NYC Program Trains Doormen to Help Prevent Elder Abuse

To Help Prevent Elder Abuse, Outreach Program Trains Doormen in NYC to Recognize Warning Signs

Doormen trained to recognize elder abuseA new program is enlisting and training doormen to keep an eye on elderly residents, and help prevent and report elder abuse.

The program, developed by Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse and Prevention at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, offers onsite training for and assistance to doormen, porters, and other building officials throughout New York City.

A recent census analysis from Queens College says that, with the Baby Boomer generation nearing retirement, by 2040 about 21% of New York City residents will be 60 or older. That’s up from 17% as of 2010. And, with the economic crisis forcing adult children to move back in with their aging parents, and elderly people to go without necessary medical care, it is more important than ever for non-relatives to start to recognize the signs of elder abuse, from financial to physical.

“We see everybody coming in and out,” said Michael Marlow, 54, who has worked as a doorman at Gracie Mews apartment building for 15 years. “If something’s wrong, we would notice.”

Many doormen and porters, like Marlow, do more than just open and close doors for residents and visitors. They run for groceries, hold mail, listen to complaints, and unscrew jar lids. They become very familiar with building residents and their lives. The relationship between porters and residents often becomes very personal.

According to Joy Solomon, the director and managing attorney for the Weinberg Center, elderly residents often do not come forward to report abuse themselves. The Center therefore developed the outreach program to help train speech therapists, estate lawyers, and even meal delivery service drivers to recognize the physical and emotional signs of elder abuse.

While training the staff at the Gracie Mews apartment building, Ms. Solomon used an example of an older resident living on the Upper East Side who became entangled with a woman who wanted to steal his money and belongings. The door staff at the man’s building did nothing to stop the woman, even as she began to remove possessions from the elderly gentleman’s apartment. “They knew something was wrong,” she said. “They didn’t do something when they could have. I think it’s really important to take that step.”

During training, Solomon reports that many porters and doormen report that they don’t want to be intrusive, but they do want to help if possible.

However, residents often like the idea of the program. Richard Lord, an 88-year-old resident of the Gracie Mews building, agrees with the training, even if it pries into someone’s private life. “I have no problem with that,” he said. “If you see something wrong and you don’t do something about it, that’s even worse.”

The Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm Prosecute Elder Abuse

If your loved one has suffered physical injury, theft, or died wrongfully, because an in-home caregiver or registered nurse in a nursing home has neglected the patient, you may have an elder abuse case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of elder abuse cases, and will treat you with respect and compassion. It is important to fight felony elder abuse so you, your family, and others no longer suffer because of criminal behavior. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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