‘Aging Well’ Dispels Elder Abuse and Protective Services Myths

Demystifying how adult Protective Services strives to mitigate elder abuse was the central topic for the most recent episode of the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) public access program Aging Well.

The program featured SCES Senior Protective Services Caseworker Norah Al-Wetaid, who said elder abuse often goes unreported due to misconceptions about how Protective Services operates.

“We know that a lot of people don’t report abuse, because they’re fearful we’d reveal who made the report,” said Al-Wetaid. “We’ve had other people tell us they didn’t call because they were concerned we were going to come in and incite more drama within the family—and that’s not how we approach things.”

Elder Protective Services is an SCES program dedicated to eliminating and alleviating abuse, neglect, self-neglect and exploitation of older adults (age 60 and over). Common services include crisis intervention, safety planning and housing loss prevention.

Al-Wetaid said elder abuse reports are highly confidential, and outlined warning signs of abuse and steps for making a report. She also stressed that the program prioritizes honoring the wishes of older adults.

“If an elder has the capacity to make decisions for themselves, they have the right to make decisions for their life,” said Al-Wetaid. “Our goal is to keep them as safe as possible and harm reduction.”

The full episode is available here, through the SCES Youtube channel.

Aging Well is a monthly program that provides expert advice on a variety of topics related to aging, disability and caregiving. The show is produced in partnership with Somerville Community Access Television (SCATV). Episodes will air on SCATV Channel 3 at the following times:

  • Sundays at 10am
  • Mondays at 7:30am
  • Tuesdays at 1pm.

For more information about Protective Services and SCES, contact the SCES Aging Information Center by calling 617-628-2601, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

About SCES: Established in 1972, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services is a private, non-profit agency dedicated to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity and independence of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. SCES is a state designated Aging Services Access Point and a federal Area Agency on Aging. Some SCES services are targeted to low-income residents of Somerville and Cambridge, age 60 and over, who need assistance with managing daily activities. Other services are available to older adults, disabled persons and family caregivers throughout Greater Boston.