As the online managing editor of WAMU.org, I supervise a group of producers who create original content and repurpose radio content for the website. When I heard about the elder abuse series, I decided to take it on myself and create Web elements to complement the stories.
I was interested in this project because I have a grandmother with dementia who is in an assisted living facility. She is quickly losing her memory and has trouble recognizing her children, including my mother. The reporter told me about the prevalence of elder abuse and how difficult it is to keep records of abuse because the victims often don’t have the capacity to report the abuse or even recognize that it is happening. The most recent estimates suggest 1 in 10 seniors are abused, neglected or exploited. With baby boomers aging, the problem is expected to intensify and government social service programs are expected to be inundated with this issue.
I edited the stories for online. I filmed and edited an interview with a MacArthur “genius” grant award winner. I took audio that wasn’t used for the radio piece and embedded it into the story using SoundCloud. I uploaded a document into DocumentCloud and highlighted pertinent information. I created a slideshow. I used infogr.am to create a graphic.
After working on this project, I have no idea if my grandmother is a victim, but I will be asking questions. Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the Department of Health and Human Services, says everyone knows an elderly person who is being abused. We need to make ourselves aware of who that person is. I hope that message gets through in the work I have done on this project.