by Skye Felsing, Project Administrator, PREVNT Initiative
This post is part two of a series of blog posts covering Elder Law of Michigan’s efforts and partnerships to prevent elder abuse across Michigan.
In February, we shared with you one of the four segments within our new elder abuse project called the PREVNT Initiative. This month we are excited to share the second segment we are working on. Overall, the PREVNT Initiative seeks to understand the scope of elder abuse in Michigan and to establish programs and resources that can aid in the prevention of elder abuse. The second part of PREVNT focuses on establishing a resource that can aid in the prevention of elder abuse.
As a provider of senior services, ELM recognizes that many elder abuse cases involve a lack of access to resources. Seniors find themselves in a position where they need help and lack the knowledge and resources to address the situation on their own. Unfortunately, seniors are often taken advantage of in these situations, by family or the person trying to help them, and that can occasionally lead to abuse. For this segment of PREVNT, we wanted to help combat this issue by focusing on providing information and access to services that could help seniors avoid situations in which they are vulnerable to abuse.
This part of PREVNT is aimed at creating an online referral tool. We are working in conjunction with ardentCause, a technology company that provides website and data services, to build the tool. When completed, the tool will give providers of senior services access to accurate information and allow them to refer seniors to much needed services in one streamlined tool. The referral tool will work in conjunction with Mi-SOAP, Michigan’s Support for Older Adults Portal, a tool developed by ELM, to help senior service providers find resources, determine benefits eligibility, and share information.
In order to make sure the referral tool is useful to those who will use it, we have partnered with two Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in our pilot area (Kalamazoo, Berry and Calhoun counties) to help us establish which functions are useful, what design is best, and how to best organize the information. These AAAs are also helping us build a pilot network of agencies that can test the referral tool before it goes into actual use.
With access to this referral tool, our goal is to enable providers of senior services to easily connect their clients to the resources and the help they need to avoid abusive situations.
Skye Felsing is a Project Administrator for the PREVNT Initiative who has been at Elder Law since June of 2013. Skye graduated from Michigan State University in 2011 with a degree in social studies education.
Prior to working at Elder Law of Michigan, Skye spent 5 months teaching English in Thailand. Upon her return to the United States, she worked as a substitute teacher in the Lansing area. Recently, she has joined the PREVNT Initiative providing administrative support for ELM and our partners in the project.