Advocates sought for elderly, disabled |

Advocates sought for elderly, disabled

Staff Reports

Coordinator John Giomi is recruiting a new class of volunteer advocates to protect Douglas County’s elderly and disabled from abuse and exploitation.

Classes begin Sept. 28 for Special Advocates For the Elderly who will be trained to visit and monitor referred cases and provide the courts with information.

The program is modeled after the county’s Court-Appointed Special Advocates for children and a Washoe County program that serves the elderly.

Giomi said training will be held 2-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for three weeks at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center in Minden.

“I need 10-15 more volunteers to add to the 10 we have,” Giomi said.

He said if volunteers can’t make all the classes, arrangements can be made to cover the information.

“We’re looking for people from all walks of life,” he said.

SAFE’s volunteers visit and monitor referred adults of concern in the community and various institutions, and provide the courts with additional information collected by a trained and independent volunteer who can take the time to check out the facts, one client at a time, and report directly to the court, Giomi said.

If court proceedings are instituted, a SAFE advocate may be appointed to speak for the best interests of the adult, he said. SAFE may aid in investigating the circumstances of the adult’s life and in reading and interpreting financial statements.

The SAFE advocate may also work with the referred adult or family to help them find local resources to meet their needs, Giomi said.

Volunteers will be trained so that they have general knowledge of state and federal laws governing the care of fragile adults in a variety of situations, he said.

Volunteers will also be trained so that they understand common medical conditions affecting elderly adults, appreciate differences based on culture or age, and the family process, and become familiar with the services available in this area.

People interested in becoming SAFE advocates are asked to call Giomi at (877) 610-2345, or e-mail: