Center for Elder Abuse Prevention Internship Opportunities
The Center for Elder Abuse Prevention is a grant-funded program of Jewish Senior Services that opened in September 2007 to assist victims and reduce the prevalence of elder abuse. The Center does extensive outreach and education with a broad spectrum of professionals and community members, as well as coordinates collaborations through multiple community partners. Serving seniors across Fairfield County, the Center provides clients with an array of services, including safe, confidential emergency housing. It is a graduate recipient of grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and its work is currently supported by range of local funders and foundations.
The Center seeks interns for the summer and academic school year, and older adult fellows to conduct outreach and education to a variety of community audiences.
Specific areas of focus are detailed below, and additional projects of interest may be developed jointly between the intern, Program Director and Community Advocate. Interns will be guided to research and produce an outreach plan for a target population, and tailor educational materials and resources of the Center to fulfill the outlined plan. This is a great opportunity to learn about a growing segment of society and an expanding field, contribute to the well-being of older adults in our community, as well as a great opportunity for those interested in working in the non-profit sector.
Meals-On-Wheels In-Service Development
Volunteers of Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) provide fellow community members with a regular healthy meal delivery, allowing them to live independently in their own homes. MOW volunteers are one of few and sometimes the only link for homebound adults to the outside world. MOW volunteers are in a unique position to observe the living environments of these homebound adults and are perfectly poised on the frontlines for identifying elder mistreatment. Everyday MOW volunteers visit the homes of adults, knocking on their doors to give them their meals and indirectly check on them. These volunteers are a key group to be trained in recognizing, identifying, and reporting elder abuse and there is a need and value of training volunteers to support older adults in the community.
The Center is bringing a student intern on-board to research and produce an outreach plan for MOW volunteers, throughout Fairfield County, that will assist volunteers and MOW service providers to develop practical knowledge and skills for recognizing the signs of elder abuse and to support those who may be affected by elder abuse. Interns will also be expected to develop educational materials and resources to fulfill the outlined plan.
EMS In-Service Development
Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel are first responders to emergency health related situations, and often respond to the needs of older adults. They are in a unique position to view an adult’s home setting that may not be observable by other medical care providers. Studies conducted to assess EMS personnel’s’ confidence in properly assessing and identifying elder abuse have suggested a majority of EMS personnel lack specific training related to elder abuse and neglect. Adults who are abused or neglected can present in many ways. According to research, abuse or neglect is rarely the initial concern for 9-1-1 reports regarding an older adult, despite the fact that many injuries and illnesses in the elderly may be a result of or complicated by abuse and neglect.
The Center seeks a student intern to research and produce an outreach plan for EMS personnel, throughout Fairfield County, that will provide them and related service providers with practical knowledge and skills for recognizing the signs of elder abuse and to support those who may be affected by elder abuse in the community. Interns will also be expected to develop educational materials and resources to fulfill the outlined plan.
Outreach Plan Addressing Senior-to-Senior Harassment
Discussion about bullying usually focuses on school-aged children. Topics usually include grade school and high school bullying, or cyber-bullying via apps and social media, but bullying within older adult communities has been identified as a need for attention by local geriatric professionals and families.
While there has been little research on senior-to-senior bullying, anecdotal evidence suggests that it might be more prevalent than we realize. Recent research on senior-to-senior harassment has not only revealed a prevalence of it, but also a range in types of senior-to-senior harassment from classic types of bullying such as verbal intimidation, dirty looks, to physical aggression and violence.
Other types of senior-to-senior harassment include purposely spreading rumors and excluding someone from groups. Older adults may be particularly vulnerable and easy targets for this form of harassment. Spreading awareness on this particular issue is a step towards addressing and preventing harassment at all ages.
The Center would like to create an intergenerational team of student interns and retired adults to research and produce a teaching module that addresses senior-to-senior harassment that meets the educational and outreach goals of our Center. This will be an intensive summer (and possibly fall) project that will describe bullying among older adults, its unique forms, and its effects, as well as creating awareness and promoting best practices in preventing and responding to senior-to-senior harassment. The Center will encourage the intergenerational interns to highlight compelling examples of strategies that work at achieving these objectives by working together and supplying their age-specific perspectives on “bullying” and how it might be adapted to address senior-to-senior harassment.