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Tuesday, May 26, 2015: Office on Aging conference focuses on elderly abuse, health: By Junhan B. Todiño – – Variety News Staff

ANY person, including a family member, who tells a senior citizen “you are worthless” can be penalized by law, according to Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.
On Friday, NMPASI program manager Thomas Thornburgh and projects specialist Greg Borja were invited to speak about “elderly abuse” during the annual Office on Aging conference at the Pacific Islands Club.
Thornburgh and Borja spoke to about 100 senior citizens, including those from Tinian, about the physical and mental abuse that may be experienced by the elderly.
They told the manamko’ that their family members may face neglect charges if they fail to provide food and clothing to their elders.
They said if somebody consumes the food intended for an adult elder, leaving that senior citizen hungry, that person may be penalized or even imprisoned Those who are aware that senior citizens are being abused but are not relaying the information to the authorities can also face charges, Thornburgh and Borja said.
Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Laura Ogumoro said the conference was very productive.
“There was a lot of interaction with the manamko’,” she said, adding that NMPASI also provided them good information about elderly abuse.
Although they have no cases of elderly abuse at the Office on Aging, it is still a concern because some family members may not be reporting such incidents, Ogumoro said.
Also during the conference, Rose Castro, a nutrition educator assistant from Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Resource Services, spoke about health and informed the manamko’ about the sugar content of popular drinks available on island as well as the fat and sodium content of canned goods.
Office on Aging Director Walter Manglona reminded the manamko’ to eat the right food to control their blood sugar and patronize locally grown crops.
Ogumoro said the health program and elderly abuse information should always be incorporated in any event at the Aging Center.
Prior to the discussions, Cathy Perry and Kevin Li led the manamko’ in a brief Tai Chi exercise.
There were also games and giveaways of shopping bags, note pads, ballpens and mugs for the manamko’.
Senior Citizens Advisory Council President Maria T. Salinas gave the opening remarks while Floria James led the opening prayer.
Teresita Sorroza, the 2014 Manamko’ Queen, was the mistress of ceremonies.