MOUNT VERNON — In 2008, 17 percent of Ohio’s population was age 60 or older. By 2020, that segment is projected to undergo a 40 percent population growth.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse affects hundreds of thousands of these seniors, but only 1 out of 14 elder abuse incidents — excluding the incidents of self-neglect — is brought to the attention of the authorities.
Although it is not known exactly how many cases of elder abuse go unreported, what is known is that the number that is reported, is increasing. The NCEA cites a 150 percent increase in reports between 1986 and 1996. Adult children are the most frequent abusers of the elderly.
“We have had at least one domestic violence or felony every year for the last five years where the victim is over 65 and the defendant is a young child or grandchild,” said John Thatcher, Knox County prosecutor. “They live together and the elder gets physically assaulted.”
The reasons, he said, could be due to financial stress, or mental or emotional stress. The family relationship makes reporting even more difficult for the elder.