Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Carolina has the worst elder-abuse protection programs, according to a new report from a commercial group that frequently compares state criteria.
According to Wallethub, South Carolina ranks at the very bottom on a variety of issues like complaints of abuse, neglect and exploitation among residents 65 and older, expenditures on elder-abuse protection, the number of eldercare organizations and services, quality of nursing homes and other measures the group used to compare states.
The Wallethub report said that abuse happens every day and takes many forms, but vulnerable older Americans, especially women, are among the easiest targets for such misconduct because they tend to have disabilities and rely on others for care or other type of assistance. By one estimate, roughly 96 percent of all elder abuse cases go unreported.
It’s not helping that the number of seniors requiring special care is expected to skyrocket in the coming decades. 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, due to Baby Boomers who began turning 65 in 2011.
WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 10 key indicators of elder-abuse protection. The data that Wallethub used set ranges from “share of elder-abuse, gross-neglect and exploitation complaints” to “financial elder-abuse laws.”
This is where South Carolina stands on some key metrics studied by WalletHub:
Elder-abuse protections in South Carolina (1=Best; 25=Avg.)
•50th – Elder-Abuse, Gross-Neglect and Exploitation Complaints per Resident Aged 65+
•35th – Total Expenditures on Elder-Abuse Prevention per Resident Aged 65+
•28th – Total Long-Term Care Ombudsman-Program Funding per Resident Aged 65+
•41st – Number of Eldercare Organizations & Services per Resident Aged 65+
•38th – Number of Certified Volunteer Ombudsmen per Resident Aged 65+
•34th – Nursing-Homes Quality
Wallethub relied on data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Aging Integrated Database, National Conference of State Legislatures, Administration on Aging – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, California State Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians & Public Conservators, ProPublica and United Health Foundation.