Annual 2014 Elder Affairs Liaison Report:
Generally the role of Elder Affairs Liaison differs little from year to year. But we are noting some concerning trends. Working closely with the COA we identify and intervene in cases involving seniors who face cognitive and physical impairment, fall prey to fraud or domestic assault, or who suffer from substance abuse.
We are seeing more and more cases of seniors suffering the effects of alcohol or drug addiction. Seniors can be particularly at risk. They may once have been “social” drinkers, but now, having lost a spouse or friends and perhaps their driving privileges, begin to rely on alcohol for their constant companion. Their medications, though legally prescribed, are often combined with alcohol or taken in excess. A common cycle that develops is impairment, leading to a fall, next the hospital, rehab, and finally back home with the cycle repeating itself over and over, leaving the senior more frail and less able to handle their lives with each episode.
Many agencies, like fire and police, the COA, healthcare facilities, Elder Services of Cape Cod and others, spend inordinately large amounts of money and time to protect these people. As more baby boomer seniors retire here to “age in place” far away from their families and their support system, we will be experiencing a surge in incidents of this type. Our children and our seniors are two of the most vulnerable factions of our society. They require special care and sensitivity in our approaches.
Mental health issues come into play with seniors even more than in the younger population as Alzheimers and dementia enter the picture. These changes in mental status require that our community be especially responsive to the complications that can arise when there is an overlap of impaired mental judgment and owning and operating lethal weapons, be they guns or motor vehicles.
Just like all of us, seniors become victims of telephone and computer fraud. They, however, are more often targeted. Sometimes, financially unsophisticated, too trusting, or suffering from dementia, they are much more likely to suffer financial abuse. This leads further to identity fraud, a quagmire from which few can easily extricate themselves, let alone those who have made it to the eighth or ninth decade of life.
Our town agencies often work closely in teams, attempting to help residents dealing with hoarding issues, home safety concerns, transportation problems and family difficulties. As I have said before, growing old is not without its challenges, but there is no better place to do it than Harwich, where there is always a cadre of caring professional people who will give their best efforts. I am once again appreciative that I have been given the opportunity to live and work in a town that cares in thought, word and deed about its residents and visitors, both young and old.
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1 week ago ·
Powerful Winter Storm Sunday into Monday (Info as of 7 PM on 2/11) A Winter Storm Warning for the majority of the Commonwealth (except Cape Cod and the Islands). A Blizzard Watch is in effect for Essex County, Eastern Plymouth County, Barnstable County and Nantucket. Snow will overspread the area Sunday morning and will continue, heavy at times, into the day on Monday, ending during the afternoon and evening hours. The snow will be heavy and wet Sunday afternoon and evening (snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour possible). On Sunday, especially in Southeast MA, the conditions may mix with sleet, freezing rain or be all rain. Snow will be light and steady late Sunday night through Monday. Snow may linger into early Monday afternoon in Eastern MA. Heavy snow will make many roads impassable and may produce widespread power outages due to the weight of the snow on tree limbs and power lines. Strong winds will lead to blowing snow, reduced visibility, and additional power outages. SNOWFALL • Berkshires: 10 to 14 inches • North of the Mass Pike: 12 to 18 inches • Along and South of the Mass Pike: 6 to 12 inches • Essex county: 12 to 18 inches • Southern Bristol and Southern Plymouth counties: 6 to 8 inches • Coastal Plymouth county: 6 to 10 inches • Cape Cod: 4 to 8 inches • Nantucket: 2 to 4 inches WINDS Strong winds most of Monday. Northwesterly winds 35-45 mph developing early Monday morning, tapering off Monday night. Damaging wind gusts 50-65 mph for coastal MA, Cape Cod and the Islands. Blowing and drifting snow will promote reduced visibility 1/4 of a mile or less. COASTAL FLOODING For the Sunday midday high tide (1 to 1.5 feet above normal high tide), minor coastal flooding of vulnerable shore roads is likely. Any inundation of low spots should be less than 1 foot. Minor beach erosion is also possible. For the Monday early afternoon high tide (1.5 to 2 feet above normal), minor to moderate coastal flooding may occur. More significant beach erosion is possible. A coastal flood watch is in effect from late Monday morning through Monday afternoon for the MA east coast (Salisbury to Rockport, North side of Cape Cod from Sandwich to Eastham and Nantucket). Minor to moderate coastal flooding is possible Salisbury to Rockport including the Plum Island area as well as Nantucket Harbor. Moderate with pockets of moderate to major coastal flooding is possible from Sandwich to Eastham; where damage to the most vulnerable structures along the immediate shore and shoreline roads is possible due to the combination of storm surge and large breaking waves. Inundation of 1 to 3 feet in low spots is possible. Large waves of 15 to 20 feet just offshore will likely cause significant erosion of ocean exposed shorelines along Eastern MA. The erosion along the North side of Cape Cod (from Sandwich to Eastham), the ocean side of Cape Cod (from Truro to Chatham) and the East side of Nantucket may be severe in places. IMPACTS • Snowfall may result in poor visibility and difficult travel Sunday/Monday • Potential impacts to Monday morning commute • Power outages with downed limbs and power lines due to the weight of the snow • Shore roads may become impassable due to coastal flooding around Monday midday high tide There is still uncertainty in the forecast at this time. Winter storm preparedness and safety information is available at: mass.gov/mema/snow Download the free Massachusetts Alerts app to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp. Graphics via US National Weather Service Boston MA
1 week ago ·