Today Johnson Moore joins the world in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara held an awareness gathering for seniors, agencies, and professionals. Johnson Moore attorney Stephanie Johnson attended the event to show her support in bringing awareness of elder abuse and neglect to the community.
After an introduction from the Area Agency on Aging’s Joyce Ellen Lippman, District Attorney Joyce Dudley provided opening remarks on the scope of the issue of elder abuse and neglect in the community and what the District Attorney’s office is doing to address those issues. Accompanying Dudley was Malvern, a highly trained therapy dog whose mission is to provide comfort to victims with psychological, physical, or emotional trauma resulting from criminal conduct, including criminal elder abuse. Many victims fear reporting elder abuse and neglect but Malvern provides comfort with a wag of his tail and a gentle nuzzle.
The event also featured a presentation from Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home’s Jeanne M. West on “Money Smart for Older Adults”, a new publication put forth by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The presentation included information and resources for seniors and their caregivers to make comprehensive financial decisions with confidence. West’s presentation focused on common examples of financial exploitation and how to spot the “red flags” to avoid falling victim to such scams. At various times throughout the presentation, West said, “If it sounds too good to be true…” and the audience responded, “it is too good to be true”. One attendee quipped, “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s illegal!”
Next, Laurel Sykes of Montecito Bank and Trust shared local stories of financial elder abuse and fraud she encounters in her position as the Bank’s Chief Risk Officer. Her stories about the victims she encounters were hard to hear, but hearing those stories and bringing awareness to those situations helps prevent them from occurring in the future. Following her comments, a video from AARP on the dangers of the “Sweetheart Scam” was played for the audience. This video warns of the dangers of “sweetheart” scammers who target online dating sites to find victims to financially exploit out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Lastly, Long Term Care Ombudsman of Santa Barbara County, Family Services Agency, Marco Quintanar gave the audience an update on the state of the county’s long term care facilities. He encouraged the audience that visiting and advocating for your loved ones who are in a nursing home or assisted living is the best way to prevent elder abuse and neglect.
At the end of the event, Lippman led a question-and-answer segment and provided closing remarks including encouraging words to continue bringing awareness to the issue of elder abuse and neglect.
At Johnson Moore, our attorneys are compassionate and determined defenders of the elderly, and we will take the time to fully understand your concerns and assess what steps we can take on your behalf. If you suspect you or your loved one is being abused, neglected, or exploited, we look forward to hearing from you to help you explore your options for obtaining the justice you deserve. Contact Johnson Moore today to schedule a free consultation.