by Ron Tatro, Vice President, Administration and Center for Elder Rights Advocacy
In 2010, a group of dedicated Calhoun County community leaders and citizens came together to look at what they could do to better protect some of their most vulnerable citizens, the elderly. Working in conjunction with the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging and Elder Law of Michigan, a grant was submitted and awarded from the Department of Justice to begin working on a collaborative community program to better protect seniors from elder abuse.
Over the next four years, hundreds of citizens and professionals from a wide spectrum met, planned and implemented an ambitious plan to provide support to these victims. The grant ended on September 30, 2014 with some very impressive results. One hundred and forty five law enforcement officers were trained on how better to identify, investigate, and use community resources and partners to resolve abuse cases. Their efforts were joined by one hundred and forty specially trained professionals from the human services and aging network. Two judges and the elected prosecutor attended out of state trainings to help them better deal with elder abuse cases in the court system.
Equally impressive was a community demonstration project. This project afforded a wide range of services to these victims of elder abuse. Among those services were domestic violence services, aging services, legal services, transportation services, and support to help victims remain in their home. During this year long project, sixty seven men and women were served. These efforts allowed victims to live in a safe and secure environment.
Today, those community leaders can look back with a sense of accomplishment on the progress made to better protect their vulnerable seniors and look forward to the challenges facing the Baby Boomers as they age.
Ron Tatro is the Vice President & COO for Elder Law of Michigan. Ron works on a wide range of projects including consumer related issues, elder abuse prevention activities, aging and disability issues. He has joined with local, state, and national partners to identify new and creative ways to address aging issues and its impact on older victims of exploitation and abuse.