Is it ridiculing an elder for having difficulty with the common language in the adopted country? Or yelling at an older person to hurry them up?
Is it leaving a bedridden senior home alone for hours on end without access to food and the facility for natural relief? Or forcing a parent to surrender pension checks to keep it safe?
ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment, a nonprofit all-volunteer organization based in Daly City, is partnering with the Philippine Consulate General, Holy Child & St. Martin Episcopal Church and Thomasians USA to define, depict and prevent elder abuse in their 10th annual “Our Family, Our Future” 1-3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 30 at Holy Child & St. Martin Episcopal Church here.
Free and open to the public, the education presentation and provider resource fair will bring together advocates, public and private service agencies and officials united by their common objective: to promote dignity and self-sufficiency among the elderly.
Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr. and HCSM pastor Rev. Leonard Oakes will address the importance of education on the eve of May, Older Americans Month.
Special guest speaker Cynthia Bonta, founding director of the Philippine National Day Association, will share her insights as a mother, grandmother and community organizer. Philippine National Day Association is a 26-year-old nonprofit that develops leadership among younger Filipino Americans.
Longtime ALLICE allies Lloyd LaCuesta, retired KTVU Channel 2 News South Bay Bureau Chief, and Frances Dinglasan, General Assignment Reporter, KGO Channel 7 News, will take to the stage anew as co-emcees.
In what has become a much-anticipated performance, the Kumares and Kumpares, as ALLICE members are called, will enact situations illustrating unhealthy and healthy interaction with seniors.
“Our hope is for the audience to reinforce dynamics that are supportive and compassionate, and refrain from those that are potentially abusive,” said Dr. Jei Africa, 2016 president of ALLICE and Equity and Diversity Program Director of the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Dept. of the San Mateo County Health System.
Family health resource providers will attend to consult about their programs and services with attendees. The participating organizations are: Asian American Recovery Services (AARS), Always Best Care, Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA), Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities, Elder and Dependent Adult Protection Plan Team (EDAPT), Filipino Mental Health Initiative San Mateo (FMHI), Health Plan of San Mateo, Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program of San Mateo County (HICAP), Kaiser Permanente Filipino Association (KPFA), Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, Peninsula Family Services, Pilipino Senior Resource Center, Seton Medical Center/Verity Foundation, and StarVista.
The behaviors earlier cited hurt the older person physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially and are thus unhealthy and potentially abusive, according to ALLICE community educators, who attend continuing training in the dynamics of family violence.
Unhealthy behavior toward the elderly by their children or younger relatives often is minimized as unintentional and fueled by work-related stress. Unchecked, the pattern can result in serious consequences on the seniors' overall well-being.
“They lose their self-confidence,” said Africa, who is also founding officer of the Filipino Mental Health Initiative and member of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission.
“Abuse is a pattern of behavior where one individual dominates the other through various attacks, whether deliberate or not,” Africa explained. “The behavior could be as seemingly harmless as copying a parent or older relative's foreign accent. Constant mocking, however, can humiliate the object of the teasing, lowering the individual's self-esteem.”
On the other hand, he added, pressuring the parent to turn in their pension against their will also is potentially abusive because it takes autonomy away from the parent. The parent is diminished into financial dependency that likewise affects their self-esteem.
Financial abuse is the most common form of abuse reported in San Mateo County, home of the highest concentration of Filipinos in the continental U.S. Daly City, where Filipinos outnumber populations of color, and Redwood City have the most referrals of abuse received by the San Mateo County Aging and Adult Services.
Ninety percent of reported abuses “involved a family member of caregiver,” according to a report from the County-sponsored Elder and Dependent Adult Protection Team presented April 11 to the SMC Commission on Aging.
“This finding boosts our belief that education is the first step to ending all forms of abuse,” said Cherie Querol Moreno, executive director of ALLICE and a member of the San Mateo County Commission on Aging. “We don’t realize the damage we might be inflicting on those we should be protecting. For this reason, our team dedicates our spring presentation to enlightening the community by offering alternative behaviors that foster harmony at home and beyond.”
To stop elder abuse, ALLICE is collaborating with the Philippine Consulate General, Thomasians USA, San Mateo Behavioral Health & Recovery Services, Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center, Philippine Association of University Women, Philippine News, Philippines Today, Positively Filipino, GMA News Online and The Filipino Channel.
Refreshments will be served compliments of donor allies Lucky Chances, Moonstar, Hapag Filipino, Cafe Savini, Noah's Bagels and Chalet Ticino.
Allen Capalla, Bettina Santos Yap, Cecile Gregorio-Ascalon, Edna Murray, Elsa Agasid, Erlinda Galeon, Jennifer Jimenez Wong, Joanne del Rosario, Jose Antonio, Leonard Oakes, Malou Aclan, Nellie Hizon, Paulita lasola Malay, Randy Caturay, Sarah Jane Ilumin, Teresa Guingona Ferrer, and V. Mark Reburiano complete the current roster of ALLICE. The nonprofit it named after honorary chair Alice Bulos, widely acknowledged as the “godmother of the Filipino American community.”
For more information, call the Philippine Consulate (650) 433-6666 or Holy Child & St. Martin Episcopal Church (650) 991-1560.