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See Me. Hear Me.

Four simple words that many of us don’t realize could mean so much. But to the elder care world and Empowered Aging staff, these are words that hold the power to advocate for the people we serve – the older adults and adults with disabilities that turn to us for help when they are at their most vulnerable, at their most unseen and unheard.

The Impact of Being Seen and Heard


“This is my job to care for people and I want to make sure I’m taking care of them the best I possibly can. This will be me one day.”
-E.R., Caregiver, Redwood Residence

Elder Justice Participant

“See me as I am still here. Hear me as I still have a voice. My age has not canceled out my existence. Understand that my diagnosis makes me no less than you. Remember that if you are lucky, you will get here too! Remember that to be me takes courage and resilience!!!”
-Anonymous, Elder Justice Program Participant

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately one in ten Americans aged 60+ have experienced some sort of elder abuse, with some estimates as high as five million elders abused each year. They also report that it is estimated that only one in twenty-four elder abuse cases are reported to authorities.

Our mission here at Empowered Aging is to ensure that older adults and adults with disabilities are seen and heard.

Our programs are structured to provide engagement, support, and connection – ultimately lifting voices, enabling self-sufficiency, and helping older and dependent adults to fight for a just place in society – to age in their own way, as they see fit.

Our team of staff, interns, and volunteers work to protect the rights and improve quality of life for every one of the hundreds of thousands of older adults throughout the region through our Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, Elder and Adults with Disabilities Justice Program, Healthcare Career Pathway, and more.

“With the dramatically rising numbers of the older adult population, and the growing demand for related resources and direct care support, we are concerned that more needs to be done to address the increased risk for elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect.”

-Susannah Meyer, Executive Director, Empowered Aging


Inspired by World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, Empowered Aging has launched an awareness campaign – See Me. Hear Me.™ – to share stories of the people behind the cases we take on while preserving privacy and recognizing vulnerability. Our campaign aims to protect those we serve while helping the community understand that aging, living in care facilities, and needing the help of others to survive and thrive does not mean you lose your identity, your humanity, or your right to be seen and heard.

We challenge you to join us by helping to raise awareness and bring the fight against abuse of older adults and adults with disabilities out of the shadows.

What Does See Me. Hear Me. Mean to You?

Jovita Mendoza

“So often we get so busy with our own lives that we forget the people in the fringes, too often overlooked. Important to remember those who have come before us. Let us not forget to see them and hear them.”
-Jovita Mendoza, Council Member, Brentwood

Kim Trupiano

“What this campaign means to me…as a volunteer in my community assisting seniors aging in place at home, I see what isolation, loneliness, and feeling vulnerable can do to a person. Many senior adults that I engage with once led very independent lives and now they must rely on someone else to take them food shopping, to go to doctor’s appointments, or to spend quality time with them. It’s important that we raise our voice for those who may not be able to and make sure that our most cherished friends, family, and neighbors receive the dignity and respect they deserve. Please be their voice today!”
-Kim Trupiano, Council Member, Clayton

Patricia Ponce

“See me. Hear me. to me means, I matter and because I matter, I want to be seen and heard. I stand up for our most vulnerable population, our seniors. They have amazing knowledge, understanding, and love. No one should be discriminated against because of their age, all of us will be in their shoes at some point in life. It is our responsibility to speak up for them, to make them feel seen and heard.”
-Patricia Ponce, Vice Mayor, San Pablo

Sarah Steenhausen

“At the California Department of Aging, we believe strongly in protecting and empowering the rights of older adults and people with disabilities, with a focus on equity. We need to celebrate their humanity and appreciate their contributions to our communities.”
-Sarah Steenhausen, Deputy Director of Policy, Research & Equity, CA Department of Aging

How to Take Action Now

Taking part is as simple as sharing our video message and mentioning what See Me. Hear Me. and the protection of older and dependent adults means to you. Or, if you would like to request a paddle to have your quote and photo featured, please send an email to

But that’s not all. You can change a life simply by giving the gift of time. Visit to learn more about our volunteer opportunities. Or, visit to find out how you can make a one-time or monthly donation to help Empowered Aging provide critical support services to some of our communities’ most vulnerable members.

Social Media for You to Share

We would love your help to encourage others (your followers) share what See Me. Hear Me means to them. Below is a social media post for you to personalize and share on your social media feed. This can be as simple as copying and pasting the message, downloading one of our graphic options, and attaching it to a post.

“I’m happy to be joining Empowered Aging and their See. Me. Hear Me.ä campaign this month to raise awareness of the vulnerability of older adults and adults with disabilities living in long term care facilities and in the community. To me, See Me. Hear Me. means [personalize with your response]. Please, join me and help bring the fight against abuse of older adults and adults with disabilities out of the shadows. To learn more about you can take part, please visit #SeeMeHearMe #EmpoweredAging #ElderJustice #ElderAbuseAwareness #WorldElderAbuseAwarenessMonth #OlderAdults #AdultsWithDisabilities” 

Thank you for joining us and standing up for the rights of older adults.

What does "See Me. Hear Me." Mean to you?
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