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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Rally Spotlights Elder Abuse Awareness

Press Release Date:  Friday, June 13, 2008  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014; or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 13, 2008) – Actor and Kentucky native William Mapother is leading a state and national effort to protect elders in a new public awareness campaign for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

The CHFS Department for Community Based Services has partnered with the National Council on Elder Abuse to produce public service announcements for television and radio, CHFS officials announced today at an Elder Abuse Awareness Rally in the Capitol Rotunda. 

Gov. Steve Beshear has declared today Elder Abuse Day in Kentucky. It is also World Elder Abuse Day.

At the rally, Mapother and elder abuse prevention advocates from across the state gathered to celebrate successes and recommit to preventing elder abuse.

Mapother, who has starred in TV’s “Lost” and movies such as “World Trade Center,” “Magnolia” and “In the Bedroom,” recorded both Kentucky-specific and national television and radio spots at a Louisville production studio while visiting his family last fall.

“Of course I was mindful of elder maltreatment, but when I became involved with this campaign, I was genuinely shocked at its magnitude and complexity,” Mapother said.

“We are thrilled to have a nationally known Kentuckian of William’s success to lead the campaign against elder abuse and neglect,” elder abuse specialist Kimberly Baker said. “William is a deeply caring and honest person, and his genuineness really shows in the PSAs.”

Baker said Mapother was very involved with the production from the start. “Because he’s a seasoned actor, he had great ideas for refining the scripts. It was phenomenal to use that expertise to improve the project.”   

CHFS has sent the PSA to the state’s television and radio stations along with a letter signed by Secretary Janie Miller.

In the letter, Miller writes, “This campaign is an encouraging start to the education and awareness process. … These PSAs will educate our citizens on how to recognize elder abuse and how to become a part of the process to prevent it.”

Also at the rally, awards were given to groups and individuals who exemplified their commitment to protecting seniors.

Mapother presented the Public Awareness Initiative Award to the Kentucky River Council Against Maltreatment of the Elderly (CAME). CAME received $500 for its continuing public awareness activities.

CAME is part of the state’s network of Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse (LCCEAs) that cover 115 counties. LCCEAs provide elder abuse education and outreach at the local and regional levels depending on the needs of the communities. Kentucky has the nation’s only network of such councils, which involve advocates from CHFS, law enforcement, volunteer agencies, businesses and all areas of the community.
Council leaders were recognized at the event and were given a tree sapling to plant in their communities in honor of the victims of elder abuse.
To become involved with your community’s LCCEA, contact state LCCEA coordinator Baker at (502) 564-6852 or

Recognize the Signs of Elder Abuse
If you believe an elderly person is being abused, neglected or exploited, call (800) 752-6200, the state’s abuse hot line. If you believe there is imminent risk, call 911 or local law enforcement immediately.
Learn to recognize the following signs of neglect and abuse.
─ Obvious malnutrition, dehydration
─ Dirty and uncombed hair, dirty and torn or climate inappropriate clothes, offensive body odor
─ Hoarding
─ Lack of glasses, dentures or hearing aid or lack of medical care
─ Bedsores
─ Recent suffering or loss of spouse, family members or close friends
Physical Abuse
─ Frequent injuries such as bruises, burns, broken bones; explanation of the injury seems unrealistic
─ Multiple bruises in various stages of healing, particularly bruises on inner arms or thighs
─ Pain on being touched
─ Loss of bowel and bladder control
─ Never leaves the house; never allowed visitors
─ Never mentions family or friends
Sexual Abuse
─ Evidence of sexually transmitted disease
─ Irritation or injuries to the mouth, genitals or anus
─ Upset when changed or bathed
─ Fearful of a particular person
─ Loss of bowel and bladder control
Emotional/Psychological Abuse
─ Isolated from family and friends
─ Sudden dramatic change in behavior: appears withdrawn, depressed, hesitant to talk openly
─ Caregiver won’t let victim speak for herself
─ Caregiver scolds, insults, threatens victim
─ Trembling, clinging
Financial Abuse
─ Unusual activity in bank account; sudden large withdrawals, expenditures that are not consistent with past financial history
─ Use of automated teller machines (ATM) when the person has no history of using ATMs or cannot walk
─ A recent will, when the person seems incapable of writing a will
─ Rights signed away on legal papers without understanding what the papers mean
─ Unpaid bills, such as house payment, rent, taxes, utilities

Get more information about recognizing the signs of elder abuse online at

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Last Updated 6/13/2008