The City of Palos Verdes Estates’ Senior Program; PVE-CARES.
In 2004, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department, in an effort to address the rise in crimes against seniors, or what is commonly referred to as “Elder Abuse,” designed a program called PVE-CARES (PVE-Care, Assistance, Resources, Education, and Socials).
The aging process is something that will affect each one of us. With the advances in technology, diet, and exercise, individuals are living longer, fuller lives. With the growing population of senior citizens (age 65 and older) also comes a number of challenges for law enforcement.
“By 2025 1 out of every 4 Americans will be 65 years of age or older”
When one thinks of “abuse,” the common association is that of a physical nature. California Penal Code Section 368, which defines “Elder Abuse,” also includes mental suffering and anguish, neglect which may endanger a person or his/her health, and theft or embezzlement of funds. Statistics show that crimes against this particular age group is on the rise.
“Seniors lose $36.5 billion per year to financial elder abuse”
Sadly, there are many individuals who prey on the elderly. Most seniors grew up in an age where people respected their elders, there was a great deal of trust between people, and therefore, often become victims because of their trusting nature.
PVE-CARES was designed to provide education, available resources and socialization for Palos Verdes Estates’ senior residents so that they may avoid becoming victims as well as be able to live independently, in their own homes, for as long as possible.
With the utilization of a select group of volunteers within the community, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department created a Reference File with the names and addresses of PVE residents, age 65 and older. The goal is to visit residents and determine specific needs, if any, of the individual and refer them to one of many existing organizations. The impetus behind PVE-CARES is to act as a “referral hub” between law enforcement and other organizations, while providing safety, comfort and dignity as well as educate seniors on how to avoid becoming a victim of elder abuse.
All volunteers are caring PVE residents with a passion to help seniors. Volunteers have completed a thorough background check and have passed the PVE Police Department sponsored training.
PVE-CARES Events and Services
PVE-CARES typically holds 5-6 events each year. Rotating between educational and social, over the years, many of the events have remained constant, being well received by members. A sample of the PVE-CARES events are:
- Spring Event (March) – Introduces a topic of interest; technology (grandPad), medical (Mind Boosters), social (student working with seniors)
- May Social – Has been a Senior’s Prom, musical or theatrical production
- Summer Concert (July) – in Lunada Bay (Chaussee’s Big Band)
- Doctor’s Talk (Sept) – Panel of Doctors speak
- Senior Health & Wellness Fair (Oct) – Over 45 exhibitors, flu shots and more
Why Should You Join PVE-CARES?
We would like to have you as one of our members. If your name and address are part of our Reference File, we can periodically touch base with you to offer assistance. The program is free and is fully funded by the City of Palos Verdes Estates. By registering we can be sure to include you on our invitations to our social and educational events.
Please complete the “New Member Registration” found here and return to:
340 Palos Verdes Drive West
Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274-1299
Or contact my office and myself or a volunteer will pick up your registration. Your information will always remain confidential. It is retained by the Program Coordinator, your assigned volunteer, and if needed emergency responders.
File of Life
If you have registered with PVE-CARES, but have not received the “File of Life”, please call the Program Coordinator at the above listed number. The “File of Life” is a tool that speaks for you when you are unable to do so yourself and allows First Responders (Police and Paramedics) to have access to your pertinent medical information. Remember, in an emergency every second counts. This tool can save you or the life of a loved one.
PVE Cares and Palos Verdes Police Department: (310) 378-4211 ext. 2121
PVE CARES Coordinator: Community Relations Officer Marcelle Herrera
Peninsula Seniors (310) 377-3003 - Social Activities
- Alzheimer’s Association (323) 938-3379 - Memory Loss/Dementia
- H.E.L.P. (310) 533-1996 - Aging-Related Legal and Care Challenges
- Palos Verdes Transit (310) 544-1708 - Transportation Issues
From Left: Chief Jeff Kepley, Ruth Gralow, Marianne Werner, Ray Werner, Jo Chiles, Margo Greenberg, Lynn Fernandez, Carolyn Bazak, Sheryl Hammond, Lenore McCormack Front: Joyce Martinsen, Norma Burns, Mary Curtin, Olive O'Brien
Tips on protecting yourself or your loved ones - “Protect Yourself From Financial Abuse”
Financial abuse or exploitation is the illegal or improper use of another individuals resources for personal profit or gain. Also referred to as fiduciary abuse, economic abuse or financial mistreatment, it encompasses a broad range of conduct, and may include:
- theft of money, property or identity
- failure to provide agreed upon services
- refusal to return borrowed money or property
- exercise of undue influence
It is estimated that approximately 65,000 reported incidents of financial exploitation occur each year in California. There are also that many additional cases that go un-reported because the victim is embarrassed, fearful of reprisal or still dependent on the abuser.
