Press Conference to Commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

In recognition of the 9th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Bristol Elder Services, Inc. and the Southeastern Alliance for Elders (SAFE) will hold a press conference on elder abuse.  The event will kick off a year- long educational campaign to help raise awareness of elder abuse.  The press conference will be held at Bristol Elders Services, 1 Father DeValles Blvd., Fall River, MA on June 10, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.

Free caregiver bracelets will be distributed at the event with the goal of helping to prevent possible neglect situations from occurring.  The bracelets are imprinted with the message “I Keep Someone SAFE Who Needs Care” and are accompanied by a card with emergency contact information.  The bracelets are for anyone who is a caregiver for someone who requires care and serves as an alert to first responders, medical personnel and other professionals.  The Southeastern Massachusetts Region of the Alzheimer’s Association will speak about Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver stress and resources that are available in the community. As the population ages, the number of people over the age of 60 requiring care increases, as does the number of caregivers.  Alzheimer’s disease affects over five million Americans.  In Massachusetts alone, there are over 120,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease. 

SAFE is an elder justice coalition formed by Bristol Elder Services and other community agencies.  Bristol Elder Services is the local resource for seniors who are abused, neglected, exploited, or self-neglecting.  The agency is responsible for protective services in the twenty-three communities of the greater Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton areas.  SAFE’s mission is to prevent and eliminate abuse of elders.

Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter will also offer remarks. District Attorney Sutter’s office maintains the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting all criminal cases involving elder abuse through its Special Victims Unit. In addition to prosecution, District Attorney Sutter is a member of the SAFE coalition and engages in elder abuse prevention efforts year round. “As I have said many times, our highest priority at the District Attorney’s Office is the protection of our county’s most vulnerable – our children and our seniors. We are dedicated to these pursuits and see great value in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day because it brings needed attention to this issue. Crimes against those who have the fewest resources and least ability to keep themselves safe are the most intolerable. Through education we can help seniors to recognize signs of abuse and empower them to take steps to prevent it.” 

Bristol Elder Services has received more than 2,300 elder abuse reports since July 1, 2013.  If you have cause to believe that you or someone you know who is sixty or older is being abused, neglected, or exploited, there is help.  Call Bristol Elder Services at 508-675-2101 to file a confidential report.  After normal business hours, reports may be filed with the statewide Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275.  You may also call Bristol Elder Services for more information about SAFE at 508-675-2101.

Jennifer Dias-Rezendes, Protective Services Clinical Director
Bristol Elder Services, (774) 627-1327, J.Dias-Rezendes@bristolelder.org

Cecelia M. Porche, Director of Community Affairs
Bristol District Attorney’s Office, (508) 961-1984, Cecelia.m.porche@state.ma.us