MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - This holiday season you may have visited an elderly family member or friend. But did you pay close attention to their situation?
By one estimate, elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year. One study ranks Alabama in the bottom 10 of all states in elder abuse protections.
It generally takes the form of neglect, which can be subtle and sometimes self-inflicted… abuse, which be frightening and go unreported… or financial exploitation, which can be devastating and irreversible.
According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources isolation is a key factor.
DHR suggests that when you visit older family and friends, question them about what's been happening in their lives and listen carefully. Look for signs of neglect, abuse, or, especially, financial irregularities.
DHR says don't be shy about reporting suspected elder abuse in any form. Go to their website to find out how to report possible abuse.
With any luck, we'll all be there one day and will appreciate the help of younger family and friends.