ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Officials with the Dougherty County District Attorney's Office are spreading awareness about how often abuse and exploitation happen in Dougherty County.
On Wednesday, officials spoke with a group of seniors at the SOWEGA Council on Aging to talk about how to identify abuse and report it.
They used an ordinary task of planting a flower, to symbolize planting seeds of justice that will eventually grow within the community.
"Dementia is becoming a problem," explained Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Hager. "We have an aging population. So we are seeing a lot more of it now."
Hager said it is difficult to tell if there is more elder abuse happening now or if it is more abuse that's being reported.
People at the Council on Aging participated in the planting.
"To take advantage of a senior citizen, that's really deplorable," explained Christine Wilson.
Wilson said she has never been a victim herself but said she knows people who have been scammed or abused by their own family members.
That is something Hager said happens far too often.
"The majority of times I've seen it, it's been family members doing it, drugs sometimes are involved, they're on drugs and exploiting grandma for money," said Hager.
Hager said you should watch your loved one's bank accounts and see if they are opening new credit cards or losing money fast. He said financial exploitation is most commonly happening around South Georgia.
"We have to be on the lookout for this," explained Hager. "These are people we have to take care of."
The hope is as the flowers grow, justice will spread throughout the community.
"You would think after you spent your life trying to obey the law and doing what is right, you would think you could live out your senior years in peace, but no, our society won't allow that and it's sad," explained Wilson.
If you are a victim of elder abuse or have a loved one who is, you can get help by calling law enforcement, the district attorney's office or the ombudsman at the Council on Aging.