Elderly Abuse in Alabama

The idea that it’s human nature for parents to make sacrifices for their children and then, in turn, for their grown children to sacrifice for their aging parents, turns out to be a naive expectation, as there are undeniable conflicts of interest between the generations.  Although we would hope most children would treat their aging parents with respect and kindness and have the desire to care for them in their older years, this is not always the case in our country today.

According to the Alabama Department of Senior Services Commissioner Neal Morrison, many of our seniors are being abused and neglected by their own relatives.  Morrison stated that Alabama has a severe problem with elder abuse and it’s not just “physical abuse, but financial abuse, too.”

In the month of March, 324 cases of reported abuse were investigated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources.  Although this is a staggering amount of cases, the number is actually less than the average number of monthly cases in 2011, which were 328 cases per month.

The commissioner’s office receives complaints ranging from phone scams to daughters and sons cleaning out their own parents’  bank accounts.  Morrison gives one example of a “concerned” son checking on his parents once or twice a week,  but while at their home,  writing   checks to himself  leaving them without any money for even purchasing food for the week.

Even with the high number of cases of abuse reported in Alabama, the actual cases of elder abuse is higher as many victims are embarrassed to report the abuse by family members.

Morrison cites another case in which a daughter took advantage of her mother, but the mother was too embarrassed to report the abuse.  It’s a difficult decision for many abused elders to report those who are are to nurture them in their older years, but instead take advantage and even abuse them.

Morrison stated that Senior Services, DHR and the Attorney General’s office created the Elder Justice Alliance Task Force as an avenue for seniors to not only make them aware of their rights, but also with names and numbers of agencies who they can turn to if they feel  they are being taken advantage of or abused.

To report elderly abuse in the state of Alabama, contact the Alabama Department of Human Resources Adult Protective Services hotline at: 1-800-458-7214.