POINT PLEASANT — Ann Dalton, executive administrative assistant with the Mason County Action Group, Inc., has been named to a nine-member advisory team aimed at preventing the abuse of senior citizens.
Dalton will be a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Elder Abuse Prevention Advisory Team. The team’s formation was recently announced by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Other members named to the team were Debbie Thompson, director, Pleasants County Committee on Family Issues; Cindy Summers, director, Ritchie County Integrated Family Services, Inc.; Sharon Kesselring, executive director, American Red Cross Northwest West Virginia; Kathy Mason, director, Wirt County Family Resource Network; Martha Haymaker, president and CEO, Calhoun Banks; Sallie Mathis, executive director, Gilmer County Senior Center; Steve McClure, director, Jackson County Emergency Medical Services; and Jessi Rupert, director, Pleasants County Senior Citizens Center.
“This group of experts represents the eyes and ears for their community,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Tackling elder abuse requires broad cooperation and no effort can be successful without the knowledge, expertise and first-hand accounts of these pioneers. Their assistance will be critical to our ability to reach not only the masses, but also the homebound and more reclusive senior citizens. Every person deserves to be protected.”
Team members will act as a conduit between their region’s elder population and the Attorney General’s Office in Charleston and Martinsburg. They will assist in notifying the office as to areas of need with regards to education and awareness, along with reports of scams and instances of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
They will also be a force multiplier in helping the elder abuse unit communicate alerts and prevention information, such as the Attorney General’s newly established senior services and elder abuse hotline, at 304-558-1155 or on the web at HelpForSeniors@wvago.gov.
National research estimates 10 percent of people age 60 and older have experienced some form of abuse or exploitation, and in many instances the conduct goes unreported. That’s of particular concern in West Virginia, where it is estimated 18.8 percent of the state’s population is 65 years and older.
(Information for this article came from a press release from the Attorney General’s Office.)
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.