June 15 is elder abuse awareness day

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Thousands of elderly citizens 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 Shelby County include a town hall meeting presented by the Interagency Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The town hall meeting will be held on June 10 at the Alabaster Senior Center located at 109 Seventh St. S.W. from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

One simple thing everyone can do on June 15 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 primary targets for abuse, neglect and exploitation,” said Kim Mashego, Shelby County Department of Human Resources director. “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 Services workers investigate reports and arrange protection,” Mashego said. “They are strongly committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the elderly,”

The Alabama Department of Human Resources 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.

Elder abuse is gravely under-reported. If you suspect mistreatment of an elderly person or an adult person who has disabilities, call Shelby County DHR at 669-3006. Reports may also be made toll free to the Adult Abuse Hotline 1-800-458-7214 or by email to aps@dhr.alabama.gov.  All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.