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Southwest Virginia Organizations Join Forces to Combat Elder Abuse on August 30th

Posted on 07/15/19

Female doctor in white uniform hold purple violet ribbon awareness in hand.

Agencies and organizations across Southwest Virginia are joining forces to combat elder abuse.

In commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, the group is pleased to announce that the region’s second annual elder abuse conference will be held on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Focus of the training will be “Understanding Capacity, Consent & Undue Influence.”

The Elder Abuse Planning Group, which is led by Southwest Virginia Legal Aid, includes representatives from the region’s four area agencies on aging (Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens, District Three Governmental Cooperative, Mountain Empire Older Citizens, and New River Valley Area Agency on Aging); law enforcement officers from the Christiansburg Police Department, the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, and the Virginia State Police; APS professionals from Wise County and the Western Region; and the Wise County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Representing the financial services sector is New Peoples Bank, and healthcare representatives include Anthem Healthkeeper’s Plus and Heritage Hall.

Sally Balch Hurme is one of the many distinguished speakers attending this conference. She has led the national conversation on many of the legal issues of concern to older persons, their families, and their caregivers. She is recently retired after more than 20 years at AARP. Early in her legal career, she was a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northern Virginia, where she also was the pro bono coordinator. She’s served multiple terms on the Board of Directors of the National Guardianship Association and the Center for Guardianship Certification. Hurme is the author of the award-winning ABA/AARP Checklist series: Checklist for Family Caregivers, Checklist for My Family, Checklist for Family Survivors, and Get the Most Out of Retirement.

Keynote this year will be provided by Paul Greenwood, a former San Diego prosecutor who is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert on the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse. Paul is back by overwhelming demand from last year’s attendees, and in addition to his keynote on multidisciplinary teams (he developed the nation’s first MDT Handbook on elder abuse), he will also provide a deeper dive into prosecuting financial crimes against the elderly.

Other trainers include:

  • David Godfrey, senior attorney at the ABA Commission on Law & Aging, who is responsible for the ABA’s role in the National Center on Law and Elder Rights, and also serves as program chair for the annual National Aging and Law Conference, who will train on the ethics of capacity, consent, and undue influence;
  • award-winning neuroscientist and educator Dr. Paul Aravich, who – making use of brains donated to the Virginia Anatomical Gift Act Program – will provide an interactive, hands-on training focused on normal brain aging and cognitive incapacity, contrasting various dementias and other behavioral health disorders related to elder abuse; and
  • David Hominik, who serves as the Commonwealth’s Legal Services Developer, and helped develop the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Virginia-specific guides on managing someone else’s money, who will train on fiduciaries, including representative payees, trustees, and court-appointed conservators;
  • among many others.

Additional sessions will focus on mail fraud and scams targeting the elderly; advocating for the rights of older adults with disabilities; the impact of culture, for both good and ill, on elder abuse in rural areas; healthy “self-care” for the helping professions; and the vital role of financial institutions in monitoring for and combatting against elder exploitation.


This training has been approved for 6.0 Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) credit hours and for 6.0 CLE credits for magistrates and clerks. Continuing education credits for attorneys and PIC-3 credits for law enforcement professionals are pending.

This educational activity can be claimed for AMA PRA Category 2 Credit. For more information on claiming Category 2 credit, please visit Virginia Board of Medicine Licensure Requirements. It may also count toward continuing education hours for APS workers, subject to supervisor’s approval.


Registration information, including both the link to register online (which is strongly encouraged) and the cancellation policy, is included on page 9 of the brochure. The registration link is included here for your convenience:

Cost is $30 for registrations received on or before Aug. 12, $40 for registrations received after Aug. 12 (pending availability).

Requests for cancellation must be received in writing on or before Aug. 12, 2019. Refunds, less a $5 non-refundable processing fee, will be processed within 30 days. No cancellations will be accepted after Aug. 12, 2019, although agencies may substitute registrants up to and including the day of the training.

If you are unable to register online, you can complete and submit your registration form by mail, along with your check made payable to Southwest Virginia Legal Aid. Both the form and mailing instructions are on page 9 of the brochure. Regrettably, registrations cannot be accepted by phone.


If you have any questions, please contact Daveena Sexton, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid,

(276) 783-8300, ext. 2012 or Sarah Angles , ext. 2009.

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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