Forum to promote safer communities for seniors

Posted Oct. 23, 2008, at 12:03 a.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 5:55 a.m.

Want to learn about fire safety, fraud, emergency preparation, protecting your money and elder abuse? Want to rid yourself of old prescriptions, enjoy a delicious free lunch and have a few laughs all in one day?

Join the Penobscot County TRIAD Coalition for its Building Safer Communities for Our Seniors Forum, offered free to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor.

“Scammers don’t take time off,” said Glenn Ross, Penobscot County Sheriff and TRIAD president. “Fraud can strike anyone, but seniors are at particular risk. It’s not something you like to think about, but remember, knowledge is power and despite what you may have heard, ignorance is not bliss.”

The topics to be covered are:

ä “Prescription Medication and Your Safety” with Sgt. Catherine Rumsey of the Bangor Police Department. A Drug Drop-Off will be provided so that you can dispose of expired and unneeded prescriptions lest you take them by mistake or someone else gets a hold of them, such as a grandchild or burglar. Just bring your old medications with you and “drop them off.”

ä “Preparing for Emergencies” with Hillary Roberts, director for emergency services at the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross. Having a tropical storm graze the state a few weeks ago should convince anyone that being prepared is essential.

ä The Hazard House will be on hand, presented by Dan Bean from the Old Town Fire Department. This is an amazing exhibit. More home fires happen in the heating months than any other time of year.

ä “Identity Theft: It happens in Bangor, Too” with Mike DesRosiers, postal inspector from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Identity theft occurs when someone acquires your personal information and, in some cases, takes over bank accounts, Social Security benefits and applies for and runs up credit card debt. Often you are none-the-wiser until it is too late.

ä “Fraud: Always Question,” also with DesRosiers. Financial fraud involves fraudulent investments, usually through the mail, by phone or ads in the newspaper. And of course there is a cornucopia of other fraudulent activities.

ä “Elder Abuse and Exploitation” with Rick Mooers, program administrator with Adult Protective Services. There are an estimated 14,000 cases of elder abuse in Maine annually, and 84 percent go unreported.

ä “Financial Scams: Get the Facts to Keep Your Finances and Investments Safe” with Alyson Cummings, investor education manager with the Maine Office of Securities. In difficult economic times it is hard to know what to do with your money, retirement investments, stocks, etc.

ä “Protecting Your Financial Integrity” with Eric Corbett, certified fraud examiner and vice president security office with Bangor Savings Bank. Fraudulent checks, and lottery and banking schemes that target the elderly will be discussed.

Registration is required by Nov. 1, so call 941-2865 to reserve your spot. You also will be charmed by local humorist Fred Stone.

“A great many fraudulent activities are aimed at seniors,” said Ross. “This activity unfortunately is not decreasing, but is on the rise. New schemes and scams come along everyday and bilk millions of dollars from Americans every year. We want to increase the awareness through events like this and, I hope, help keep seniors from becoming victims.”

The event is sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, TRIAD, Eastern Area Agency on Aging, Maine Gerontological Society, Maine Sheriff’s Association, Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Lincoln Pulp and Paper, and Regal Printing.

Thanks to all of these organizations who care about the safety and well-being of seniors, and without whose support this event would not be possible.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail Higgins Taylor at chtaylor@eaaa.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, e-mail info@eaaa.org or log on EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.

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