Spotlight on Innovation: TEARS (Timely Elder Abuse Response Services)

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies of our 2017 Aging Innovation Award Winners with this spotlight feature. This week we shine a spotlight on Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut (AOASCC), winner in the Elder Abuse Prevention category.

Timely Elder Abuse Response Services (TEARS) first began in 2007 as a small forum to raise awareness of elder abuse among the general public and Aging Network professionals. At the time, the Connecticut State Plan on Aging identified elder abuse as a priority and AOASCC focus groups and consumer surveys revealed a lack of awareness about elder abuse trends and resources to prevent and treat elder abuse.

The first forum, held at a large senior housing complex after just six weeks of planning, drew a few residents, some regional senior center directors and residence services coordinators. A longer planning period and increased community outreach drew 75 attendees in the event's second year. In 2017, a targeted outreach partnership with AARP and a slate of nationally-recognized speakers drew 569 participants, with an increase in the number of consumer attendees. The conference is now a major annual event that attracts a multidisciplinary group including social workers, care managers, police, lawyers, public administrators and politicians.

Today, TEARS is a branded, comprehensive, multi-pronged elder abuse prevention strategy that includes the annual conference, as well as an expansion of a Multi-Disciplinary Team model bringing together diverse community sectors in multiple towns, maintenance of an elder abuse resource library, forums about elder abuse for the general public, distribution of an elder abuse resource directory and more.

AOASCC capitalized on their 2017 AIA award by featuring it on their social media channels and website, sending press releases to local media, and highlighting the achievement in fundraising activities for the conference. AOASCC also received recognition for the award from the Connecticut State Department on Aging, which included the TEARS conference as part of the official Connecticut State Plan on Aging.

To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners!



USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2024 winners!