NOVA’s education programs for older adults and people with disabilities provide information and skills that enable them to maximize their independence and remain in their home or community. The following is a list and description of the programs we will deliver on-site to older adults and people with disabilities. All programs offer accompanying parent and teacher training.
According to the National Victim Center, while senior citizens are less often victimized by crime than those in other age groups, they tend to suffer greater economic, physical and mental harm than their younger counterparts. They are twice as likely as victims of other ages to be seriously injured and require hospitalization when victimized and they are more likely to suffer permanent disability than younger victims. Finally, seniors are more at risk of falling prey to fraud and con games than their younger counterparts, and many lose their savings in such schemes.
Bucks County has approximately 140,000 senior citizens (22% of total population) over the age of 60. Of that number, 30% are over the age of 75. Of those served by the Area Agency on Aging in 1995, 25% were poor, 25% had a functional disability and 33% lived alone. While the District Attorney does not keep statistics of prosecutions by the age of the victim, both the police and District Attorney report that seniors are often fearful or embarrassed and thus when given the choice they tend not to use the criminal justice system.
Until NOVA initiated the Senior Outreach Program, there were no organized programs in Bucks County that provided education to seniors about reducing risk of victimization and getting help when needed. In cooperation with the Area Agency on Aging, NOVA’s Senior Outreach Program has provided outreach and education to increase awareness of the criminal justice system and NOVA’s services and provide crime prevention information and safety planning for older adults. The project has also provided education programs for seniors, trainings for professionals who work with seniors and in-home safety assessments for selected participants.
Education programs have been offered at senior centers and in other locations where seniors congregate. Written information is distributed so that learning can be reinforced at home. Additionally, brochures about risk reduction strategies and in-home assessments are distributed to homebound seniors through the home delivered meal program. Trainings are provided for professional caregivers, clergy and others who may have contact with homebound seniors to help them assess risk to the senior and make appropriate referrals when needed.
For more information contact Mandy Mundy, Director of Education, NOVA, 215-343-6543.
People with Disabilities
Crime victimization is a traumatic experience for any individual. For an individual with a disability, the problems are much more complex and may serve to intensify or prolong the trauma. NOVA has developed specialized programs that we offer within the five county Philadelphia region to assist persons with disabilities who have experienced crime, to help reduce risk of victimization and to help professionals and caretakers understand the needs of victims with disabilities. We are now one of a handful of organizations recognized nationally for our expertise in providing personal safety and risk reduction programs for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities.
For more information or to schedule a training session, call Eleanor Wilhelm at 215-343-6543.