LEE COUNTY, Ala. – It’s a shocking and disturbing problem, one likely to outrage you, but you might also be surprised to know it often goes unreported.
We’re talking about elder abuse and it comes in many forms.
As the rallying cry goes up, so do the symbols of remembrance and hope for the elderly. A population who is often targeted by abuse – physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.
“It is a testament to our partners in the community that a spend a lot of their time working to make the situations with our seniors better in these years when they should be respected and admired as opposed to being mistreated,” said Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.
Selena Daniel is an Opelika native. At 82, still works as a real estate broker and an advocate for the rights of the elderly.
“Please don’t be afraid to report it. Because someone will immediately investigate it and take care of that person,” said Daniel.
Last year, Alabama authorities received an estimated 18,000 reported cases of suspected elder abuse. To put that in context for you, that’s almost equal to the population of senior citizens who live here in Lee County.
“You’re getting the reported ones. Probably the unreported ones would be double that or more,” said Daniel
“People sit and say I don’t want to get involved, but you’ve got to get involved. If you see something, say something,” said Suzanne Burnett.
“And I think often about how elderly people are abused and not taken care of. I can’t imagine that. My children wouldn’t allow that, and I know they wouldn’t. But it is a great concern,” said Lee Vanoy
A great concern for us all, because we either know or love someone elderly or if we live long enough, will one day be elderly ourselves.
Alabama recently tightened state laws to allow for harsher sentences for those convicted of elder abuse.