Raising Public Awareness on Elder Abuse
The United States Census Bureau projected in 2000 that California’s elderly population will have doubled by 2025 to 6.4 million – a larger growth rate than any other state. The California Department of Finance projects that the number of California residents aged 65 and older–those who are most likely to need nursing homes or other long term care–will nearly double between 2010 and 2030.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) 2010 statistics, there are as many as six million cases of abuse in the United States every year. The same study concludes that 11% of all the elder abuse cases in American occur in California, leading the nation. Women are likely 35% more than men to suffer from some form of abuse, and 33% of those accused of abusing the elderly are family members, while only 16% were strangers.
In California, 28% of those surveyed in Los Angeles County said they suffered through neglect. A total of 26% said they were financially abused, 25% claimed psychological abuse, while 21% said they were physically abused. As many as 16,000 seniors were abused or neglected at any given time in Los Angeles County alone. Unfortunately, many cases of elder abuse are not reported, whether due to fear of retaliation or other reasons.
NCEA indicates studies suggest 14 out of 15 cases of elderly abuse go unreported; therefore there is an enormous need for elderly watchdog organizations, and quick response sources for reporting incidences of elder abuse followed up by timely and comprehensive professional investigations.
According to Elder Abuse Daily 2010 statistics, LA County alone represents over 25% of all cases in California. LA is followed by Orange County at approximately 8.4% of the state’s cases of elderly abuse. Reportedly just five of 58 counties (Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and Santa Clara) account for over half of all California elder abuse cases.
As the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire, California will continue to face a rapidly aging population and with increasing incidences of elder and disability abuse and exploitation. With dwindling resources California will be unable to meet the increasing demands of preventing and investigating of elder and disability abuse.