Car i ddi of North Adams will hold a press conference to bring greater awareness in the First Berkshire District on Elder Abuse and Prevention Efforts on Monday at 10 a.m. at the Spitzer Center.

Cariddi will present information on the issue. She will be joined by Mayor Alcombright, who will have a city proclamation. Many of the senior center directors in North Berkshire who work daily to assist older persons to live healthy and safe lives will also attend. Lt. Sacco of the North Adams Police Department will speak on the subject, as well as others.

Elder abuse is when an individual physically, financially, emotionally or sexually harms, assaults or exploits an elderly person. Neglect is also another form of abuse, where an individual fails to provide adequate care for an elderly person.

Anyone can and should report elder abuse whenever it is witnessed or suspected. If the elder is in immediate danger, you should call 911. The Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline number is to report abuse: 1-800-922-2275.

When you contact the hotline, you will need to provide information on the elderly victim, the type of abuse, caregiver’s name and contact information (if applicable) and other pertinent information regarding the case.

Calls made to the hotline can be made confidential. Neither the elder nor the caregiver will be told your name.

At the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Protective Services received more than 18,000 reports of abuse in 2011 -- an increase from the year before. Among the reasons for the escalating rates of abuse and neglect are the economic challenges and the isolation of seniors. There are always unscrupulous people who will prey on older people who seem vulnerable.