Building Bridges to Services for Older Vermonters is a program to protect older Vermonters from financial exploitation, fraud and scams. It connects crime victims who are over the age of 60 to resources and services.
This project grew out of a vision to expand upon existing work of COVE’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program. The goals of Building Bridges are to increase referrals to appropriate services for older Vermonters who become victims of financial exploitation, fraud and scams, and to decrease the number of individuals who are vulnerable to becoming victims.
To reach those goals, we are expanding our preventive education programs. By providing specialized training, we hope to increase volunteers’ and professional service providers’ abilities to recognize telling signs that fraud, scams and financial abuse may have occurred. By bringing outreach education and information to older Vermonters themselves, we hope to improve their understanding and comfort levels in order to encourage them to talk about their experiences and seek help.
At the same time, COVE is creating a complete tool kit of resources to provide to all who participate in our trainings. We are partnering with other interested groups to review and refine the existing referral systems in Vermont and to coordinate training programs.
Building Bridges is a statewide collaborative program funded from federal Victims of Crime Act funds, and those funds are received through the Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services. It is part of COVE, a tax exempt, 501 (c)(3) Vermont non-profit corporation.