The Times Tribune: Elder Abuse on the Rise (October 1, 2023)
The number of reports of suspected elder abuse made to the 52 Area Agency on Aging offices in the state has skyrocketed over the past five years. In fiscal year 2016-17, the agencies received 28,633 reports statewide. That jumped to 44,352 in fiscal year 2021-22, a 55% increase.
Experts in protective services for the elderly say the increase is partly attributable to increased reporting resulting from efforts to educate the public about how to spot and report abuse.
Other factors include financial and emotional pressures that stress caregivers, the opioid crisis, which led to increasing thefts of pain medications, and a spike in financial exploitation cases.
“There’s a lot of risk factors for elder abuse and exploitation, but one of the main ones is social isolation,” said Vivianne Mbaku, an attorney with Justice in Aging, an organization that trains attorneys about how to spot elder abuse. “There are not as many eyes on you to see that there’s something going on.”