On Monday, we discussed how May is Older Americans Month and began using the campaign as an opportunity to talk about nursing home abuse and neglect. The video above is fairly humorous advertisement for an assisted living home, but elder abuse and neglect is a problem that often occurs out of sight and, thus, stays out of most minds.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) says that the best available estimates indicate that approximately 700,000 to 3.5 million older Americans are abused, neglect, or exploited each year. The most recent national statistics for Adult Protective Services (APS) programs indicate that there were approximately 381,430 reports of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation to APS across the country in 2003, but the NCEA notes that “even when suspicions are reported, the outcomes of the cases are difficult to track.”
According to the NCEA, the older population in America is continuing to grow and will burgeon between the years 2010 and 2030 when the “baby boom” generation reaches age 65. The Administration on Aging (AoA) estimates there will be about 72.1 million older persons by 2030, comprising almost 20 percent of the total population and nearly twice as many as in 2007. Furthermore, the AoA also says that the 85 and older population is projected to increase to 6.6 million in 2020, or a 15 percent increase from 2010. The MetLife Mature Market Institute estimated in 2009 that elders throughout the U.S. lose a minimum of $ 2.6 billion annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation.
So what can you do? The NCEA notes that you can help raise awareness by talking about the issue and also be a “sentinel” by:
- Keeping in contact and talk with your older friends, neighbors, and relatives frequently
- Being aware and alert for the possibility of abuse
- Looking around and taking note of what may be happening with your older neighbors and acquaintances
- Asking questions and listening
One of the best ways we can pay tribute to all older Americans this month is to begin taking a more active role in reporting and preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of senior citizens.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys