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August 18th, 2010

An elder abuse presentation by a improvisational theater company in Walton, New York highlighted the severity of elder abuse and evoked a strong response from the audience. The performance was part of the Delaware County NY Connects Geriatric Mental Health Conference.

The theater company performed two different scenarios in which the crowd was allowed to interact with the actors who remained in character. One situation performed involved an elderly woman with dementia who had turned her finances over to her grandson. The grandson had been neglecting to pay her bills and was using her money to buy drugs. A heated exchange took place as the audience was allowed to question the actors, who remained in character, about their actions.

The other scenario involved nursing home abuse as a grandson visiting his grandmother in a nursing home is troubled to find the nurse taking care of his grandmother is overworked and the administrator of the home is incompetent.

“One in nine people over the age of 60 experience elder abuse or neglect,” said Patricia Tyrell, Delaware County Department of Social Services staff development counselor. “For every incident of elder abuse, five others go unreported.”

Tom Briggs, Delaware County Office of the Aging Director, said the presentations were a good way to highlight problems and get people thinking and talking about them.


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