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Senior Citizens Warned Against Elder Abuse
Pharmacists from Modesto and Oakdale Walgreens stores gave flu shots while a speaker from the Stanislaus Elder Abuse Prevention Agency (SEAPA) and Catholic Charities talked to local senior citizens about spotting elder abuse in a program staged at the Riverbank Scout Hall on Friday.

That event started at 8 a.m. even before the Christian Food Sharing group opened the doors to residents waiting for the regular Friday morning distribution of food to the needy.

A Modesto pharmacy manager Fernanda Anderson said she and Oakdale store manager Mary Tran had given 15 shots by 9 a.m. and hoped to give 85 more by 11 a.m., not only to the elderly but anybody who wanted them. Walgreens was offering the free clinic even this late in the season to ensure everybody is vaccinated against influenza this year.

Monica Ramos of SEAPA advised a group of seniors on how to look out for signs an older person is suffering abuse whether physical, mental or even financial, and how to report it to authorities so they can take action to stop it.

Sheriff's Sgt. Mike McEntire from the Riverbank office encouraged them to contact the police if they suspect abuse of elders. Older people are sometimes abused by friends or family, said bank executive Carla Strong of the Crossroads WestAmerica branch. She and other bank officials look out for indications during interviews that family members may be taking financial advantage of their elders.

Victims are often financially well-off, according to SEAPA's literature, often widows or widowers, live alone or with a grown child and fear hospitalization or removal from home. They rarely report victimization due to fear, embarrassment or belief the conduct is not criminal; are often permanently disabled and cannot recover from losses because they have no future earning ability.

Catholic Charities, SEAPA and a local financial institution are presenting a SAFE (Seniors Against Financial Exploitation) seminar on Friday, March 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CrossPoint Church's Family Life Pavilion, at the corner of 12th and Needham streets in Modesto. For more information call 209-529-3784 by Friday, March 9.