New Initiative Aims to Protect Seniors in Vt.

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Protecting Vermont’s most vulnerable, seniors.

“It’s important to protect everyone but the senior community can be especially vulnerable to a lot of different things,” said Kristin Clouser, Attorney General’s Human Services Division Chief.

The Attorney General’s Office is hitting the road with a new program based on education. The first stop was Thursday at The Mad River Valley Senior Center in Waitsfield.

“It’s up to us as a community to protect them to the best of our ability and to provide education is one of the steps we can take to do that,” said Lisa Townsend, Mad River Valley Senior Center Director.

Thursday’s presentation focused on the concepts of abuse, neglect, exploitation and the different resources available to the elder community.

“We need to be reminded of what is available for our own good that we take for granted or we have to be reminded once in a while that you might need this help or not but you are just available for us,” said Ruthann Haskins, from Warren, Vt.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, fraudulent activity against seniors is becoming more frequent in Vermont. Phone scams in particular are of concern.

Townsend said, “The most immediate needs and concerns that they have been having lately are phone scams many of them have been getting those phone calls lately.”

Of the top 10 reported scams last year, nearly 25% were automated calls which led to some scam victims making monthly payments for so-called free medical alert systems.

While Haskins hasn’t personally dealt with a scam, she’s prepared.

“My friend has and it’s quite hysterical really because she thinks she is going to get $12,000 check but she really knows she is not,” explained Haskins.

Haskins says she looks forward to the next presentation,

“I thought it was excellent because of the vitality and the youth that came today, the young folks came, they explained everything articulately and I was very impressed.”

Thursday marked the first in a series of quarterly session.

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