We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the ones who came before us. That’s why we observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, 2017, a proclamation signed by Governor Kay Ivey.
The Dale County Human Resources center in Ozark is reminding the community to support those who often times cannot support themselves.
“I feel that elderly abuse is an issue in the state of Alabama and all over the world, hopefully this will be corrected one day,” said Barbara Belford, a receptionist at the HR center.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources received more than 9,000 abuse, neglect and exploitation referrals in 2016, that is a 12% increase.
Mayor Bob Bunting of Ozark continues to serve the city, and will be 80-years-old this year. His secret is staying active.
“When you get 65 and draw Medicare or Social Security, don’t stop! Get out and do something!” Laughed Bunting.
But part of the problem with elderly, is neglect. Bunting knows what it’s like to feel lonely after he lost his wife a year and a half ago.
“I know there is a grandfather or a great grandfather out there who is very lonely, and they need somebody to come and see them,” added Bunting.
Some older folks find themselves at the Ozark-Dale County Senior Center, where they can socialize and play games. Charles McQueen is a bus driver for the center; he believes it is his obligation to pay it forward.
“I feel like they really deserve that support now and it’s up to society to look after and take care of them now because they’ve paid their dues,” said McQueen.
According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 Americans age 60 or older have experienced some form of elder abuse.