Elder Abuse Shelters

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, file photo, an elderly woman who has suffered abuse by a relative watches "I Love Lucy" on a television inside her room at Cedar Village retirement community in Mason, Ohio. The Shalom Center, that is a part of the community, offers shelter, along with medical, psychological and legal help, to elderly abuse victims in this northern Cincinnati suburb. Eight such shelters have formed an alliance and are scheduled to meet to share best practices and hear from experts on elder abuse. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

The Alabama Department of Human Resources 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.

Thousands of elderly and disabled adults are abused, neglected and exploited in Alabama every year. Last year alone, DHR’s Adult Protective Services Division investigated 10,566 reports of elder abuse across the state. Gov. Kay Ivey declared June 15, 2021, as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Alabama to raise awareness about the problem.

Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said, “The older adults in our lives cared for us and kept us safe when we were young and vulnerable. Now, it is time for us to return the favor by protecting them from those who wish to cause physical, emotional and financial harm. We owe it to them to speak up if they are being mistreated.”

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 document

Report suspected elder abuse by calling the Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-800-458-7214, emailing aps@dhr.alabama.gov or contacting a local DHR county office. All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.

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