By Southern Torch Staff
DeKALB COUNTY, Ala. — The elderly population and disabled adults in our state and communities have the right to feel safe and to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, this is not the case for every elderly individual and disabled adult in our state. Based upon reports from the previous years, thousands of elderly individuals and disabled adults have been and are being abused, neglected and exploited in Alabama every year.
In an effort to promote elder abuse awareness, agencies, organizations, communities and professionals around the world will unite on June 15th to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
The national theme for this year’s observance is “Using the Past to Re-Write the Future.” The nationally recognized color to represent elder abuse awareness is purple. We are asking each community member to please wear purple throughout the month of June, particularly on the 15th.
The Department of Human Resources (DHR) is responsible for investigating reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation regarding the elderly and disabled adults. In FY 2019, DHR investigated approximately 10,827 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults statewide, which included elderly individuals and disabled adults.
DHR is requesting the assistance of all community members to help with protecting our vulnerable citizens as they have contributed so much to society. If you suspect an elderly person or an adult with disabilities is being mistreated please contact DeKalb County DHR at 256-844-2700 to make a report.
Reports may also be made, toll free, to the Adult Abuse Hotline, 1-800-458-7214, and via online at firstname.lastname@example.org. All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously. “In some cases, elderly and disabled adults are dependent on relatives and others for their care and at times they are isolated. Hence, they are a greater risk for abuse, neglect and exploitation”, said DeKalb County Department of Human Resources (DHR) Director Denise Raines.
“Unfortunately, victims are most often abused, neglected, and exploited by persons who are known and trusted by the elderly person or disabled adult. Community partners can help by reporting suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation and by assisting DHR with arranging services to protect those individuals that cannot protect themselves. Our community partners are essential to assisting DHR in providing for the safety of the elderly population and disabled adults", Raines concluded.