State honors three local groups for fighting abuse of elderly

Three community groups have received awards from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to help their efforts to stop elder abuse.

The Public Awareness Initiative awards, including $500
each, went to the Kentucky River Council Against the Maltreatment of Elders,
the Northern Kentucky Elder Maltreatment Alliance and the Pulaski County
Elder Abuse Council
Such efforts make a difference for
Kentucky’s seniors, said Judge Timothy Feeley, deputy secretary of the cabinet. “Elder abuse and neglect has risen to such a level of
concern that these councils have become crucial resources for local education
and prevention,” he said. “Through their resourcefulness and collaborations,
their projects are teaching respect for elders and saving lives. I commend
their community efforts over the past year.”
Kentucky River CAME operates in Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher,
Owsley, Perry and Wolfe counties. In the past year, CAME has hosted a Senior
Safety and Advocacy Day, sponsored a children’s poster contest and held its second Regional Elder Abuse
Awareness Day, drawing about 300 people, dressed in elder abuse prevention T-shirts.

Another popular project was “Blowing Bubbles for Elder
Abuse.” On May 4, CAME distributed small bottles of bubbles to
elementary schools and senior centers in all eight counties. Students and
seniors all blew bubbles to raise awareness of elder abuse prevention and
encourage respect for elders.
Northern Kentucky EMA, serving Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, Kenton, Owen and
Pendleton counties, presented workshops on insurance fraud and scams, reverse-mortgage myths and
helping the rural elderly with utility bills; sponsored its annual children’s
poster contest with the theme “Why I Love My Grandparents;” and circulated fliers and training materials about reporting
procedures, types of abuse and how to avoid abuse.
In its nomination materials, the Pulaski County Elder Abuse
Council called itself “small but mighty.” 
About 100 people attended its annual conference
last August, which featured speakers on law enforcement, the legal system,
hospice care, health care and the state’s adult safety program. The council raised awareness and more than $200
through its Pumpkins on Main decorating project and provided 12 needy seniors with clothes and food at Christmas.
Kentucky received more than
30,000 calls to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of people age 60 and
older for state fiscal year 2015. State law requires reporting suspected abuse, neglect or
exploitation is the law, and it’s confidential. The toll-free reporting hotline
is 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331).
Every county has a similar council. Membership is free and open to anyone
interested in working to prevent elder abuse in his or her community. To become involved contact state liaison Stacy
Carey at 502-564-7043. Get more information about the
councils and recognizing the signs of elder abuse online at
Signs of Elder
If you believe there is imminent risk, immediately call 911 or local law
Obvious malnutrition,
Dirty and uncombed
hair; dirty and torn or climate-inappropriate clothes; or offensive body odor
Lack of glasses,
dentures or hearing aid, or lack of medical care
Recent suffering or
loss of spouse, family members or close friends
Physical Abuse
Frequent injuries such
as bruises, burns, broken bones; explanation of the injury seems unrealistic
Multiple bruises in
various stages of healing, particularly bruises on inner arms or thighs
Experiences pain when
Loss of bowel and
bladder control
Never leaves the house
or allows visitors
Never mentions family
or friends
Sexual Abuse
Evidence of sexually
transmitted disease
Irritation or injuries
to the mouth, genitals or anus
Upset when changed or
Fearful of a
particular person
Loss of bowel and
bladder control
Emotional/Psychological Abuse
Isolated from family
and friends
Sudden dramatic change
in behavior, appearing withdrawn, depressed, hesitant to talk openly
Caregiver won’t let
victim speak for herself or himself
Caregiver scolds,
insults, threatens victim
Trembling, clinging
Financial Abuse
Unusual activity in
bank account; sudden large withdrawals, expenditures that are not consistent
with past financial history
Use of automated
teller machines (ATM) when the person has no history of using ATMs or cannot
A recent will, when
the person seems incapable of writing a will
Rights signed away on
legal papers without understanding what the papers mean
Unpaid bills, such as
house payment, rent, taxes or utilities
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