South Carolina Ranked One Of The Worst States for Elder Abuse
Columbia, SC (WOLO)– South Carolina ranks as the second worst state for elder abuse even though the state has some of the best protections for the elderly according to a recent survey.
“A Florance man had exploited his father to the extent of about 160-thousand dollars. Which represented the elder man, the elder gentleman’s pretty much entire life savings,” Ken Moore, an Assistant Deputy with the Attorney General’s office said.
According to Ken Moore, this story isn’t unique. His unit with the attorney general’s office has to deal with many cases of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation if the individual is in an elderly care facility. According to a recent Wallethub survey, South Carolina has the highest number of elder abuse cases, even though the state ranks pretty high in the amount of protection it provides the elderly.
“There are different types of abuse, there’s physical, emotional, and financial. The financial one is obviously the more difficult one to identify, but the physical and emotional… what you look for is you look for injuries, looking for them to be a little emotionally withdrawn or afraid,” James Fisher said, an investigator with SVU Columbia Police Department.
Both Moore and Fisher say these cases are more challenging because often the elderly are unable to report the abuse themselves, or many times they don’t want to report because it involves family members, and sometimes reporting would mean they would have to move away from home.
“Many times the suffer from mental, or physical decline. Dementia, severe dementia. It ranges from all sorts of ailments, which is why they’re usually in facilities, is they can’t take care of themselves at home,” Moore said.
Fisher says another problem is we’re just not able to spot the warning signs as easily.
“We as a society focus a lot more on child abuse, and not the elderly. And I don’t think we’re aware of what to look for,” Fisher said.
In the case discussed earlier, the man pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay back his father $160 thousand dollars. Fisher said he’s seen an increase in the number of elder abuse cases in the past couple of years.
“It’s disheartening to see an elderly person and you have a family member taking their money and keeping them a prisoner in their own home,” Fisher said.