DHR educates citizens on Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Published 3:51 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On June 15 many businesses and individuals will don their purple ribbons in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

This is a day set aside to bring about greater visibility related to adults in need of protective services.

According to director of the Crenshaw County Department of Human Resources (DHR) Kristi Maddox, elder abuse, neglect or exploitation pertains to an adult 18 years or older who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

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“A lot of people don’t think as much about elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, especially when they are thinking about DHR,” Maddox said.

“We also have a unit that is a supervisor to workers and it handles elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

Maddox also noted that many citizens are surprised to learn that most cases of elder abuse and neglect are performed by the family members of the elderly individual.

On this day, DHR asks businesses and individuals to wear their purple ribbons for recognition and community-wide awareness. In the weeks leading up to June 15, purple ribbons for business doors and individuals were distributed, t-shirts were sold and information packets were given to doctor’s offices and other establishments.

It is the hope of DHR that by educating the community of these occurrences will not only help the victims receive the help they need, but also potentially cut down on abuse cases.

Maddox also stated that at a recent elder abuse and neglect training workshop she attended, she heard that the state of Alabama is currently in the process of creating more adult foster home facilities.

“There are probably less than 20 in the entire state, but those homes are needed,” Maddox said.

“There’s a great need for that population of people to have somewhere to go when they don’t have family members to take care of them and they can’t take care of themselves.”

Last year, there were 8,078 reported cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation received in the state of Alabama. Sixteen percent of the cases reported involved abuse, 67 percent involved neglect and 17 percent involved exploitation. Maddox says that the numbers for Crenshaw County can reach about three or four reports a month.

Maddox said that the Crenshaw County DHR currently has about 45 adult protective services clients in the county. DHR assists them with needs they may have and also receives regular reports on their situations.

Some of those clients are currently enrolled in an adult daycare center, located in Rutledge and Troy, according to Maddox.

These facilities allow working individuals to maintain their everyday jobs while still providing the needed care for their family members.

Maddox hopes that more facilities like this can come to fruition in the future. DHR will be giving educational presentations at the Luverne Kiwanis Club meeting, local churches and at other local establishments up until June 15. For information on these presentations, contact Maddox at DHR at (334) 335-7000.