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Community Leaders Partner to Stop Elder Abuse

The Randolph County Department of Human Resources joined organizations throughout the state in commemorating World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. The annual day of awareness calls attention to the importance of protecting vulnerable adults from harm.

Elder abuse is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the word. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional and financial abuse, as well as neglect.

The World Health Organization reports that approximately one in six people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.

In Alabama, DHR received more than 12,000 reports of suspected adult abuse, neglect and exploitation statewide in fiscal year 2022. DHR’s Adult Protective Services Division investigates these reports and provides support services in all 67 counties.

Randolph County DHR recognized the day of awareness locally with a gathering attended by District Judge Amy Newsome and Wedowee Police Chief Robbie Taylor, along with Chief Jonathan Caldwell and Sgt. Cliff Jones of the Roanoke Police Department. They joined DHR staff for a discussion about the warning signs of elder abuse and the rise in scams targeting older adults for financial exploitation.

Warning signs include:

  1. Increased fear or anxiety
  2. Isolation from friends or family
  3. Withdrawal from normal activities
  4. Unusual changes in behavior or sleep
  5. Unexplained injuries, bruises, cuts or sores
  6. Unsanitary living conditions and poor hygiene
  7. Unusual or sudden changes in financial spending patterns, wills or other important documents

Anyone who suspects elder abuse, neglect or exploitation should report it by calling 1-800-458-7214 or emailing aps@dhr.alabama.gov.

Another way residents can support older community members is by becoming adult foster care providers. Adult foster care enables at-risk elderly and disabled adults with minimal care needs to stay in homes instead of institutional settings when relocation is necessary to keep them safe. Please contact Randolph County DHR at 256-357-3000 to learn more.