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What you should know about elder abuse

Most of us know an elderly family member or friend. However, despite knowing an elderly person, most people likely are not aware of what elder abuse is and the statistics surrounding it. Connecticut residents may find it interesting to learn that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, persons aged 90 and above were estimated to number around two million.

This number was expected to quadruple within the next 40 years, and it is now estimated that by 2050 about 10 percent of the elderly population will include persons 65 and older. Though such statistics are available to highlight the growing elder population, according on one report elder abuse, which includes neglect, physical and emotional abuse, abandonment, self-neglect, sexual abuse and exploitation is underreported but is expected to grow as the population of the United States ages.

According to the American Psychological Association, the perpetrators of elder abuse tend to be family members such as spouses and adult children. Furthermore, with the rise of nursing homes and in-home care, many of these caregivers are also implicated. Recently, a caregiver was charged with assault for the alleged elder abuse of an 89-year-old woman who apparently passed away from abuse and neglect. Prosecutors in that case are still deciding whether or not to bring to murder charges against the live-in caregiver.

In addition to elder abuse being committed by caregivers and family members, another study found that in care centers there is a high incidence of abuse being committed by one elder against another elder. The study estimated that nearly 19 percent of residents experience hostile behavior. Though there are some statistics available on elder abuse, researchers agree that the issue of elder abuse is underreported and is a growing problem.

People should seek help immediately if they suspect an older family member or loved one is being abused. Elder abuse lawyers can provide concerned parties with information and often can take steps to end the abuse quickly.

Source: StatesboroHerald.com, "Elder abuse is underreported and increasing in homes and care centers," Kelsey Clark, Dec. 4, 2014

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