Dear readers,

We have a problem in Napa, and I’m hopeful that you are as eager as we are to get on top of it. Our problem is elder abuse in Napa County, the crime of the 21st century.

I’m sure you are well aware of the fact that we are all living longer, and that’s a good thing, right?

Well, let’s listen to what Bill Weddington, chairman of Napa County Alliance for Senior Education (NCASE), has to share with us.

“For the first time in U.S. history, the number of people over 60 years of age exceeds those under age 15. According to the 2013 Census, the state of California was 12.5 percent total population of seniors, which leads the nation, and Napa County had 16.5 percent total population of seniors over 65.

“We live in an extraordinary time as a result of our medical and scientific advances.

“These advances, however, present a challenge for us. According to statistics of the National Center on Elder Abuse, California leads the nation in crimes against senior citizens.”

This is a very serious situation, and is why your participation in a free Elder Abuse Symposium being offered on June 16 is of the highest importance.

Also, because June is recognized as Elder Abuse Month, it seemed a fitting time to bring all interested parties together for this symposium to ask the question: How do we recognize and prevent elder abuse in Napa County?

Speakers and panelists will be present and ready to answer any of our questions. We will need input from everyone to find some answers to the question, how do we recognize and prevent elder abuse in Napa County?

This event will be in collaboration with Napa law enforcement, criminal justice, county offices, financial institutions, nonprofits, and victims’ services, all of whom are helping sponsor this educational seminar on elder abuse.

So, please note the date and information on your calendars. NCASE, along with Napa Valley College, will be presenting this symposium at Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center.

Thursday, June 16:

— Registration, 8-9 a.m.; symposium, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free parking.

— For information, email ncaseclub@yahoo.com or call 707-256-7645.

— Reservations: tinyurl.com/ElderAbuse2016

If you are a new reader to Senior Corner, I’d like to share with you who and what NCASE is. Dr. Weddington will explain:

“We are a coalition of motivated lifelong educators, community leaders, concerned students and community members whose mission is to redesign and enhance the quality of a long life through education.

“NCASE, in collaboration with Napa Valley College and the community at large is exploring innovative ways to solve the problems of people over 50 while improving the well being of people of all ages.”

Thank you, Dr. Weddington.

During our research, we were surprised to learn that, according to Police Officers Standards and Training, police officers received only three hours of training regarding elder abuse. Shouldn’t our county’s first-responders have policies and protocol that communicate the importance of addressing elder abuse?

I understand that most police departments have domestic violence policies; fewer have elder physical and emotional abuse policies. Policies should convey that the abuses should be taken seriously, and the punishment should reflect the seriousness of the crime.

I believe training is in place for child abuse and domestic violence, don’t the elderly deserve the same kind of protection against abuse?

Napa County has a caregiver ordinance in place, and has had for five years, and I wonder if there has been any training on this ordinance that could and should protect the elderly from caregivers with no background checks and possible criminal backgrounds. I wonder how many first-responders have even thought to ask to see a caregiver’s permit, let alone be trained in procedure.

Do first-responders even receive training?

The elderly count, Napa County. We hope someone will be listening. Please, come and join us. We need to be Napa County elders’ voices.

I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday, June 16.

Do a lot of what makes you happy, and we’ll visit again next week.

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Contact Betty Rhodes at bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net.