Cass County Probate Court to host elder abuse training May 30

CASSOPOLIS — The senior population is one of the most vulnerable in Cass County, which is why area professionals will be meeting later this month to learn ways to better protect them from abuse.

The Cass County Probate Court will host an elder abuse training from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30 at the Cass County Council on Aging Lowe Center, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis. The event is open to a wide range of professionals, including law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, elder care workers, court staff, and banking employees, among others.

The event will serve a multidisciplinary training designed to give attendees an overview of the dynamics of elder abuse and legal issues and challenges impacting professionals, according to organizers. The trainers will include Ron Tatro from the Michigan Elder Justice Coordinating Council, Ryan Painter from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan and Cynthia Farrell from Aging and Adult Services at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh will attend as a special guest.

“This training concerns elder abuse, which is one of the most underreported crimes in the country,” said Chief Judge Susan Dobrich. “This [training] is for a wide range of professionals so that we can more collaboratively work together on this issue.”

As Cass County has a large population of senior citizens, Dobrich said she had seen elder abuse, particularly financial abuse, be a significant problem in the county.

“Unfortunately, we see this, especially in our rural community where [seniors] may be isolated. It’s a big problem in Cass and all over the state,” she said. “Abuse can happen anywhere. It can happen in a church community. It can happen with neighbors, it can even happen within a family.”

Through the May 30 training, Dobrich and probate register Kelley James-Jura said they hope to bring a large group of professionals together in order to promote collaboration in finding a better way to tackle the issue of elder abuse in Cass County.

“The training is set up where the first part will be about the dynamics of elder abuse, and the second part will be going over the legal issues affecting professionals,” James-Jura said. “The last part will be more like a communication exercise to develop that collaboration between all of our community partners.”

“[Through the training] I hope we become more proficient at recognizing elder abuse as a society and how to deal with it,” Dobrich added. “Recognizing [elder abuse] takes a lot of different skills.”

Should the May 30 training prove successful, Dobrich said that she hopes to expand the training by hosting community trainings.

“I think our next step would be to take this out to the public and do some community awareness training,” she said. “[Elder abuse] is an important topic to address.”

Registration to the elder abuse training is open until the day of the event. Registration is free can be done at Eventbrite.com.

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