In California, Elder Abuse is both a crime and a civil offense. Unfortunately, it goes unreported for a variety of reasons–embarrassment of the victim, inability of others to identify the issue, or a victim’s desire not to pursue the matter against a family member or loved one.
Generally, elder abuse is the physical or financial abuse or neglect or other treatment that results in pain and suffering of a person over the age of 65.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 135,000 people in Humboldt County, approximately 15 percent are aged 65 and above. That number is up from the 13 percent in 2010. And, an aging population is a vulnerable population. Already, our government organizations field hundreds of calls per year about elder abuse. But, it is estimated that approximately 20 percent of elder abuse cases go unreported–and the number doubles when the issue is financial elder abuse.
Training those likely to come into contact with elders in our community is one way to ensure that incidences of elder abuse get reported. Clergy, medical care providers, first responders, bank tellers and officers, and even private lawyers have personal contact with our elders every day. Training as to different forms of elder abuse, and how and to whom a report can be made will be incredibly helpful in addressing the problem.
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform(link is external) has some great fact sheets about elder abuse available on its website.
Any person with concern about an elderly person being abused should not hesitate to contact Adult Protective Services at (707) 476-2100 or (707) 445-7715.