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New Senior Advocacy Center will support adults facing elder abuse

Officials broke ground on Friday, June 9th, while recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Haley O'Brien
Officials broke ground on Friday, June 9th, while recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Officials announced a Senior Advocacy Center to offer services for people 60 and older facing abuse. It will be a roughly 2,000 square foot addition to Telespond Senior Services, a senior day center in Scranton.

The center, expected to be completed in the next year, will offer health exams, legal counsel, and protective services for older adults experiencing abuse. A four-bed shelter will provide a safe place to stay. Telespond officials say they'll continue providing social programming and community resources.

Donna Sedor is President and CEO of Telespond Senior Services.

"Seniors who are experiencing abuse of any kind, financial, physical, homelessness, can come to get the resources they need," she said. "And also be able to take advantage of Telespond Services, our day center, our in-home care, our volunteer opportunities. So they would get the help they need, the connection to the community, and the goal is that the team... would be able to get them back into the community and safe."

The idea was born in 2016, when Jason Kavulich was the director of the Area Agency on Aging in Lackawanna County. Now, he’s the Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging.

“This is true partnership between government, and nonprofit and private funders, and municipalities, to make something that will change the lives of older adults," Kavulich said. "But not only that, it’ll be a model for the nation to look at, because it has not been done before.”

Although it’s in Lackawanna County, the regional center will offer access to people 60 and older in six counties in the Northeast.

Kavulich says Pennsylvania Agencies on Aging received 36,000 reports of abuse of older adults last year, but only 10% of cases are reported.