Coordinators from the Queens Multi-Service Center at 76-01 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale have launched an innovative program to offer support for victims whose cries for help often go unheard.
"There are a lot of seniors who are victims of elder abuse, but most of the time it isn't reported," said Roseann Rosado, the director of the non-profit organization. "It's common, but it isn't documented."
More elderly citizens call Queens home than in any of the other four boroughs in New York.
Rosado, who has been working at the Queens Multi-Service Center for four years, said the program will offer counseling, crisis intervention, support groups, information and referrals, accompaniment to courts, and emergency assistance including food, clothing and housing. The project, which began earlier this month, will also help file victims' compensation claims.
Assistant coordinator and case manager Troy Holloway, whose mother suffers from Alzheimer's disease, has been working at Queens MultiService for three weeks. He said the problem with reporting of elder abuse is that it is often perpetrated by relatives, and other family members are usually leery of turning in one of their own. Child abuse, he said, must be reported under the law, but elder abuse has no such status.
"The husband can be taking money from a spouse or the children can be taking money for drugs," he said. "I guess because adults can speak for themselves and children cannot, elder abuse doesn't have to be reported."
Fellow coordinator and case manager Elizabeth Marquez-Torres agreed. Marquez-Torres, who also works as a church pastor, said she got involved to help families in need.
"I've always liked helping people and families," she said. "We hope we can make the victims better aware of what's going on because this is something that really affects the whole family. It's really hard to get involved sometimes because a lot of times the elderly don't want to press charges without our assistance."
The Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, a non-profit organization, was established in 1973. Through grant contracts with city, state and federal agencies, it assesses the needs of the community and provides a system of services to needy seniors, children and families. The organization also provides technical assistance to community group senior centers and other non-profit human services organizations, and helps identify and assist frail homebound individuals.
Holloway said his work and community services like Queens Multi-Service Center are needed to protect those who cannot speak for themselves.
"Seniors are the backbone of this society," he said. "You have to know where you're from to know where you're going."
For more information on the Queens Multi-Service Center and the Elder Abuse Program call 718-366-0200.
©2000 Community News Group
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