By Kay Kaylor
As the part-time long-term care ombudsman for Archuleta County, I advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. Federal and state laws protect residents to promote quality of care and quality of life.
Saturday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, promoted by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), a resource and research center and other partners focused on aging. The intent is to build strong support in communities for elders, who are faced with stereotypes that prevent them from aging with dignity and honor.
“Older people are vital, contributing members of American society and their maltreatment diminishes all of us,” the NCEA states.
The NCEA, established in 1988, is part of the Administration on Aging and became part of the Older Americans Act in 1992. In a flyer about scams, the NCEA suggests constructing “community supports and human services for family caregivers and older adults to alleviate risk factors tied to elder abuse like ageism (bias against older adults in our culture) or social isolation.”
Pagosa Springs is no exception to the problems of elder abuse. At the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, I regularly learn from neighbors and others about elders living in isolation, becoming victims of telephone and health care scams, and subject to self-neglect and financial exploitation. As noted in prior columns, such community members, if they survive, might then have no recourse but to live in nursing homes under Medicaid and possibly subject to public guardianship.
This is a call to Archuleta County residents and leaders to find ways to provide community support and a sense of belonging to all citizens.
For further information, please call me at 403-2164 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kay Kaylor