The people's voice of reason

A Biblical Look At Elder Abuse

When the Lord selected Moses to lead his people He set down some rules. The first four dealt with ecclesiastical matters about who was the leader of the team, and the rules related thereto. He then got down to laying down temporal rules, and the first of which concerned honoring fathers and mothers. In Exodus 20:12, He told Moses that he and his followers should honor their fathers and their mothers; respect one’s elders. In short: When you’re young do what they say; when you’re older, take good care of them; and, perhaps, they may take care of you—some day.

But over the years man has gone somewhat astray with regard to the respect he renders to his elders; in fact in many cases he has downright made a mess of it.

As a result, we now have legislation languishing about in Congress pertaining to elder abuse: a measure designed to attend to our lapses in honoring our fathers and mothers.

We find that abuse of the elderly is happening all over the country, and the National Center on Elder Abuse is doing its best to keep tabs on them. But it’s not easy since there exists a blur between what qualifies as elder abuse and what does not, claims the center. Furthermore, the situation is worsened by the fact that each state has its own set of rules as it relates to this matter. We can give thanks that Alabama has some good, strong ones.

We Alabamians can take justified pride in the fact that our Legislature has seen fit to endow us with two pieces of legislation pertaining to elder abuse and outlining some stiff penalties for abusers. Not only that, but our Governor saw fit to create a Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; a body that meets regularly and most recently produced an Elder Abuse Tool Kit that is being placed in the hands of seniors in order that they might better be able to recognize abuses—and abusers—and that they may know precisely how to respond to them. If you don’t have one, ask your ASHL representative about it, or contact your local Aging Consortium for one.

A sad commentary on all this, say the folks at the National Center, is that most seniors are being abused by their own adult children through neglect, abandonment, physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault and exploitation. Now that's shameful.

In 1996, the National Elder Abuse Incidence Study showed that more than 500,000 Americans over the age of 60 were the victims of abuse that year. On top of that, 84 percent of the cases went unreported and only 16 percent of those who were abused had lodged an official complaint.

To add to the grim reality of this picture is a report from the Senate Special Committee on Aging that tells us that nearly 5 million seniors suffer from elder abuse each year. Elder abuse is a problem that is being addressed by the Federal Older Americans Act, which allots money to the various States in order that they might provide the necessary services that relate to abuse of the elderly.

Apparently there are some federal dollars (that's taxpayer dollars) laying about in Washington, but all this political posturing is getting in the way of this much needed funding getting where it can do the most good. Let's hope that our elected representatives get back to doing what it is they promised us they would do when they wanted our votes.

It might be well for our elected representatives to reconsider the message in Galatians 3:26 in relation to the old folk. Are not all Americans on the same team?

Who's Lookin' Program for December

The month of December got underway on the 2nd with a presentation to Eastdale Estates residents and their friends by Ms. Jackie Buck,who represents the Montgomery area Council on Aging's Archibald Center and by Mary Margaret Kyser from the Montgomery Area Council on Aging. They informed Eastdale Estates residents, and their friends, about the myriad of activities being offered to Montgomery-area seniors at their facilities in both downtown Montgomery and at their Montgomery East center on the Atlanta Highway.

Dec. 9th - Rep. William L. Richards of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature, will talk with the senior residents about his tasks as Montgomery Chapter President of the American Association of Retired Persons, as well as an active member of the Alabama Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. As the bearer of those three imposing titles, Mr. Richards has a plethora of information that will be of interest to his audience.

Dec. 16th - Monica Sheeler of the Alabama Attorney General's office will be back at Eastdale by popular demand, to talk about Internet scams. It seems as if everyone wants to put a hand in your pocket these days.

Dec 23rd - Jackson Hospital's affable Patient Advocate, J. Mark Springer, will make another repeat performance on December 23, this time to talk about how to deal with the Christmas Blues.

Dec. 30th - Wrapping up this Christmas month will be Robyn James, a member of the State's Elder Abuse Council. She will be back after a five-month hiatus to reinforce Mr. Richards' summation of his activities on the 9th and to talk about elder abuse in general.

These weekly presentations are designed to keep seniors apprised of both the many pitfalls that lurk in their paths, and inform them on the progress Alabama is making to protect them from the various forms of elder abuse. They're free and the public is welcome to attend.

Affordable What?

Ho ho ho, exclaimed Obama Claus as he disappeared up the chimney after leaving a hefty Christmas present of 20,000 pages of rules and regulations wrapped up in a cheery package with red and green ribbons and a card inscribed “Obama Care, read it and weep.”

And a lot of weeping is going on as a result. If ever the was an applicable example of the word fiasco, this is it. There are a lot of people around the country this Christmas who are wishing they had voted differently now that they're stuck with the President's Yuletide gift.

In it they'll find all manner of hidden taxes and fees that will jump out and bite them in their quest for a healthy life; if Mr. Obama ever gets this mess straightened out.

With the U.S. Supreme Court's constitutional imprimatur on it, the Affordable Care Act may well turn out to be the bus under which we old folks have been thrown.

Happy New Year!


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