MONTGOMERY - On June 15, 2011, “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day”, the entire world will focus on the creating awareness of elder abuse that often goes undiscovered and unreported. Each year hundreds of thousands of older Americans are abused, neglected, and exploited. Nationally, elder abuse and neglect is estimated to cost $60 to $90 billion annually in health care, social services, investigative and legal costs.
Elder financial abuse and exploitation costs elders an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually. No one is immune to abuse, neglect and exploitation as it occurs in every socioeconomic group. It can happen to anyone including a family member, friend, neighbor, and even you.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) and the Alabama Department of Senior Services (DSS) are working together to bring awareness to the problem of elder abuse. Both agencies are holding local events across the state to increase public education, recognition and reporting of elder abuse.
“There are many vulnerable elderly persons in our state who cannot prevent their own abuse, neglect, and exploitation,” said DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “DHR investigates suspected maltreatment, including self-neglect, and helps arrange services for those who need them.”
DSS Commissioner Irene Collins encourages all citizens to become educated and to help fight elder abuse. “Every senior has the right to live in a safe environment,” she stated. “Any citizen who suspects that an elderly person is being abused should report it to local law enforcement or their county DHR office.”
In Fiscal Year 2010, the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) investigated approximately 5,312 adult protective service referrals. About half of these involved reports of suspected abuse or neglect of persons who were at least 60 years old. In fact, most of them were between 75 to 84 years old.
Please help us protect our vulnerable elderly citizens who have contributed so much to their communities. Anyone who suspects elder abuse, neglect or exploitation may call their county DHR office or the toll-free adult abuse reporting number at 1-800-458-7214.
All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously. Your call may make a real difference in the life of one of your friends or neighbors.