Elder Abuse Awareness June 15

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Probate Judge Bobby Martin signed a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Proclamation on June 13. Those who attended were: Billie Robinson, Patti Drake, Cathy Stephens, Marilyn Colson and Marah Chapatwala, all of DHR; Judy Dean of Southern Care Hospice; Jennifer Davis of M4A; Janet Driskell and Lisa Oden, both of Chilton Medical Center; Christy Nason of Healthsprings; and Meloni Pritchard of Cedar Ridge Veteran Facility.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day will be observed on June 15. On this day, the entire world will focus on a problem not limited by geography: the mistreatment of elderly citizens.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources and other governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as older persons themselves, will work together to promote a better understanding of abuse, neglect and exploitation of older persons by organizing activities around the world designed to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

“The victims of this maltreatment are people who worked hard and made sacrifices to help their families and others have a better quality of life,” said DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “And now, in the autumn of their lives, it’s a bitter, cruel irony that many of them are being abused and neglected by their own relatives or caregivers.”

Marilyn Colson, director of the Chilton County Department of Human Resources said the observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day focuses on a problem that is frequently overshadowed by other societal ills.

“Because the elderly don’t always receive the care and attention that they need, they are primary targets for abuse, neglect, and exploitation,” she said. “Sadly, in many cases, the victims’ own children are the perpetrators, which can make investigating the reports an arduous task.’

As difficult a challenge as this may be, our adult protective service worker, Billie Robinson, with the help of our community partners, is committed to helping ensure the safety and well being of the elderly.”

“Your call may make a real difference in the life of one of your neighbors,” Robinson noted.

In fiscal year 2011, DHR investigated approximately 5,851 adult protective service reports statewide.  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 ranged from 75 to 84 years of age.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, it is estimated that for every one case of elder maltreatment reported to authorities, about five more go unreported.

“Please help us protect our vulnerable elderly citizens who have contributed so much to our community,” said Colson.

To report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation, call Chilton County DHR at 205-280-2000. Reports may also be made toll free to 1-800-458-7214 or by email to aps@dhr.alabama.gov.  All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.