The people's voice of reason

Honor the "Old Folks"!

As we enter into the 2014th year on the Christian calendar, we might want to give some thought to the Ten Commandments that emerged in that faith; and especially to the fifth one, the one that relates to honoring one's elders, more specifically “thy father and mother;” the reward for which tended to be a long life. But with the advent of Obamacare, long life is beginning to look more like a curse than a blessing.

All of which is a roundabout way of broaching the subject of elder abuse, and the showing of a little more respect for the elderly.

Last year, and the year before, after many futile attempts by the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature to better serve its constituency, landmark legislation on this subject was enacted in Alabama.

Two years ago our Legislature passed what has become known as “The Elder Justice Act,” and last year it gave us legislation entitled the Protecting Alabama's Elders Act, which created criminal penalties for abusing, neglecting and scamming senior citizens.

Alabama's Criminal Code now deals specifically with inflicting pain or bodily injury on senior citizens; and sets forth some serious penalties for not honoring one's elders. For example: intentional abuse or neglect that causes serious physical injury to a person sixty years of age or older, is a Class A felony and could get the abuser anywhere from 10 years to life in durance vile. Now that's getting serious.

For lesser transgressions in this domain, one could get from two to 20 years in prison; and for just being reckless about one's abusing; up to a year in prison could be earned.

And for those thieves and con artists who swindle or steal from senior citizens, penalties ranging from one to 20 years are now on the books.

To its credit, Alabama is on the forefront of doing something about elder abuse, and its citizens have a diligent legislature, a hard-working Silver-Haired Legislature, and Republican Governor Robert Bentley to thank for it.

To make it work, now, is for Alabama’s senior citizens who are being abused, or know of seniors who fall into that category, to come forth and speak out about elder abuse.

Abusing one's elders is a vile, cowardly act, and should be dealt with vigorously and swiftly. Senor citizens who are being abused, or anyone who knows of a senior who is being abused, should waste no time in reporting this transgression to the proper authorities.

This new year should be a year dedicated to insuring that the abuse of our senior citizens is dealt with forthrightly and swiftly. So, when you see, or know of, elders who are being abused: Don't just sit there; do something!


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