Elder abuse discussed during BOC meeting
by James Howell
The Ashe County Board of Commissioners approved a proclamation to acknowledge May 12 to June 16 as Vulnerable Adults and Elder Abuse Awareness Month during their Monday meeting.
“This year, we talked about a period of time to recognize abused adults,” said Linda Thompson, a member of the Elder Abuse Prevention Team.
Thompson presented several statistics for elder abuse to the commissioners to show how dire the elder abuse situation is and how it could become worse in the future.
According to Thompson, 84 reports of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation were recorded in 2012.
“So many people are unfortunately abused by their families,” said Thompson. “There is no community that’s immune.”
Elders with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia are much more likely to suffer elder abuse or neglect, and are more vulnerable to financial exploitation.
Currently, 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. That number will be elevated to 7.7 million by 2030 and 16 million by 2050.
Thompson also said women are more likely to be victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation, and the risk of mistreatment increases as seniors become older and more vulnerable.
According to Thompson, a grant awarded in 2005 allows the Elder Abuse Prevention Team to disseminate information about elder abuse.
“We also are able to educate the community, that’s our main goal,” said Thompson. “Since I’ve been involved, we’ve had several conferences. We also have a website as well that gives info about elder abuse.”
The BOC approved the proclamation to establish May 12 through June 16 as Vulnerable Adults and Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and Thompson also secured permission to display fliers that identify symptoms of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
“Now, therefore, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners proclaim May 12, 2013, to June 16, 2013, in recognition of Vulnerable Adults and Elder Abuse Awareness Month and encourage the citizens of Ashe County to support efforts to improve the safety and well-being of vulnerable and older adults and secure their right to live free of abuse, neglect, and exploitation,” read the proclamation.
H and C block grants
The Ashe County BOC approved a budget amendment to the Home and Community Care Block Grant for Older Adults, cutting funding from the program due to reductions from the federal government.
“As a result of the federal sequester reductions, we need to present a budget amendment for Home and Community Care Block Grant funds,” said Patricia Calloway, director of Ashe Services for the Aging.
Calloway informed the board about the impact of the cuts.
For the rest of April until June 30, the senior center’s block grant fund will be cut by $3,747.
Of this total, $1,665 will be cut from the Congregate Nutrition Program, meaning four county residents will no longer have access to the meals provided by Ashe Services for the Aging.
The Home Delivered Meals Program will take a budgetary reduction $555, making two county residents ineligible for home-delivered meals. Also, $1,527 will be cut from Title III-B, which includes services like transportation and adult day care.
“One of our participants will need to secure other funds or they won’t be able to participate in our adult day care program,” said Calloway.
“What is the pleasure of the board regarding this matter? Pleasure’s not the right word, what is the responsibility of the board on this matter?” asked Rhodes.
The board voted 4-0 to approve Ashe Services for the Aging’s budget cuts in response to federal budget cuts.
Calloway said the senior center plans to secure other funds through donations and also “supplement services we are providing with private funding.”
In addition, Calloway said the services provided by the senior center are very cost-effective overall, and provide needed services to county residents. However, additional cuts are expected in the coming year.
“No one really knows what the sequester will do,” said Mary Owen, a representative from Ashe Services for the Aging.
• The BOC passed on a petition to restore James Witherspoon Road to the N.C. DOT in a 4-0 vote.
• The BOC also approved revisions to the rules and regulations for the Ashe County Airport Advisory Board in a 4-0 vote.
• The board adopted the request for proposals (RFP) for the county’s ambulance service contract submitted by Emergency Management Coordinator Patty Gambill. The was adopted in a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Gerald Price dissenting. Price said, in the interest of fairness, the contract should be advertised nation-wide instead of only advertised locally, and there was no such stipulation in the RFP submitted by Gambill.
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