“For no other reason than we will all be old.”
Those are the words engraved on the monument dedicated Wednesday to serve as both a memorial to victims of elder abuse and a call to action for those that see it. The Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance purchased the memorial to commemorate its 10th anniversary.
“Elder abuse is everyone’s problem, if for no other reason than we will all be old one day ourselves,” Georgene Fedoriska, SEAPA co-chairwoman and executive administrator for the county office of senior services, said. “The seeds we sow today will make a better future for our seniors.”
The nonprofit organization has pursued the same objectives over the last 10 years: promote awareness of elder abuse in Schuylkill County; provide education and training to various groups on how to identify, prevent and report elder abuse; and prosecute perpetrators of crimes against the elderly.
“It was an idea that came about when a local attorney, Eric Mika, noticed that seniors were being exploited financially,” Fedoriska said. She said Mika contacted then-Commissioner Mantura M. Gallagher, who explored the idea of such an organization with then-director of the county office of senior services Marie Beauchamp.
It was then that the steering committee known as the Schuylkill County Elder Abuse Task Force was established. When the organization was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2007, the name changed to SEAPA. It now consists of 30 members that includes representatives from the banking industry, clergy, long-term care, law enforcement, funeral directors, health care and education.
“We wanted to embrace and empower seniors to stand up for themselves and if they couldn’t stand up for themselves, that there would be entities that would help them stand up,” Fedoriska said. “For the last 10 years, we hope that showed in the programs we provided,”
State Department of Aging Secretary Brian Duke was there Wednesday to congratulate the organization on 10 years.
“It is good to be here with so many today that share this mission of enhancing the quality of life for older Pennsylvanians,” Duke said. Read more »