Light shined on elder abuse; here's what you need to know

When most hear the words “elder abuse” they think of physical violence toward senior citizens.
Elderly man in care facility generic photograph.
Elderly man in care facility generic photograph.(Storyblocks)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:10 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -When most hear the words “elder abuse” they think of physical violence toward senior citizens.

While that does happen elder abuse most often comes in other forms that are more difficult to identify.

“(Financial) exploitation of the elderly is a lot of what we (investigate),” said Summers Bell, Alabama Department of Human Resources adult protection supervisor for Houston County.

Older people make easy prey for unscrupulous friends and relatives who con them out of their savings. Often those victims are unable to fend for themselves due to diminishing mental sharpness and inability to adequately monitor their finances.

To raise elder abuse awareness, Houston County Probate Judge Patrick Davenport proclaimed June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

He said contributing to the issue is that families lack involvement in their relatives’ lives and that is compounded by rising life expectancy.

We all should be aggressive is recognizing a potential abuse victim. Here are warning signs:

  • Seems depressed, confused, or withdrawn
  • Isolated from friends and family
  • Has unexplained bruises, burns, or scars
  • Appears dirty, underfed, dehydrated, over-or undermedicated, or not receiving needed care for medical problems
  • Has bed sores or other preventable conditions
  • Recent changes in banking or spending patterns

Bell is confident that two things would reduce elder abuse significantly—if people would constantly look for those warning signs and, when suspicious, immediately report concerns to the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.