Editor's note: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect phone number for NY Coalition. This has been corrected.
Long ago when I was a kid, I loved superhero comics - Superman, Batman, Spiderman - you name it, I read it. Confession: now, supposedly grown up, I love superhero movies, especially where they band together for a common goal like “The Justice League” or “The Avengers.”
So a few weeks ago when I was asked to join an amazing group sworn to protect seniors during the coronavirus pandemic, I felt just like Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, when he was invited to join the Avengers!
Now, as a longtime elder law attorney and involved in all kinds of committees and boards advocating for seniors, I've worked with and I am even good friends with many of the Hudson Valley senior supporter superstars. But just look at who's been included and pulled together for this current Herculean effort:
Dr. Larry Force, psychology professor and gerontologist and co-director with team member Dr. Jeffrey Kahana, of the Center on Aging and Disability Policy at Mount Saint Mary College; Annmarie Maglione, director of Orange County Office For The Aging and a statewide force for seniors; Tim Murphy, supervisor of Orange County Adult Protective Services and fierce fighter for the elderly; Elisa Gwilliam, founder of Hudson Valley Healing Center and meditation teacher extraordinaire; Dr. Geraldine Abbatiello, advanced practice nurse in gerontology and psychiatric mental health and director of the Center for Life's Journey; Sharon Murray-Cohen, elder abuse multidisciplinary team coordinator plus key team supporters Diana Valentin-Miller, Danielle Maglione and Naveda Simms.
The name of this incredible newly formed conglomerate?
The Elder Abuse Awareness Virtual Coalition.
Though this title may not fit on the cover of a Marvel comic, it's sure to strike fear in the heart of anyone even thinking of taking advantage of seniors. We have government, law, health, calm and healing and group after group empowering seniors, caregivers and anyone hoping to someday be a senior to stand up for themselves and live the fulfilling life they deserve.
And what was it that inspired Dr. Force and his cohorts to spearhead this team at this crucial time in our world? Look at the picture: seniors are now designated in the category of most vulnerable for the deadly virus. Often isolated, they are now actually directed to isolate; they are surrounded by a world in fear and stress multiplying their own stress many , many times. And most seniors comprise one of the only groups guaranteed to receive a monthly government check. All this and more makes seniors prime and often undefended targets for financial, emotional and physical abuse. And we in the Coalition will not stand for this.
And how does this powerhouse group accomplish all this in this no-touch virtual world? We become virtual ourselves. Phone, Facebook, internet, podcasts and even YouTube. We are your resource.
So now you can de-stress in this over stressed time. Focus and know what you are entitled to – a life of fulfillment. Become imbued with knowledge and know if you're being abused or defrauded. Even if you're not sure, don't be shy. Reach out to us and we'll take it from there. We don't use the trusty Bat Signal (as yet) but here's how to contact us for help and how to access the tons of info you need to be strong and get through this difficult time:
Call 291-2800. Ask for Adult Protective Services, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Off hours call 343-7115.
Or: call 615-3710. That's N.Y. Connects by Office For the Aging.
YouTube for weekly podcasts plus: Elder Abuse Awareness: Virtual Coalition.
Facebook for weekly podcasts plus: elderabusevcoatition.
Age Loudly the Podcast - Episode 22: Meet the amazing Coalition Members on iTunes and your podcast icon.
Please remember – The Elder Abuse Awareness Virtual Coalition is here for you through this pandemic and beyond. You are not alone!
Sanford R. Altman is a senior advocate and attorney focusing on elder law, estate administration and estate planning and a member of Orange County Office For The Aging Advisory Board and Alzheimer's Association Advisory Council. firstname.lastname@example.org Age Loudly The Podcast!