Elder Justice Alliance launches in Shelby County

SHELBY COUNTY, (Ala) — An elder justice alliance just launched in Shelby County. It’s designed to better detect and prevent elder abuse.

This alliance includes DHR, law enforcement, social services and advocacy groups

“With COVID we’ve seen a large increase in number of potential elder mistreatment cases,” Robyn James with Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging said.

Last year, Shelby county DHR received hundreds of reports to adult protective services.

“What we see in Shelby county is approximately 266 reports per year that come in, of those reports we see about 150 of those are still living in the home,” Adult Protective Services Supervisor Star Pope said.

Pope investigates many of those cases.

“The reports are typically abuse neglect and financial exploitation,” Pope said, “what’s so sad is that the majority are family members that are perpetrating on these individuals.”

The goal of the Elder Justice Alliance is to employ a network of agencies as one strong force for the elderly.

Organizations work to prevent, detect and respond to elder mistreatment and abuse.

“It’s important to share resources, to share information, there’s always strength in numbers,” James said.

James says the group plans to meet monthly, share cases and provide training.

“The impact is really a lot greater to help protect our older residents so that they can age gracely with dignity in our communities,” she said.

The group would like to purchase a building in Montevallo to house everything under one roof and to also act as a shelter for elderly victims.

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