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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
  • Pay close attention to any restrictions placed on the materials you produce and be sure to budget for any ongoing expenses you will have to pay, such as royalties for actors.
  • Keep the message active, and update images.
  • Plan and budget for the continuation of the campaign. Set aside funds for leveraging free media.
  • To save on printing, limit the use of time-sensitive data such as statistical reports. When it’s time to print new materials, it’s much easier to change one page than multiple pages. I have a hunch Texas may eventually eliminate all statistics from the materials, directing people instead to their local offices or the web site. Similarly, leaving dates and “tables of contents” out of our information packets permits us to use the same cover design from year to year and rearrange or modify the contents.
  • Plan a way to evaluate the outcome of your campaign from the beginning.    You need ways to measure results, not just processes. If your campaign yields worthwhile, measurable outcomes, you can leverage this into further support. In the same vein, document your campaign with photographs, copies of newspaper stories and client stories.

Last Updated: September 28, 2006  Top

     
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