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by Nora Baladerian
Adults with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities are at greater risk of abuse, neglect, and other violence against them than the general population. Annually, approximately 5 million adults with disabilities experience substantiated cases of abuse and neglect. As increasing numbers of adults with disabilities are becoming "elders," the need is growing for programs that prevent and respond to elder abuse to get good at outreach to this group and their families and caregivers, and become skilled at responding to their needs. The need is also growing for disability advocates and service providers, persons with disabilities, and their families to help elder abuse programs for the broader aging population create and deliver services and resources for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The best outreach models engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, involving people with disabilities and disability specialists in the planning, design, and ongoing implementation of education, prevention, intervention, advocacy, and other services by elder abuse programs. Below are seven realistic, cost-effective activities that any elder abuse agency can employ to collaborate with community disability organizations, individuals with disabilities, and families in increasing knowledge, skills, and effectiveness in working with elders with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities:
It is also important that elders with disabilities, their families, service providers, and advocates engage with elder abuse programs to learn more about preventing and responding to potential abuse, and to assist the elder abuse programs to effectively reach individuals with disabilities. Collaboration is the key. Disability services agencies, as well as advocacy and self-advocacy organizations, can close the gap by inviting elder abuse response/prevention providers to their "inner circle." They can develop specialized service linkages with elder abuse organizations, invite victim advocates to their in-service trainings, place links to elder abuse services on their Web sites, co-host events, and participate in elder abuse efforts at the community and State levels. In addition, they can help develop or support professionals who bridge the gap, and request their consultation in linking agencies. They can also generate other ideas to strengthen the connections between elder abuse programs and people with disabilities through checking out resources such as the National Center on Elder Abuse at www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Nora Baladerian is Director of the Disability, Abuse & Personal Rights Project of Spectrum Institute, Los Angeles. She may be reached at 310/473-6768 or email@example.com.
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Retrieved from the Web site of the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota (http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/231). Citation: Heller, T., Stafford, P., Davis, L.A., Sedlezky, L., & Gaylord, V. (Eds.). (Winter 2010). Impact: Feature Issue on Aging and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 23(1). [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration].
The PDF version of this Impact, with photos and graphics, is also online at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/231/231.pdf.
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