CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia’s population is 1.8 million with almost 230,000 being residents over the age of 65.
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, there are a suspected 5 million abused elders across the US every year with only 1/24 cases reported.
“There’s sexual abuse, physical abuse, there’s neglect, and then there’s financial exploitation as it relates to the assets of seniors as they age,” says Robert E. Roswall, the Commissioner with the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services.
Some of the more common abuse claims with the elderly are related to fraud. Linda Bunn, the Assistant State Director with AARP West Virginia, says the elderly could be a prime target for scammers.
“When they pick a target, they pick a target with resources. My daughter is 21 years old; she lives in a rented apartment, drives a used car, and has student loan debt. Nobody wants to target her,” Linda Bunn, the Assistant State Director with AARP West Virginia.
There are often signs that show when an elder is enduring some type of abuse. Those signs could range from withdrawal, depression, or changes in eating habits.
Officials say if you suspect elderly abuse, you should contact the West Virginia Bureau or the West Virginia Department of Human Resources.
Roswall also reminds us that one simple way to ensure the safety of the elders in your life is to, “check on your family members [and] stay in contact.”