Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is today.

This is when the world focuses on the mistreatment of the elderly. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’s goal is to raise awareness of this too often unspoken problem.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources and other organizations inside and outside of government work together to promote a better understanding of abuse, neglect and exploitation of older persons by organizing activities to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

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“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.”

The director of the Dallas County Department of Human Resources said the observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day focuses on a problem 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,” said James Ware. “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 workers, with the help of our community partners, are committed to helping ensure the safety and well being of the elderly.”

In Fiscal Year 2009, the Alabama DHR investigated about 4,700 adult protective service reports. About half of these involved reports of suspected abuse or neglect of persons who where at least 60 years old. In fact, most of them ranged from 75-to 84-years-old.