Courage Awards recognize those leading the charge against elder abuse

The Oakland County SAVE (Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly) Task Force
presented the inaugural Courage Awards to individuals and organizations
that have taken action to further awareness of or prevent the abuse and
exploitation of vulnerable adults. The awards were part of SAVE’s Elder
Abuse Awareness Event, which was held June 22 at the Oakland County
Board of Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac.

This
year’s inaugural recipients were honored in two categories: The Courage
to Speak Out and The Courage to Lead. The Courage to Speak Out awards
were granted to Margaret Vogan, the individual honoree and Comerica
Bank, the organization honoree. The Courage to Lead awards went to
Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Derek Meinecke, the individual
honoree and the Auburn Hills Senior Center, the organization honoree.

SAVE’s
Elder Abuse Awareness Event is in recognition of 2011 as the Year of
Elder Abuse Awareness in Oakland County, declared by Oakland County
Executive L. Brooks Patterson in February. Featured speakers included
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Sosnick, chair of SAVE;
Oakland County Corporation Counsel Judith Cunningham, representing
Patterson; and Dr. Peter Lichtenberg, executive director of the Wayne
State Institute of Gerontology.

The SAVE Task
Force was founded in 2005 to bring together stakeholders across the
spectrum of care services to create a coordinated response to abuse and
exploitation of Oakland County’s most vulnerable residents. Elder abuse
— like domestic violence and child abuse — comes in many forms.
Experts recognize it as a public health issue for which there are no
socio-economic borders. Millions of Americans are abused, neglected or
exploited each year, with an estimated 84% of cases going unreported.

In
addition to much needed financial resources, the effort to end elder
abuse is critically dependent on the commitment and partnership between
government agencies and community organizations such as law enforcement,
adult protective services, aging services providers and faith-based
organizations. SAVE fosters these relationships. Dedicated individuals
also can play a key role in advocating for the safety and well-being of
seniors and vulnerable adults.

The Oakland
County Executive Office partners with the Oakland County Circuit Court
and the Prosecutor’s Office Elder Abuse Section to prosecute abuse and
neglect of our vulnerable citizens. Other partners include Oakland
County Adult Protective Services and Aging Network Providers. If you
suspect that someone is being abused or neglected, make an anonymous
report to Adult Protective Services at 866-975-5010. If you are not
sure, call and talk with a professional who can guide you.

For more information about SAVE, visit oakgov.com.