As the population of older Americans continues to increase, we have also experienced an increased awareness of issues that impact them, including the prevalence of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. States across the nation are scrambling to try and prevent, or at least combat, the problem of elder abuse, with varying success. According to a recently released study by Wallet Hub, California gets poor marks for protecting the elderly.
The Baby Boomers Reach Retirement
Experts tell us that the aging Baby Boomers, who began turning 65 in 2011, have led to a “senior explosion” in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau expects the population aged 65 and older to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million in 2050. For the first time in history, the number of older adults (age 65 and older) is expected to outnumber their younger counterparts (age 21 and younger) that same year. Even before that, in 2030, experts tell us that one in five Americans will be retirement age.
The Wallet Hub Study
Wallet Hub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 14 key indicators of elder-abuse protection in three overall categories – prevalence, resources, and protection. They then evaluated these dimensions using 14 relevant metrics. Each metric was scored on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the “best protection against elder abuse.” The results were compiled into an overall ranking for elder abuse protection. Individual sub-category rankings were also provided for the top five and bottom five in each sub-category. The 14 metrics used in the study are as follows:
- Prevalence – Total 40 Points
- Share of Elder-Abuse, Gross-Neglect and Exploitation Complaints
- Resources – Total 30 Points
- Total Expenditures on Elder-Abuse Prevention per Resident Aged 65 & Older
- Total Expenditures on Legal-Assistance Development per Resident Aged 65 & Older
- Total Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Funding per Resident Aged 65 & Older
- Protection – Total 30 Points
- Financial Elderly-Abuse Laws
- Eldercare Organizations & Services per Resident Aged 65 & Older
- Presence of Elder-Abuse Forensic Centers
- Presence of Elder Abuse Working Groups
- Certified Volunteer Ombudsmen per Resident Aged 65 & Older
- Frequency of Assisted-Living Facilities Inspections
- Quality of Nursing Homes
- Presence of Laws Allowing Surveillance Cams in Nursing Homes
- Presence of Elder Justice Task Forces
- Presence of Elder-Abuse Shelters
Indiana ranked 49th out of the 50 states and D.C. with an overall score of 29.97 out of a possible 100. To provide perspective for that score, Massachusetts came in 1st with a score of 58.55 and New Jersey ranked last with a combined score of just 24.63. Within the three main categories, Indiana scored highest in the “Protection” category, coming in 2nd; however, California ranked 50th in the “Prevalence” category and 36th in the “Resources” category.
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