Monday, December 10, 2007

State Vows Battle on Elder Abuse Push Vowed on Abuse of Elderly


SPRINGFIELD -Massachusetts USA The state's new secretary of elder affairs told senior citizens yesterday that he is on a mission to expand efforts statewide to combat elder abuse and exploitation.

Michael E. Festa, who began in October as secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, made stops yesterday at the Good Life Center in Springfield and the Ludlow Senior Center to meet with seniors and their advocates, hear their concerns and share his vision and priorities.

During the Springfield luncheon, Festa said he will work to expand protective services for seniors who are victims and potential victims of neglect, abuse and financial exploitation.

Advocates and agencies who deal with the elderly "must be in tune to that and respond to that immediately," he said.

"I don't think we are doing enough to be proactive in reducing victimization in the first place," Festa said. "I worry about us not being proactive enough to ensure that seniors are well informed about the uses and misuses of legal instruments, about those who are trying to exploit financial services."

Festa said his job is to bolster the staff in protective services including lawyers and case workers, who can help seniors with information and assistance. Much of the victimization involves family members, he said.

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We are pleased that to see attention being paid to Elder Issues and their concerns in Western Massachusetts and that State Rep. Angelo J. Puppolo Jr., D-Springfield, City Council President Kateri B. Walsh and Springfield Elder Affairs Director Janet E. Denney were among the attendees. We are equally please to see officials acknowledge that much of the victimization involves family members. We encourage officials to continue to read E.A. and consider any steps taken to protect our elder population a positive one.

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