Elder abuse is becoming increasingly problematic in America, and the problem will likely only intensify as the baby boomer generation continues to age and require care. The problem should be of particular concern to those who are growing old in Alabama, according to Alabama Today, as the state ranked very low in a new study assessing how each state protects its elder residents from suffering abuse.
The study used a variety of criteria in determining its rankings, and once all factors were taken into account, Alabama was deemed the tenth-worst state in the nation in terms of protecting its elders against abuse and neglect. Of the 51 areas assessed (all 50 states and Washington, D.C.), only nine geographic areas fell below Alabama in protecting their seniors against harm. Key areas where Alabama fell short included the number of volunteer ombudsmen available to state residents over the age of 65, where the state ranked 49th, and it also failed in terms of the number of services and organizations it had available to those over the age of 65, ranking 35th.
With the study indicating that Alabama families cannot count on the state to protect its older residents, it becomes increasingly important that family members learn to identify potential signs of elder abuse. Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living, some of the more obvious signs include unexplained bruises, welts, burns or other signs of physical injury.
Not all signs of elder abuse are so obvious, however. Family members should also be on the lookout for signs that may indicate an older person is being taken advantage of financially, such as a drained savings or checking account. If an older person suddenly becomes more timid or hesitant to be around people, or if he or she seems to have lost weight, these, too, may be indications of elder abuse.