Wednesday, June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Southern Ohio Medical Center ( SOMC) worked in conjunction with Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce to host a Healthy Exchange session with Dr. Ron Miller of SOMC and Portsmouth Police Chief Rob Ware as guest speakers.
As cases of elder abuse continue to increase, Miller, Emergency Medical Program director of SOMC, and Portsmouth Chief of Police Rob Ware, dispensed a wealth of knowledge and information use to combat the growing problem in the local community at the Welcome Center. Miller said the basis of his presentation was the level of impact elder abuse has upon the local community.
“We discussed the issue of elder abuse, and its level of impact upon our community, and the impact that it will have as our population ages,” Miller said. “We talked about the different types of elder abuse that are prevalent in our community, and how we can help them. Mostly, it is to shine a light on the problem, most people know that it is there, and that it is a problem, but then as a group we can start formulating a plan on how to fix it.
Ware spoke extensively about avoiding financial exploitation. He said the sooner the signs of elder abuse are detected, the better elders are in the long run.
“I think that it is critically important that we educate the public on the signs of elder abuse,” Ware said. “As I stated before, things fly under the radar and are so subtle, that if you don’t have the professional community looking out for elders, is of the utmost important. The sooner we notice and know how to detect the signs, the sooner we are able to catch the culprits, before the life savings of an elder is wiped out.”
At the conclusion of the presentations Ware recognized and presented award the winning students of a local essay contest that was held by the Scioto County Elder Abuse Task Force. The students were asked to write about an elderly adult who has made a difference in their life, what they were able to learn from that particular adult and what they do for them to show appreciation.
The first place winner of the essay contest was Jonas Cooper who wrote about his grandfather. Cooper received a $100 gift car. Second place was Abigail Puckett, who wrote about her grandmother. Puckett received a $50 gift card. Both Cooper and Puckett are junior high school students at East Portsmouth Elementary School, and their teacher is Kristen Wawro.
Wawro, said both Cooper and Puckett are talented students who she is proud of.
“They are both very good writers, and it is really nice for them to write about people that are extremely important to them, and I am very proud of their accomplishments,”Wawro said.
Hope Blizzard, medical staff liaison of SOMC, said discussing elder abuse is critical.
“I think that it is very important to bring to light the issue of elder abuse and financial abuse and the different types of elder abuse in the world,” Blizzard said. “I also admire how this younger generation is coming up, and all of the positive things that they are learning from their elders so I think it was a happy end
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.