MAYVILLE – Regional officials convened Thursday afternoon in front of the Gerace Office Building to observe World Elder Abuse Day 2021, which was officially on Tuesday.
Nicole Parshall was one of the speakers at the gathering. Parshall serves as a supervising attorney for the Center for Elder Law and Justice, an organization that provides free legal services to survivors of elder abuse.
Parshall explains that, often times, those suffering from elderly abuse may not be able to seek help by themselves. The attorney urges people to “reach out, and speak out,” the motto for this year’s observation.
“We need you to reach out to the older adults in your life, in your neighborhood, and at your businesses,” Parshall said. “If you see something, say something. Signs of elderly abuse are not always easy to see. But changes in spending habits, hygiene, or perhaps a new friend or partner who appears overly engaged or controlling are often signs of elderly neglect or abuse.”
“If you see something, speak out,” she continued. “Contact adult protective services, Center for Elder Law and Justice, or law enforcement if you suspect elderly neglect or abuse.”
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel also spoke during the event. The county’s top official proclaimed the month of June as Elder Abuse Prevention Month throughout the county.
“Each year, millions of elderly (U.S. citizens) are abused, neglected or financially exploited by a caregiver or somebody they trust, and many victims aren’t able to or are afraid to report the crime,” Wendel said. “Every citizen should be treated with affection, kindness, and respect.”
The other speakers included State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt, Lisa Vanstrom, County Legislator and Jamestown Chief of Staff for State Senator George Borrello, and Leanna Luka-Conley, Deputy Commissioner Adult, Child & Family Services.