The Georgia Council on Aging honored Sandy Hodson with a Special Contribution Award before an enthusiastic crowd of over 110 people at the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly July meeting. The annual meeting took place on Thursday, July 12, at the Methodist Children’s Home in Macon, Georgia.
Hodson was recognized because of her diligent coverage of elder abuse issues in the Augusta area especially unlicensed personal care homes. The abuse of at-risk adults is one of the most undetected and underreported problems in the U.S. Unlicensed personal care homes are often places where abuse happens, particularly abuse of those who have a physical or mental disability or simply have nowhere else to go. Hodson did what advocates, law enforcement and human services professionals could not do: she shone a light on elder abuse in the Augusta area and influenced the public discussion. “Her coverage lit the fire that led to the formation of the CAVE Unit (Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly) in Augusta” according to Vicki Johnson, Chair, Georgia Council on Aging. CAVE is the multidisciplinary team in Augusta that has led to greater detecting and reporting of abuse.
The Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly (CO-AGE) was begun and led by the Georgia Council on Aging. It is a diverse group of organizations, individuals, consumers and providers interested in “aging specific” and inter-generational issues. The coalition is meant to be a forum to identify and address concerns of older Georgians; a vehicle for bringing broad-based input on aging issues from across the state as well as a unifying force communicating the importance of providing supportive communities and adequate services and programs for older Georgians.
The Georgia Council on Aging (GCOA) was created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1977 to advise the governor, assembly, and state agencies on matters relating to Georgia’s seniors. Members of the 20-person council, drawn from every region of the state, also advocate for aging Georgians and their families and make recommendations to lawmakers and agencies on programs for seniors.