by Ron Tatro, Vice President, Administration and Center for Elder Rights Advocacy
Elder Law of Michigan is well known for its direct services to older persons throughout Michigan. Every day, staff works with these clients to resolve legal issues, help them to understand their pensions, sign them up for food and economic benefits, and teach them how to live healthier. However, Elder Law does much more than provide direct client services.
Every day Elder Law staff works with a wide spectrum of professionals providing training, technical advice, and consultation on a wide range of topics. Training is provided to adult protective services staff on guardianship and legal issues. Technical support is provided to thirty legal hotlines across the country.
Recently, I was in Sault Ste. Marie to provide elder abuse training to forty members of various Upper Peninsula credit unions and members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The official focus of the training was to educate credit union employees on how best to recognize the signs of potential elder abuse in their clients and how to deal with the results. However, as the day progressed, we moved away from the stated focus and began talking about aging in today’s society and how it impacts our lives. Challenges such as health issues, outliving one’s financial resources, raising grandchildren, isolation, and a sense of feeling needed were topics of conversation. Over lunch, discussions continued about how our Native American colleagues and other societies view seniors or elders in their communities. There is no easy or quick answers to any of these issues, but we do know that as a member of society we all have a responsibility to share our time, talent, and resources to ensure that every person is safe and that they are treated with respect and dignity. We all have a vested interest in aging. It impacts us all.
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.