Old Colony Elder Services (OCES) organized two marches this year to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Over 100 participants joined OCES and the Brockton Council on Aging in a march on Thursday, June 15.  The following week, on June 22, over 75 concerned citizens joined OCES and the Plymouth Center for Active Living and marched along the Plymouth waterfront.  The marches were organized to bring awareness to the issues of elder abuse and neglect.

“Both marches were very well attended, which demonstrates the desire in our communities to shine a bright light on this issue. Elders who experience any form of abuse have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated. The marchers wanted everyone to hear us loud and clear – if you see it, report it,” said Terri Kourtz, Protective Services Director at OCES. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs logged 25,000 elder abuse reports in a recent fiscal year.  It is estimated that 1 in 10 elders have experienced some form of abuse: physical, mental, emotional or financial – and experts in the field say that number is considered low due to under-reporting.

If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation call 1-800-922-2275, available 24/7. All calls are confidential and will lead to thorough investigation by the local Protective Services agency.

Beth Hatfield, Activities Coordinator for the Plymouth Center for Active Living hosted a lunch for the marchers in Plymouth, and Janice Fitzgerald, Director of the Brockton COA hosted refreshments for marchers in that city. Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz spoke at each location. In Plymouth, OCES recognized Attorney J. Marlin Hawthorne; Fire Chief G. Edward Bradley; and volunteer extraordinaire Connie DiLego for their work protecting seniors.

In Brockton, speakers also included Mayor Bill Carpenter; State Senator Mike Brady; and State Representative Michelle Dubois. Proclamations were presented to OCES and both COAs to mark the occasion.  A special award for tireless service was given to Pat Foley, longtime OCES Protective Services worker, who recently retired.

Also recognized were the Brockton TRIAD and Brockton Police Officer Nicole Anderson.

Event sponsors included the Brockton Council on Aging, The Plymouth Center for Active Living, HarborOne Bank, The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, the Plymouth Police Relief Association, the Brockton Patrolmens Association, Roche Brothers and Shaw’s Supermarkets.