Graduate Student Helps Improve Local Services to Victims of Elder Abuse

Taylor Perre, wearing a blue and yellow floral shirt, poses for a portrait photograph in front of shrubbery.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 9, 2021) — A School of Public Health and School of Social Welfare student assisted in developing multi-disciplinary teams designed to fight elder abuse in the Capital Region — teams that monitor and track services provided to victims, identify gaps in service and work to create systemic change.

Taylor Perre, currently working towards her MPH/MSW, worked for LifePath (a non-profit senior service organization) in partnership with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York to develop the Albany County Elder Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team. The team includes legal entities, domestic violence agencies, Adult Protective Services, senior-serving agencies and other professionals who can assist in resolving issues related to elder abuse.

“It was exciting to see so many people from different disciplines interested in being a part of the team,” said Perre. “It reiterated the importance of networking and building relationships with others in the community who are doing similar or related work. I have learned this work can be difficult, but it is very important.”

Perre also played a critical role in drafting the policy and procedure handbook to help guide the team’s work.

“Elder abuse, neglect and exploitation are widespread yet underreported, and it can be complicated to try to prevent,” Perre explains. “Coming together with an elder abuse multi-disciplinary team enables our community to better help bring justice and prevent further abuse or exploitation from occurring.”

The project is part of a statewide initiative to develop elder abuse multi-disciplinary teams. The Albany County team will serve as a foundation to guide development of teams in Schenectady, Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties.

Perre had applied to intern with LifePath out of an interest in learning more about older adults and resources available for them in the community. The position solidified her desire to work in policy or programming that benefits older adults.

“My mentor exposed me to a lot of new experiences and new information, and this internship solidified my interest serving this population,” says Perre. “Elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation are social, health and economic issues. We are all aging and will hopefully all be older adults someday. These issues will not go away on their own.”