By 2030 the number of Americans age 65 and older will double from its current levels, spurring a demographic change that will leave the country’s population older than it has ever been. As the baby boomer generation reaches the age of 65 at 10,000 members per day, the rise in the number of elderly has unfortunately been accompanied by a rise in the number of cases of elder abuse.
Researchers say that about 2 million seniors suffer some kind of elder abuse every year, though those figures may only represent a small portion of the actual occurrences. There is some research to show that as many as one out of every 10 senior citizens have suffered from at least one form of elder abuse.
The reason there is such a discrepancy in the known cases versus the number of cases believed to exist is because many seniors are reluctant to report abuse. Senior citizens often feel ashamed when they are victimized, especially when the abuse comes at the hands of a family member.
Additionally, elderly people with cognitive impairments, whether due to a medical condition or as a natural result of the aging process, are often confused about what happened or may not even remember suffering the abuse.
As more and more of these cases come into the spotlight, communities around the country will likely have to deploy additional resources that are not currently in place.
If you know or suspect an elderly family member is being abused you should contact your estate planning attorney right away.