By Frank Lewis
Two area junior high students, Garrett Daniels and Haley Collins, picked up gift cards for their essays on the elderly person who has been an influence on each of their lives, during a ceremony at Scioto County Department of Job and Family Services Tuesday morning sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging, District 7 and the Adult Protective Task Force — a volunteer group founded in 1993 by Kaye Inoshita of AAA-7.
“Today is a culmination of a lot of discussions about the problems in the community with the elderly with fraud and exploitation,” Rita Prose, a social worker at Hill View Retirement Center, who conceived the idea, said. “We kind of feel like a lot of it is because people don’t realize how important the elderly people are or how badly some of them are treated.”
Prose said it was the organizers idea that if they could instill respect for the elderly in their homes and schools, and allow students to translate that into essays, it could have the effect of children and families gaining more respect for those people.
“This was the whole purpose, drawing attention in a positive way and getting people to think about how things could be better than they are right now for our elderly people,” Prose said. “There are many right now who are just not having a good life and some of it is just these social problems that exist.”
Inoshita said June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day as well as Ohio Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. The numbers show in 2008 the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recorded over 16,000 incidents of adult abuse, neglect and/or exploitation.
“Kaye has really been our leader through it,” Prose said. “A lot of us have been on the Task Force for quite a long time. We probably have 25 or so people who are dedicated to this and every month we meet and discuss these things and try to figure out ways to solve things in the community and make it better.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.