What do you know about elder abuse?

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thousands of elderly persons and adults who have disabilities are abused, neglected, and exploited in Alabama each year. To help raise awareness, communities and professionals across the nation, and across the world, unite annually on June 15 to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Activities in Pike County include a balloon release that will be held in front of the Pike County Court House. One simple thing everyone can do on June 1a5 to raise awareness of elder abuse is wear purple. Purple is the color nationally recognized to represent elder abuse awareness.

Governor Robert Bentley has proclaimed June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Because the elderly are often dependent on others for their care and may become isolated, they are vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. Sadly, Victims are most often abused, neglected and exploited by individuals who are known and trusted by the elderly person. No matter how difficult the challenge, with the help of our community partners, our Adult Protective Service workers investigate reports and arrange protection. They are strongly committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the elderly.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) is responsible for the investigation of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation. DHR also partners with over 30 agencies as members of the Alabama Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse which works to raise awareness of elder abuse prevention.

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In FY 2014, the Alabama Department of Human Resources investigated over 6,700 reports of suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults statewide, which included elderly persons. Mandated reporters include physicians, practitioners of the healing arts, and caregivers; however, anyone can make a report by contacting their county DHR office or local law enforcement agency.

Elder abuse is gravely under-reported. Please help us protect our vulnerable citizens who have contributed so much to our community. If you suspect mistreatment of an elderly person or an adult person who has disabilities, please call Pike County DHR at 334-807-3120. You can make a real difference in the life of a vulnerable adult by recognizing signs of maltreatment and taking action by reporting abuse.

There is also a strong need for Adult Foster Parents. At this time there are no Adult Foster Parents in Pike County.

Reports may also be made to the Adult Abuse Hotline 1-800-458-7214. All reports are confidential.

William Davis

Director, Pike County DHR