World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, and Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) and the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce have partnered to host a special presentation concerning the ensuing problem. The SOMC Healthy Exchange Abuse will be Wednesday, June 15, from 8-9 a.m. at the Portsmouth Welcome Center.
The healthy exchange will include two speakers, Dr. Ron Miller, SOMC Emergency Medicine program director, and Portsmouth Police Chief Rob Ware. Hope Blizzard, a medical liaison at SOMC, said Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a worldwide problem.
“June 15th is Elder Abuse Awareness Day, worldwide, and we are just incorporating this very important topic into our monthly Healthy Exchange seminar,”Blizzard said. “Unfortunately, elder abuse is happening and it is happening at a growing rate, even in our local area. We provide a physician or a nurse practitioner from SOMC to speak each month and they are basically free, educational presentations for the public.
“We have someone either from administration, or from our medical team at SOMC, which will be Dr. Miller. We also have community members to come and speak, who this month happens to be Chief of Portsmouth Police Rob Ware. The focus this month is World Elder Abuse Awareness.”
Miller will speak from 8-8:30 a.m., and Ware will speak from 8:30-9 a.m,. on ‘Avoiding Financial Exploitation.’
“It is happening physically and that is what Dr. Miller is going to be talking about during his portion of the discussion. He (Miller) is going to be talking about signs of physical elder abuse that people need to be aware of,” Blizzard said. “Chief Ware will talk about how the elderly are abused financially. He (Ware) will actually give a brief class on how to avoid the financial abuse of elderly. This could be by someone that an elderly person doesn’t know or it could be by a family member.”
She said there are some elder citizens who may or may not realize they are being abused.
“Unfortunately, in our area, there are elderly that are being abused and taken advantage of by their own family members,” Blizzard said. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that if you have a neighbor that is 65 or 70 years or more of age, they could suffer from dementia and may have a family member that comes around them that may be stealing their checks, or their money, or taking advantage of them in some way, and they may not realize they are being taken advantage of, or they may be too afraid to do something about it. So this event will provide necessary information to either avoid, or do something about elder abuse.”
On a positive note, at the end of Ware’s presentation, Ware will recognize and reward 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 is Jonas Cooper and second place is Abigail Puckett. Both Cooper and Puckett are junior high school students at East Portsmouth Elementary School, and their teacher is Kristen Wawro.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.