Seniors and elders in our community are subjected to telemarketing scams, investment fraud, con artists and other forms of financial abuse that strip them of their assets and financial security. They can be victimized by family members, caregivers, friends and strangers. By following a few simple Do’s and Don’ts, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of financial abuse.
- Use direct deposit for your checks
- Shred all documents containing personal information
- Check your credit report annually
- Check your bank statement for unauthorized withdrawals or unusual activity
- Cancel unused or seldom used credit cards
- Document all financial arrangements
- Keep money and valuables secured
- Keep PIN numbers and passwords secure
- Stay abreast of the latest scams so you are forewarned
- Check references and call the Better Business Bureau to verify authenticity before
contracting for any services.
- Allow yourself to become socially isolated. Social isolation increases your risk ofbecoming a victim, so make sure you have regular outside contact with friends andfamily.
- Respond to internet, telemarketing or door-to-door solicitations. Offers of prizesand special deals are often scams. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Hire household help without performing a background check. Make sure the agency you use checks their employees. If you are hiring directly, be sure to investigate thoroughly.
- Sign documents without understanding them. Make sure you always understandthe fine print.
Be Aware of Scams
While anyone can fall prey to the many scams that are out there, seniors/elderly are particularly vulnerable. We would once again like to emphasize some key points to keep in mind: (1) Never give your personal information (especially your Social Security Number) to anyone; (2) Don’t fall prey to telemarketers – ask for a supervisor’s name and/or call back number to verify if the organization is legitimate. Many times, after asking for this information, the caller will hang up – this should indicate that the call was probably an attempt to scam you; (3) Never let anyone into your house or onto your property to perform some work or service unless you have previously arranged for it.
Recently, there were several burglaries in Rancho Palos Verdes related to a tree-trimming scam where the suspects usually targeted elderly victims. In each incident, the suspect pretended to work for a tree-trimming service and informed the victim that they needed to go to the backyard of the residence to show him/her trees that needed to be trimmed. During this time, a second suspect entered the residence and stole the victim’s money and jewelry. The good news is that the Sheriff’s Department arrested five individuals related to this recent scam. As always, anytime you are having work done, get at least three bids before hiring someone to perform the work. By obtaining as many bids as possible, you will have an idea as to what the job will cost and if one of the bids is considerably higher or lower than the others, this should raise your suspicion.
For many people, it happens in their 40’s or 50’s. They wake up and realize they’re aging. Luckily, it’s never too late to combat the effects of time. Studies show that preventative measures help ward off disease and disability and keep you feeling good well past your 60’s and 70’s. Some good age-defying ideas:
You are what you eat. Healthy bodies need high-quality nutrition. Eat small, frequent meals with protein (thick nuts, bean spreads and low-fat cheese), whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, fish) and at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Use it or lose it. Exercise does wonders for cholesterol levels, bone strength, flexibility and mood. Aim for moderate to vigorous-intensity exercise and physical activity most days of the week. Exercise is also crucial to reaching or maintaining a healthy weight – another key health factor.
Avoid “the vices.” Quitting smoking is hard, but the sooner you break the habit, the sooner your lungs heal from the damage that smoking causes. Limit alcohol if you drink at all.
These simple suggestions are surprisingly powerful. Follow them and significantly cut your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Start with a few changes: Walk briskly ten minutes a day or add an apple or salad to a daily meal. Even modest changes help. While no one has found an elixir of youth, this formula may be the next best thing to extending your youth and longevity.
Strong Bones For Life
- Get Plenty of Calcium. It’s a bone builder. Sources: low fat milk and yogurt, cheese, broccoli, and a calcium supplement.
- Don’t forget Vitamin D. This vitamin helps your body absorb calcium. Sources: salmon and some varieties of milk.
- Stand up for Strength. Do weight bearing exercises such as water aerobics or brisk walking, and strength training with weights or elastic bands.
- Ask about a bone scan. Talk to your health care provider about scheduling a bone density test.
PVE- CARES (Palos Verdes Estates Community Assistance and Resources for the Elderly and Seniors) is a unique program created by our PVE Police Department to assist in “Caring for Those Who Cared for Us.” PVE-CARES offers many resources to help senior residents prepare to stay safe and independent in their own homes.
Any PVE resident age 65 and older or any “dependent adult” age 18 to 64 may register for PVE-CARES. A dependent adult is defined as anyone with physical or mental limitations that restrict one’s ability to carry on normal activities or to protect rights.
You can register by calling the PVE-CARES Coordinator, at (310)378-4211 ext. 2131. After you have submitted your name, address and telephone number, a PVE-CARES Volunteer will schedule a time to meet with you and register you for the program and explain the benefits offered.
PVE-CARES Senior Health Fair
PVE-CARES sponsors a Senior Awareness/Health Fair Day annually in the Fall. The fair offers free flu shots for seniors, other medical screenings, a sampling of local resources available for seniors, and drawings for prizes.