Elder Abuse Symposium: The Many Resources around Us
Jul 09, 2015
On June 24, library personnel had the privilege of attending the second annual Elder Abuse Symposium at the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center. This enlightening symposium was organized by the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services ("DPSS") Adult Services Divison and Moderated by Mary Parks, Television personality and Senior Information Specialist with DPSS. After an address by County CEO Jay Orr, representatives of multiple county agencies that support elder care and services came together to better understand what may constitute “Elder Abuse” and to acquaint attendees with the resources and agencies whose mission is to see to the legal, physical, and mental well-being of the senior citizens who reside in Riverside County.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Kerry Burnight, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California at Irvine and Director of the nation’s first Elder Abuse Forensic Center explained to us the clinical symptomology that the brain may display as we age and the physiological reasons why. She pointed out that on the plus side, while parts of the brain are aging; there is a corresponding greater integration between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, allowing for greater problem solving ability. Additionally, older people are clinically more content and amazingly resilient. She dispelled the myth that the elderly are less adaptable to changed circumstances. Her research has led her to conclude that we can look forward to the older years as being richer and full of meaning, if we choose to make it so.
After Doctor Burnight’s presentation, a panel discussion consisting of the County Office On Aging, Department of Social Services, Visiting Nurses, Rivco’s District Attorney’s Prosecutorial Staff on Elder Abuse, the Public Guardian, the Department of Health, the Department of Mental Health, Moreno Valley Police Department, Judge Cahraman of Riverside County Superior Court, and Dr. David Franklin of UCR’s School of Medicine answered questions posed by the Moderator using an actual case study of a client, (Ann), that had been in “the system.” Using her story, participants answered hypothetical questions to help the audience better understand how they approach each case and what solutions are offered when various issues are presented.
Countywide agencies, Riverside County Law Library among them, provided flyers, informative brochures on conservatorships, adult services in-home and we became acquainted with the various faith-based organizations that reach out to befriend the elders who may live alone or are shut-in. As Dr. Burnight pointed out, the measure of any truly civilized society is how it treats the weakest of its members. By that standard, our county is taking care to protect the legal, physical, mental, and social needs of its elder members. We should be proud that we have come so far in our thinking that we allocate resources to care for all. That is truly just.
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