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Elder Abuse Prevention

Baltimore County Public Library
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Innovation Summary

Baltimore County Public Library partnered with other community agencies to create a cooperative group working to prevent and increase awareness of elder abuse.

Innovation Leader: Jim DeArmey, Information Services Coordinator, jdearmery@bcpl.net

Problem Statement

Elder abuse has become an increasing problem across the nation. It can take many forms, including physical or sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect. It can also be perpetrated by anyone from strangers to paid caregivers to family members. Because older adults often lead lives of increasing isolation and dependence on others, abuse of the elderly can often go undetected. To prevent elder abuse, it is important to create a greater awareness of the problem, help people recognize the warning signs, and offer resources to lead victims and their families to the help that they need.

Innovation

The BC-REST (Baltimore County Restoring Elder Safety Today) group formed in order to address the problem of elder abuse. The group includes representatives from: • Baltimore County government agencies such as Library, Aging, Police, Health and Social Services • Nonprofit agencies such as AARP and the Pro Bono Counseling Project • For-profit agencies such as local nursing homes and adult day care facilities Members of the group work cooperatively to prevent elder abuse by sharing information and working to increase the visibility of the problem. A key tool in this campaign is a web-based single source of information to alert County residents to the existence of elder abuse, help them identify signs that it is occurring, and provide resources for victims and their families. The library serves as key player in this project by hosting, editing and updating the group’s public web presence. The library will also serve as the host location for the County’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Rally & Seminar to be held on June 15, 2012.

Progress

The group’s primary information tool is available on the library’s website at the web addresses listed below. The page is modeled after the County’s “Homefront, Veterans Services” page (www.bcpl.info/veterans) that won a National Association Of Counties (NACO) award in 2006. The page serves as single source information and resources on the on elder abuse awareness and prevention.