Volunteer as advocate for elderly
To the Editor:
Every day across the country and in our own community, vulnerable elderly people are being abused, neglected and financially exploited.
As New Jersey’s Long Term Care Ombudsman, I oversee a state- and federally-funded program that advocates for elderly people living in longterm care facilities, like nursing homes and assisted-living residences.
While the care and treatment of elderly individuals in long-term care facilities is strictly regulated and can be very good, these facilities are not exempt from incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Indeed, anywhere you have extremely vulnerable people, there is the potential for serious abuse.
That is why I urge anyone who is truly concerned about elder abuse and exploitation to call my office at 609-826- 5053 to find out about how to become a Volunteer Advocate in a local nursing home.
Volunteer Advocates receive 32 hours of training and asked to spend four hours a week at a local nursing home, listening to residents’ concerns and advocating on their behalf.
We have a critical need for volunteers in the northeastern part of the state – especially in Hudson County, where there are 17 nursing homes but we have just nine volunteers, and in Essex County, where there are 34 facilities but just 15 volunteers assigned.
The need is clearly there. If you are interested in having a direct impact on the lives of elderly citizens in nursing homes, please consider becoming a Volunteer Advocate.
James W. McCracken
NJ Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly