When Carol Adams, a 47-year-old Albany woman was indicted by a grand jury in April on a manslaughter charge for starving her 78-year-old mother, Beth Adams, people reacted with shock.
In fact, there are up to 1.8 million abused seniors in the United States each year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Only one in 14 domestic elder abuse incidents come to the attention of authorities.
“It’s certainly a topic that isn’t often discussed,” said Lisa Smith, director of the Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program for Rensselaer County based at Samaritan Hospital. “It’s one of society’s ugly secrets.”
In an effort to help call attention to the problem, The Eddy has recently started The Eddy Haven for Abused Elderly — a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region and only the third such program in the nation to target the prevention and intervention of elder abuse.
The Eddy Haven for Abused Elderly will serve individuals generally 60 years of age or older who reside in Albany and Rensselaer counties. The program will offer a variety of comprehensive, coordinated community resources designed to care for and advocate for victims of elder abuse who need to leave their homes.
Services may include a short-term safe residence at an undisclosed location, nursing and home care, counseling and legal advocacy, case management and referral to other support services.
The Eddy Haven program will work closely with law enforcement officials and offer special training sessions to officers who are often the first to spot and respond to abusive situations. The network also plans to reach out to area health care professionals, those who care for seniors, and seniors themselves to increase awareness of the issue.
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