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“Not Forgotten” Campaign of the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (TDPRS)
Because isolation is a primary risk factor for elder and vulnerable adult abuse, TDPRS has focused on reducing isolation in its “Not Forgotten” campaign. Elders and dependent adults are advised to stay active in their communities, and concerned citizens are encouraged to look out for their vulnerable neighbors. Information about the aging process, abuse and available resources is also provided. The campaign also emphasizes that APS alone can’t protect the state’s vulnerable citizens and asks for the community’s support in serving clients. The campaign was launched in conjunction with the governor’s proclamation of Elder Abuse Prevention Month and promoted with a press conference and video news releases.
TDPRS worked with a production company and media outlets to produce a variety of materials, including PSAs that feature APS personnel and clients who have agreed to share their experiences. Novelty items, including pens, magnets, magnifiers and rulers with the “Not Forgotten” message are distributed at the state’s annual APS conference, seminars and senior fairs. Protective service staff also pass out the items at presentations. Another key component of the campaign is the Elder Abuse Prevention Kit, which includes fact sheets, sample scripts and storyboards for PSAs, camera-ready artwork and other resources in English and Spanish. The kit, available on TDPRS’ web site, was produced for regional TDPRS offices to use and share with other groups in their communities. In 2003, TDPRS began partnering with the Texas Department of Aging to produce the kits, which are now also being used by area agencies on aging.
TDPRS works with elder abuse advisory boards, local groups that provide support to APS clients, to meet the demand for services. The boards operate “Silver Star Rooms,” resource centers that provide food, supplies and clothes to protective service clients. The boards also raise funds to make local shelters “elder-ready” and sponsor caseworkers to counsel abused elders.
Obstacles encountered in carrying out the campaign included finding victims who were willing to talk on camera. Some don’t understand what has happened to them, and others don’t want to talk about it. There were also unanticipated expenses, including royalties to an actor whose likeness appears in photographs, the PSA and educational videos. The royalties were based on use within the state for 3 years; to use them longer requires negotiating additional royalties. Materials can be sent to other states, but those that want to adapt them, using the same actor, have to negotiate a contract.
The impact of the campaign has been monitored by an audience survey, which tracked public response in the 13 weeks following the launch. TDPRS hired a commercial service to provide an accounting of the number of times the PSA was played in selected markets. The PSAs were viewed by more than 5.5 million viewers, of whom, 1.25 million were aged 55 and over.
Tips from Paula Mixson, Former Division Administrator
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