In honor of Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, TRU PACE social worker Leslee Hecht recognized Boulder Senior Reach employees Jenifer Fischer and Janaki LeFils for their valuable contributions and concern for the well-being of elders in our community.
Here is Leslee’s story.
I nominated the Boulder Senior Reach Program because I learned about this tiny gem when I worked alongside their dynamic staff for a year at Mental Health Partners. I met with them again when I moved to TRU PACE and invited them to tour our center for a new resource for their clients, and more recently, when they referred a prospective participant to TRU PACE.
Senior Reach is a home-based support service that reaches out to our county’s most vulnerable elderly residents, including those in isolated mountain communities and those in rural areas, downtown Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, and other urban areas.
Often, these folks have the added challenges of behavioral health concerns as well as fixed income and lack of resources. Senior Reach offers home visits to provide brief counseling, support services and referral to resources to assist seniors to remain in the community and improve their lives and psychological functioning.
At a training last year I learned about their role in helping to expose a financial exploitation scheme targeting vulnerable adults and their work with the District Attorney to prosecute the perpetrators who preyed on these trusting elders.
In my work at PACE, they referred a struggling couple who were isolated with only meager in-home support to combat their medical challenges and increasing depression.
Senior Reach meets these clients where they are, accepting their choices about how they want to live but offering many resources and supports they may be unaware of to improve their lives and help them function in the challenging world they face now.
Many of these folks have no family, or no one close by, and have outlived their friends and loved ones, which make them vulnerable to those who could take advantage of their situation. The Senior Reach staff are often called angels, and I would agree their work is heroic and often stems the tide of abuse and neglect in the home.