Like many things in life, to be successful, you need to find the purpose behind your action. For me, it is simple. My goal is to make sure every Senior knows they are loved and a valued member of our community. I strive to earn their trust by displaying my empathy while laying out their options. Unfortunately, it is all too often that elderly individuals fall victim to maltreatment.
In May of 2019, while sitting down with a client, I noticed the individual was terrified of their situation. Upon asking the caregiver to step out due to HIPAA guidelines, several signs of abuse began to surface. The individual was covered in bruises on their neck, face & arms. It made me sick. I mentioned that they could end the abuse. Often, the individuals are scared to speak out, but I noted that being scared is better than additional pain, suffering or possibly death. Thankfully, the individual agreed to end the abuse that day by reaching out to law enforcement. Since then, I have witnessed elder abuse firsthand multiple times.
This prompted me to begin researching Elder Abuse. The statistics are appalling! 84% of Elder Abuse is perpetrated by a relative, 40% of which by the Adult Children. In my findings, I learned that June 15th every year was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), so I thought we should do something to bring awareness on a local level. We coined June 15th as “Senior Day in Cloquet” and our Mayor proclaimed it! Northwoods Credit Union joined forces with us to host the event. Less than a month later, the first “Senior Day in Cloquet” took place at the Cloquet Armory. We had Adult Protection Services, and 30 other vendors ranging from community resources like Social Services to home party vendors like Avon. The inaugural event was amazing! The surrounding community stepped up in providing a day for our Seniors to be showered with love & support. There were over 100 attendees who were greeted with a tote bag stuffed with Elder Abuse information, purple bracelets, and ribbons while listening to 40’s music all day! Arrowhead Transit, our local bus service, brought Seniors in and out free of charge.
Unfortunately, we made the decision in March of 2020 to shut the event down due to COVID-19. We were already in the planning stages, but we needed to do our part to keep everyone safe.
However, 2021 is set to be bigger and better. Because the Seniors had such a horrible year in isolation, we are hosting this year’s event outside in Veterans Park in Cloquet. This will give them the opportunity to visit with friends and still have enough space to be safe. We are committed to lifting our voices to bring awareness to this issue. We have Carlton County Public Health with Adult Protection Services, Legal Services, the hospital with 3 of their programs, information on scams, food trucks, the Chmielewski Band, The Photo Booth, and roughly 50 other vendors. There will be speakers discussing Elder Abuse as well as a speaker on Cyber Security for Seniors. There will be prize drawings every hour, free coffee, cookies, and bottled water. The bus service is again bringing in the Seniors for free.
I hope to see you there!
Benefits Account Executive