The Meals on Wheels
(MOW) program utilizes volunteers to deliver meals to home-bound elders
over the age of 60 and is committed to identifying their clients in need
of assistance. In many rural areas, the MOW volunteer is the elder's only
connection to the outside world. Meal programs are often offered in conjunction
with other elder service programs allowing for contact with other staff
and social work professionals as well as MOW volunteers. Because these
staff and volunteers typically have a positive relationship with their
clients, elders may be more willing to confide in them about abuse issues.
For this reason, the Rural Victimization Project has sought to train elder
services staff and volunteers to identify and assist victims of elder
domestic abuse who might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
in Later Life: A Competency-Based Training Manual for Meals on Wheels
Volunteers and Other Elder Services Staff was developed specifically
for human services professionals in the aging field. In addition to chapters
on the dynamics of domestic violence, overcoming rural barriers, and utilizing
community resources, it contains information specific to the additional
barriers to leaving an abusive relationship faced by elders as well as
the impact of abuse on nutritional outcomes. The heart of the manual teaches
professionals to spot the signs of abuse, how to ask a potential victim
about abuse, and how to refer victims to the proper agencies for services.
The Rural Victimization
MOW Training Pilot Project was initiated in 1999 and, to-date, hundreds
of volunteers and elder services staff have received in-service training.
The Institute has also trained elder services volunteers and professionals
in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Georgia as well. Also, national
organizations, such as the Meals on Wheels Association of America have
supported this training initiative and have allowed for its provision
at national conferences.
In order to meet the
demand for training, a video was developed for those unable to attend
an Institute training event. Escaping the Shadows: Identifying and
Assisting Victims of Elder Domestic Abuse is a 20 minute training
video that describes how to spot a victim abuse, how to talk to a potential
victim about abuse, and how to refer them to the proper agencies for services.
In addition, a new Train the Trainer booklet was developed to allow those who attend
an Institute training to return to their hometowns and provide the training
· Florida's Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) and Other Nutrition ProgramStaff
on Wheels Volunteers & Other Elder Services Staff
Animal Abuse Investigators