Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Elder Abuse Cases Expected to Grow With Aging Population

WA,United States By Andrew Binion (Contact)

The police officer had the 84-year-old woman step outside so she could talk without fear of her live-in grandson overhearing what she had to say.

She broke down and started crying and said that she had been menaced for months. She said that her grandson had forced her to write him checks, and he became violent when she refused, court documents said.

A few weeks later, another grandmother reported that her 19-year-old grandson, wanted for deserting the military, had assaulted her during an argument and then threatened to kill her as she called the police, reports said.

......as baby boomers age, more cases of exploitation, violence and neglect of adults and the elderly are expected.

"Any of us, if we have the inability to care for ourselves, can be victims," said Carol Sloan, Adult Protective Services training program manager. "We're going to see more of it."

Statewide there were 13,136 reports of abuse. A total of 10,640 investigations substantiated the reports in 1,381 cases. Almost 70 percent of victims are 60 and older.

Also last year, there were 3,359 reports of financial exploitation of adults, more than any other kind of abuse. In 2001 the state registered 2,641 reports of financial abuse.

"It's not a big increase," Sloan noted. "It's a steady increase."

Although senior citizens can be as vulnerable as children, awareness and laws to protect the elderly lag about 20 years behind child abuse, said Sloan, noting that there are no uniform federal laws standardizing what counts as abuse and at what age to start counting cases of elder abuse.

But most commonly the abuse stems from family members, Sloan said.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna is holding community forums to educate people about protecting personal information. On Aug. 27, McKenna, along with representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and AARP, will hold a meeting at South Kitsap High School starting at 6:30 p.m. to spread the word about avoiding scams and fraud.

Abridged and edited for E.A. read it all here >>

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