California is often a trendsetter, blazing new paths in everything from popular culture to tax policy and environmental protections. But a new report shows that California finishes nearly last in protecting vulnerable older Americans from elder abuse.
According to WalletHub’s “States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections” report, California ranks 49th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The personal finance site compiled its ratings from 16 key indicators of elder-abuse protection in three main categories: prevalence, resources and protections.
This category factored in the number of elder-abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints per 100,000 residents ages 65 and older, as well as elder fraud loss amounts per reported frauds and estimated elder-fraud rates.
California placed an abysmal 50th in this category; only Nevada finished below us. Louisiana, Hawaii and New Hampshire are the nation’s top three states in holding down the frequency of the financial mistreatment of seniors.
Our poor showing here means far too many California seniors are being deprived of both their valuable assets and their independence. Financial elder abuse can involve theft, fraud, misuse of credit cards or the use of undue influence on a vulnerable older person.
Though we finished much higher in the Resources category, at 33, California still placed in the bottom half of the nation in providing resources to prevent elder abuse. The category ranks states by spending per resident age 65 and older on things such as elder abuse prevention and legal assistance development.
The Protection category ranks states by the presence or absence of financial elder abuse laws, the quality of nursing homes, the number of eldercare organizations per 100,000 residents ages 65 and above, and so on.
California performed best here, placing second in the nation, trailing only Washington.
The Wallethub report makes it clear that much work lies ahead for California to catch up in preventing financial elder abuse and all other forms of abuse of our senior citizens.