The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 12, 2013

Wear purple Friday to raise elderly abuse awareness

From staff reports
The News Courier

— More than 5,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults, including the elderly and disabled, were investigated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources during the 2012 fiscal year.

This year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is Saturday, June 15. Local residents are being asked to wear purple on Friday, June 14, since the color symbolizes elder abuse awareness.

“Because the elderly are often dependent on others for their care and may become isolated, they are primary targets for abuse, neglect and exploitation,” said Caroline Page, director of Limestone County DHR. “Sadly, victims are most often abused, neglected and exploited by individuals who are known and trusted by the elderly person.” 

DHR is responsible for the investigation of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation. The state DHR partners with more than 30 agencies in the Alabama Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, which raises awareness of the problem.

The council recently helped pass criminal elder abuse and exploitation legislation that provides additional laws to help prosecute and penalize violators.

“No matter how difficult the challenge, with the help of our community partners, our Adult Protective Services worker investigates reports and arranges protection,” Page said. “The APS Unit is strongly committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the elderly.”

If you suspect mistreatment of an elderly person or an adult person who has disabilities, contact Limestone County DHR at 256-216-6380, Alabama DHR at 1-800-458-7214 or email aps@dhr.alabama.gov. All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.