Elder abuse prevention conference coming to Brooklyn Center

An annual state conference centered on the awareness and prevention of elder abuse will be coming to Brooklyn Center next month.

To recognize the 12th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Day, the Minnesota Elder Justice Center will host its 11th annual Minnesota World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference Wednesday, June 14, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. The yearly observance was created by the United Nations International Plan of Action to recognize the growing prevalence of elder abuse as both a human rights and financial concern.

The 2017 conference is titled “Accelerating Towards Justice,” and despite its focus on professionals who work with older adults, the conference will be open to the general public.

“It’s designed for professionals, but it’s absolutely open to the public,” said Elder Justice Center Outreach Coordinator Katie Behrens. “Anyone with an interest in working to eliminate elder abuse.”

The all-day event begins at 8 a.m. with registration, exhibits and a continental breakfast, followed by an opening welcome session, and then an hour-long keynote address by Jonathan Martinis, senior director for law and policy at The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Martinis will discuss the topic of supported decision-making.

“Supportive decision-making is a new trend working to replace substitute decision-making,” said Behrens. “It’s a way for older adults or vulnerable adults (to) have a longer period of independence, so they’re still being included in the decisions that directly impact their own lives. The thought is that will improve quality of life.”

Throughout the rest of the day, attendees will alternate between visiting exhibitors and attending concurrent breakout sessions, before the event ends at 4 p.m.

“Breakout sessions are typically designed for professionals working with older and vulnerable adults: law enforcement, adult protection, social workers,” said Behrens. “It’s an all-day conference, so there will be a keynote speaker and three breakout sessions that’ll each have four sessions at a time.”

As of this writing, 20 exhibitors have signed up for the event, including Meals on Wheels, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Better Business Bureau, the Minnesota Judicial Branch, AARP, and the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging. Other organizations interested in having an exhibit booth can reserve a space for $125 if they’re nonprofit or a government group, and $250 if they’re for-profit.

Registration is currently limited to 600 attendees. Those interested in attending the event can register for $65, which includes breakfast, lunch and coffee service. Registration can be completed at mnweaad2017.eventbrite.com. Earle Brown Heritage Center is located at 6155 Earle Brown Drive in Brooklyn Center.

For more information on the event and the Minnesota Elder Justice Center, visit elderjusticemn.org, or call Katie Behrens at 651-440-9304.

Contact Christiaan Tarbox at [email protected]