S.C. ranks 49th for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints
South Carolina is ranks 49th out of 50 states for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints compared to other states, according to a recent WalletHub report.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – South Carolina ranks 49th out of 50 states for reports of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints compared to other states, according to a recent WalletHub report.
Captain Heidi Jackson with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department says South Carolina’s ranking isn’t necessarily bad. “I feel like our state actually reports a lot and I had to think about it for a moment and I really came to the conclusion that we are just good at reporting this type of crime in South Carolina. I believe that people do not tolerate elder abuse here and if someone sees it they do report it and we have mandatory reporting and that’s actually a good thing.”
Captain Jackson names red flags for people to look for when it comes to elder abuse.
“I would keep my eye out if someone is not letting you have contact with someone that would be a red flag – like why? If you speak to someone who is older or someone who is a vulnerable adult and their afraid to talk to you that would concern me also, if you see marks or bruises that are kind of unexplained, even if someone has dementia just listen to them because they can still tell you when things are happening to them and I would believe them unless we know otherwise,” says Captain Jackson.
In Richland County the sheriff’s department sees the following most common types of elder mistreatment.
“Sadly we see cases where someone is self neglecting and they’re just not taking care of themselves, we see situations with family members that maybe there’s problems in the family like maybe someone is addicted to drugs and then so they financially exploit someone else, and physical neglect where they just don’t care for them,“ says Captain Jackson.
She says there are programs available to help families keep an eye on their elderly love one.
“We have project H.O.P.E that’s helping our precious elderly and we make phone calls to them but we actually have police officers that are retired and they come back and work with us and they go out and visit people too. So having those eyes and ears in the home and if there is something going wrong they come back and let us know so we can look into it,” says Captain Jackson.
ABC Columbia also reached out to the South Carolina Department on Aging and here is its response to WalletHub findings:
“The South Carolina Department on Aging’s (SCDOA) mission is to enhance the quality of life for seniors in South Carolina. The SCDOA collaborates with a network of state, regional, and local organizations to develop and manage services that help seniors remain independent in their homes and in their communities.
Our agency consistently works to educate, advocate, and empower our seniors so that they can recognize and prevent potential fraud, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.”