With more elders in Oregon, abuse rises – The Columbian
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon is seeing an increase in reports of abuse of the elderly as the population of older Oregonians continues to grow and people get better about reporting.
A state report issued last week found a 10-percent increase in the number of investigations conducted into the abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable people. That includes older adults and people with disabilities.
Some of the increase is due to more reporting, researcher Joe Merrifield of the Oregon Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations told the Salem Statesman Journal.
In 2014, more than 38,000 cases of possible abuse were reported, up from 35,000 in 2013. In both years, the most common type of abuses were financial exploitation and neglect. The number of cases that were investigated rose 10 percent to 18,185.
Many of the abuse reports come from people such as bankers and financial service workers who are not required by law to report suspected abuse.
Census data shows that since 2010, more than 50,000 Oregon residents have turned 65 annually, Merrifield said. The annual growth of aging baby boomers is expected to continue for another decade, adding nearly 300,000 older adults to the state’s population.
“Obviously, not everyone over 65 is vulnerable,” Merrifield said. “Many are living longer, healthier lives, but it’s likely we’ll continue to see an increase in the number of cases reported, as well as the number of cases investigated and the number of vulnerable adults abused, as a result.”
The report says financial exploitation tends to be more common in the community at large, where vulnerable adults might be isolated in their homes and not have family or other social support systems nearby. Neglect is more prevalent in licensed or facility settings, according to the report.
The state has created a hotline for people to report abuse of children or adults.