The elder population has grown dramatically as life expectancies increase and medical procedures once available only to the wealthiest citizens come into widespread use. The 2010 U.S. Census estimates that people 65 and older make up 13 percent (40.3 million) of the total population, and this percentage will increase with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation.
Elders are among the most vulnerable members of our community and are particularly susceptible to abuse. Elder abuse occurs when an elderly person is mistreated physically or psychologically, exploited financially, or neglected. The perpetrators may include long-term care providers (such as operators and owners of nursing home and residential care facilities for the elderly and their personnel), the elder’s own family members or friends, financial management surrogates (such as agents under durable powers of attorney, conservators, and representative payees), and other persons or entities that provide services to the elderly. Recognition of the problem of elder abuse has led to increased statutory protections.