The Savvy Seniors are taking aim at family violence and the elderly at its second meeting scheduled for 9-11:30 a.m. March 7 at the Trinity Valley Community College Community Services Building in Athens.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected and exploited by family members and others, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging. Reports to Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies of domestic elder abuse increased 150 percent between 1986 and 1996.

Theresa Leftwich, Director of Programs for East Texas Crisis Center, will address this problem as well as what can be done to protect the elderly from abuse.

Savvy Seniors is a new program that covers various issues important to senior citizens the first Tuesday or each moth. Each session includes breakfast and special guest speakers who are experts in the topics to be addressed.

Family violence is a serious problem for the elderly, and one that seems to be on the rise, according to an on-going study. The dramatic increase in reported abuse cases to APS agencies exceeded the 10 percent increase in the older population over the same period, and some experts are predicting similar increases in 2006.

A national incidence study conducted in 1996 by the Administration on Aging found that 551.011 people aged 60 and over experience abuse, neglect and/or self neglect in a one-year period.

The study also showed that many cases go unreported, that people aged 80 year or older suffered abuse and neglect two to three times their proportion of the older population, and that in 90 percent of the abuse and neglect cases, the perpetrator was a family member.

To reserve a space or for more information about Savvy Senior or the the March 7 meeting, call (903) 675-6212. Each meeting is $10 per person, which includes breakfast and the presentation.

Social workers and law enforcement personnel may also opt to receive Continuing Education Unites (CEUs). Professionals who attend a meeting will receive one CEU. Tuition for those seeking professional development is $20.

The meetings are held at the TVCC Community Services Building on Park Street next to the Athens County Club.

Future topics for meetings include Living Wills, Probate, Medical Directives, Trusts, Power of Attorney, April 4; Identifying Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation, May 2; Long-Term Care, June 6; and Scams-Don’t be a Victim, Aug. 8.

Savvy Senior is the first program of its kind in the state and is hosted by TVCC, East Texas Area Agency on Aging, American Association of Retired Persons and the Region 4 Adult Protective Services.

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