by Julie Randolph, Care Coordination Manager
Imagine you live alone, do not drive, and days go by without receiving visitors or calls from those you know.
Imagine when the phone or doorbell does ring it is someone you do not know who is making statements showing interest in your wellbeing. As time goes by this person requests personal information or asks you to do favors for them, such as mailing a package or sending gift cards.
Imagine you receive a frantic call demanding immediate payment of funds and secrecy to prevent harm to a loved one.
Imagine the regret of discovering a scam after handing over thousands of your hard-earned dollars.
Imagine dreading each day because of harassing and haunting phone calls.
Imagine you are able to resist the requests but as a result receive multiple calls per day from the person continuing to pursue you and suggesting the loss of valuable possessions if you do not participate.
Imagine receiving assistance from a caregiver for food and bathing who frequently becomes angry and harsh with you.
Imagine being afraid or embarrassed to report mistreatment by a family member because of consequences they could face, or because of repercussions you could face.
Imagine reaching out for help after a phone scam has occurred and discovering that law enforcement cannot provide assistance because they cannot determine where the calls are coming from.
These are examples of situations that occur in our area. It is the hope and mission of Senior Services to work in collaboration with our clients and community as a defense against abuse and to foster integrity and safety.
We can start by bringing people together to prevent isolation and take part in caregiver support. We can change the current passive mindset and the current permissive response. We can do more than “pray somebody steps in.” It starts with us:
- Stay active in your neighborhood and stay involved in your community
- Develop awareness of, and connection with, vulnerable adults in your life
- Reach out to people you know, even if only by phone
- Volunteer at local agencies who serve older adults
- Provide a helping hand to a caregiver
- Take care of your own mental health
Be aware, speak up, and actively engage in social justice and public policy changes for:
- Cultivating awareness through focused public education
- Adequately fund and reform community human services such as Adult Protective Services
- Holding the telecommunication industry responsible for tracking scammers and disabling their telecommunication tools
- Pursuing and prosecuting scammers for the terror they instill in vulnerable adults
- Making mental healthcare readily available and affordable
- Increasing access to public transportation designed for those with mobility, vision, or hearing impairments, including door to vehicle service to avoid isolation
- Simplifying access to legal advice and service
Senior Services is here to serve you. Come to one of our five Activity and Dining Centers to engage with others. Become a volunteer. Call if you are a caregiver in need of support. Together we can empower our community so that no one is vulnerable and alone. Reach out by calling 989-633-3700 for more information.