ASHLAND - With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June, a coalition of agencies and care providers in Ashland County choose to use the occasion as an opportunity to highlight elder empowerment.
"We don't want to overlook that sometimes elders are abused, taken advantage of or neglected in terrible ways, but we wanted to put a more positive light on it," said Steve Stone, executive director of Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County.
So the Older Adult Behavioral Health Coalition of Ashland County designated June as Elder Empowerment Month and scheduled a series of events throughout the month to help older adults navigate challenges and maintain confidence and control in various aspects of their lives.
Events include a "Cooking for One or Two" class with a dietitian from University Hospitals Samaritan Hospital, a driving class through AAA, and a personal safety class with the Ashland County Sheriff's Office, among others.
The month kicks off Friday with a breakfast at Ashland County Council on Aging and ends with a legacy writing class June 26.
One of the main events for the month is and elder abuse resource and prevention fair for seniors and caregivers 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 15 at the Sheriff’s Annex, 1205 East Main Street.
The event includes a free lunch, entertainment by the Golden Serenaders and presentations on topics such as financial exploitation and abuse later in life. Attendees will also have an opportunity to speak with representatives of local agencies dedicated to serving seniors and their families. Guests should RSVP by Friday, June 8 by calling Safe Haven at 419-282-6097.
Ashland County's Elder Empowement Month is just one of several initiatives of the Older Adult Behavioral Health Coalition. Organized in 2006 with funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the coalition is a partnership of local organizations that meets monthly in an effort to unify, educate and collaborate among professionals who work with older adults and caregivers.
Coalition members include Appleseed Community Mental Health Center, Ashladn county Council on Aging, Ashland County Department of Job and Family Services, brethren Care Village, Catholic Charities, Hospice of North Central Ohio, Kingston of Ashland, Mental Health and Recovery Board, Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, S.A.L.T. Council, University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center, Visisting Nurse Association of Mid-Ohio, Sfae Haven and Pathways Hospice of Ashland.