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Tom D'Amore
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Oregon Elder Abuse Complaints Up; Elder Justice Act on Hold?

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Oregon officials substantiated 3,650 complaints of abuse against the elderly and disabled last year. That’s the most elder abuse complaints logged since 2010—and a 30% increase from 2012.

The 2013 annual report from the Oregon Office of Adult Abuse Prevention Investigations was released at the National Adult Protection Conference in Portland last month.

“We are going to see a lot more elder abuse, and that’s only with what’s being reported. So much is never reported.”

Kathleen Quinn, executive director of NAPSA

Report details: Facility Complaints

37% of the 2013 elder abuse complaints filed in Oregon named facilities: nursing homes, adult foster homes, residential care and assisted living centers.

The most common types substantiated complaints of abuse at long-term care facilities:

  • Neglect: 76%
  • Financial exploitation: 15%
  • Physical abuse: 4%
  • Verbal or mental abuse: 3%

Waiting for the Elder Justice Act

Elder abuse isn’t just a problem for Oregon. NAPSA director Kathleen Quinn said about one in 10 older adults has been abused or neglected in the last year, noting that abused seniors are three times more likely to die as a result of abuse or neglect.

The Elder Justice Act, which was passed four years ago as part of the Affordable Care Act, is supposed to protect vulnerable senior citizens and the disabled across the U.S.

The current version of the law provides $100 million in federal support to state adult protective services programs in the U.S.

Tell Congress to fund Elder Justice.

So far, Washington’s federal government gridlock has kept the act from being funded. The law could disappear completely if Congress repeals the ACA entirely or gut it section by section when Republicans assume control of both branches of Congress in January 2015.

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