» New Program Enlists Doormen to Watch for Elder Abuse

New Program Enlists Doormen to Watch for Elder Abuse

White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) December 19, 2013 - A new program in New York City is training doormen who work in apartment buildings to watch for elder abuse.

New York Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney Bernard Krooks

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention (part of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale) developed the program, which offers free training for doormen, porters, concierges and other building staff at the buildings where they work.

Joy Solomon, the director of the Weinberg Center, said that many elderly people in abusive situations do not come forward on their own, so advocates realized they would have to reach out to others who might be likely to spot the signs of abuse. The Center has already helped to educate estate lawyers, speech therapists and those who deliver hot meals to seniors. Now, building staff members are being enlisted.

Many buildings in the city have a growing population of elderly residents. An analysis of census data by Queens College found that by 2040, an estimated 21 percent of adults in New York City will be age 60 or older — an increase from 17 percent in 2010.

At a training session she led recently, Ms. Solomon told the story of an elderly resident of an Upper East Side apartment building and of the woman who took advantage of him. Building staff witnessed the woman removing valuables from the man's apartment, but they did not step forward, perhaps because they did not want to overstep their bounds. Solomon said that when a staff member knows that something is wrong, it is important to take action. Several older apartment residents said they would much prefer that building staff say something about a situation that does not appear right than stay quiet out of a fear of prying into someone else's business.

If elderly residents do not receive frequent visits from friends and family, a doorman may be the first to notice an injury, signs of confusion or other evidence that they need help.

Solomon said that the training would be provided initially to buildings with large populations of older people but would eventually be available to anyone requesting it.

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