In Lowndes County and statewide, citizens encouraged to observe Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, June 12, 2014

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Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
In observance of the rights of the elderly to live safely in their community, Hayneville Mayor Kelvin Lawrence recently proclaimed Sunday, June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Lawrence signed the proclamation on Thursday, June 5 to “encourage all our citizens to recognize and celebrate the value of Hayneville seniors and disabled adults” on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Also proclaiming the day was Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
Rachel A. Waters, director of the Lowndes County Department of Human Resources, said, “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.”
She said activities in Lowndes County include the signing of the proclamation by Lawrence, a request that staff at the Lowndes County DHR wear ribbons on June 13 and 15, the playing of a CD in the lobby of Lowndes County DHR on June 13 and 16th and the placing of a purple ribbon on the agency door June 13-16.
Waters said the CD would educate citizens on elderly abuse and the actions to take when it is detected.
She said the agency also plans to recognize a victim of elderly abuse/neglect by purchasing a fruit basket and delivering it to that person as a mean of providing support.
Waters also said, “The department is making ribbons and sending information to local churches of staff hat desire to participate in Elder Abuse Awareness.”
She said one simple thing everyone could do to raise awareness is to wear purple. “Purple is the color nationally recognized to represent elder abuse awareness,” she said.
“Because the elderly are often dependent on others for their care and may become isolated, they are primary targets for abuse, neglect and exploitation,” Waters said. “Sadly, victims are most often abused, neglected and exploited by individual 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.”
According to Waters, Alabama DHR is responsible for investigation of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation and is partnered with more than 30 agencies as members of the Alabama Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. She said the council worked to secure passage of the Protecting Alabama’s Elders Act in 2013 relating to the creation of crimes of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of persons 60 and older.
She said in FY 2013 Alabama DHR investigated more than 6,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of venerable adults statewide.
According to Waters, “If you suspect mistreatment of an elderly person or an adult person who has disabilities, please call Lowndes County DHR at 334-548-3800.

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