Alabama DHR: Watch for signs of elder abuse
Special to the Enquirer
The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) is encouraging the public to help protect older family members, friends, neighbors and others from elder abuse by learning to recognize the warning signs of mistreatment.
“A sharp eye is the best defense against elder abuse, neglect and exploitation,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “I urge all Alabamians to watch for the warning signs and speak up at the first sign of harm. We value older adults in Alabama, and we all must do our part to keep them safe.”
Thousands of elderly and disabled adults are abused, neglected and exploited in Alabama every year. Last year alone, DHR’s Adult Protective Services Division received 11,122 reports of elder abuse across the state. Gov. Kay Ivey proclaimed June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Alabama to raise awareness about the problem.
An estimated 1 in 10 Americans over age 60 have experienced abuse. Victims include adults of all genders, races and incomes. The problem is expected to worsen as adults live longer and become more dependent on others for care. Alabamians can help protect those at risk by watching for these warning signs:
- Increased fear or anxiety
- Isolation from friends or family
- Withdrawal from normal activities
- Unusual changes in behavior or sleep
- Unexplained injuries, bruises, cuts or sores
- Unsanitary living conditions and poor hygiene
- Unusual or sudden changes in financial spending patterns, will or other important documents
Report suspected elder abuse by calling the Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-800-458-7214, emailing email@example.com or contacting a local DHR county office. All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.