According to a recent report released by the Department of Social Services in Connecticut, the number of reported cases of abuse against elderly individuals throughout the state jumped dramatically between 2011 and 2017.
According to this report, there were 3,529 reported cases of elder abuse in 2011 and 11,123 in 2017. It was determined by the Department of Social Services that 7,196 reported cases warranted an investigation. However, it is important to understand many of these reported cases of elder abuse also involved self-neglect, where an aging senior was unable to provide support for their own basic care, not necessarily the result of a family member, friend, or even home health care services abusing them.
In fact, 30 percent of the elder abuse cases reported to the Department of Social Services involved self-neglect. Some of the other cases of elder abuse included financial exploitation, neglect by others, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and abandonment.
As noted by the CT Post blog, Elder abuse cases rapidly rising in CT, written by Kate Farrish:
“The Justice Department estimates that 1 in 10 American seniors are abused, and state officials say the problem is likely to grow as the population in Connecticut — already the sixth oldest state — rapidly continues to age.
Complaints about abuse in Connecticut nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted living facilities rose by nearly 15 percent between 2015 and 2017, said Mairead Painter, the state Long Term Care Ombudsman.
Experts say the numbers of elder abuse complaints may be rising due, in part, to greater awareness, but still, many cases are never reported.
“Sometimes individuals are too embarrassed to report it,” Painter said. “Sometimes people are fearful that if they report abuse, they may have to stay longer at a nursing home.””
This information highlights that the trend in elder abuse cases is increasing. In one case, an elderly woman over 90 stopped receiving in-home care support because her niece had spent the victim’s money on her own household and didn’t pay the home care provider. In another case, an 87-year-old victim had his utilities shut off when his son spent all the victim’s money on himself rather than paying the bills.
Elder abuse is a serious problem and while these numbers are staggering, especially in regard to the number of cases reported, a greater awareness and ease of reporting may also be contributing to the increase in numbers of reported elder abuse cases.