Elder-Abuse-Hurts-600pxFinalThis blog spotlights Leanne Miller, an elder justice advocate and Ageless Alliance volunteer who was touched by elder abuse when her mother who has dementia was financially exploited by a family member. Leanne worked diligently to expose and end the abuse her mother faced as well as pursue justice through prosecution. After living through this incredibly traumatic and painful experience, she developed a passion for raising awareness of elder abuse and using her story to help others.

Leanne felt a calling to connect with others in the elder justice movement and/or touched by elder abuse and found healing in the process. She carries on her parents’ legacy by engaging in the work and demonstrating the strength they always displayed. She researched elder abuse and engaged with elder justice professionals on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Her goal was to learn more about the issue and engage in an open discussion that would help others affected by elder abuse.

Her efforts were met with many responses from professionals who helped her by providing resources and information. Leanne remained steadfast with her outreach and eventually ventured into LinkedIn and other discussion groups. Over time, she built a strong online presence and fostered relationships professionals in the field.

Ageless Alliance LogoAs a result, she connected with leaders and staff members from several elder justice focused organizations. Leanne was contacted by Kerry Burnight, PhD who serves as CEO of Ageless Alliance, 1 a national, non-profit grassroots organization working to promote aging with dignity and eliminate elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Dr. Burnight asked Leanne to serve as a volunteer by leading Ageless Alliance’s social media efforts. Leanne was excited by the opportunity to further collaborate with others in the field as well as reach a wide audience of people across the United States.

Day after day, Leanne helps others and honors her parents. Her dedication to the dignity and safety of older Americans is heroic and Ageless Alliance is deeply indebted to her.”                         –Kerry Burnight, PhD

Leanne has made many important contributions to the movement and her ongoing commitment is incredibly inspiring to many. Through her Ageless Alliance work and generally, she is focused on raising awareness of elder abuse, impacting elder justice policies and one day participating in the creation of a large public service announcement.

We thank Leanne for her dedication to the elder justice movement and for sharing her story to help others.

“Elder Abuse Hurts” graphic created by Nancy Oatts; nancyoattsdesign@gmail.com.

By Cara Kenien, LMSW, MPA, NYCEAC Social Media Manager

  1. Leanne works to spread the word about Ageless Alliance’s Elder Corps program to those who may benefit from services offered through this program.

5 Responses to Healing Through Elder Justice Advocacy

  1. When one suffers through such a terrible ordeal as Leanne experienced trying to protect her Mother from abuse, one has two choices: internalize the emotions and get eaten up with it, or externalize the emotions in a positive way. When we help others, we help ourselves heal.

    NASGA applauds the good example set by Leanne Miller and we join in thanking her for all she does for the elderly!

    Elaine Renoire
    NASGA President

  2. Cara Kenien says:

    Hi Elaine, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. We agree and join you in applauding Leanne!! Best, Cara

  3. Patti Kieffer says:

    More public awareness is needed in regard to elder abuse and exploitation. In addition, federal laws must address the on-going and increasing problem. Addictions are at the core of most instances of exploitation. These addictions are drug-alcohol- and gambling. The addict uses and exploits a parent in order to continue the addiction. When an elder makes a change in Medical/Financial Power of Attorneys or changes an executor of a will, what safe guards are in place ? Any one who is appointed should submit to a criminal back round check and a credit check and a drug test. Lawyers need to be educated about the red flags of elder exploitation. Lawyers should have permission to view an elder’s medical record or contact the physician to verify a dementia diagnosis. There needs to be a coordination of knowledge between physicians, attorneys and social services. The penalties for abuse and exploitation should be severe. Too often, an addicted family member isolates and controls the elder. The suffering that the elder endures includes anxiety, worry, fear, and shame. When any one applies for a driver’s license, a gun permit, a professional license, guardianship etc- a back round check is done. Why should this not be the case with a Medical/ Financial Power of Attorney or executor ??? and include a credit and drug check !? People who adopt rescue pets are screened much more carefully .

    • NYCEAC says:

      NYCEAC agrees with you that much more prevention – and much more public awareness and professional education – is needed to stem the tide of this national epidemic. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Couldn’t agree more, Patti. Substance abuse and serial unemployment are red flags for elder abuse. Time and time again undue influence is used to gain control over an elder’s assets. A DPOA is not a license to steal. ‘Early inheritance syndrome’ is rampant worldwide.
    The consequences of elder abuse are devastating and severely compromises the welfare of victims. We need accountability on all fronts.

    Ageless Alliance
    United Against Elder Abuse

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