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Community Indicators Project – Part 5; Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse

Sonora, CA — Today we present the fifth installment of our nine week series on the 2008 Tuolumne County Profile Community Indicators Project. Our focus; Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse.

Why is this important?

In Tuolumne County, 21% of our population is aged 65 and over. This per capita rate ranks among the highest in the state. Tracking elder/dependent adult abuse trends helps the community to gauge its capacity to provide the support services needed to keep vulnerable and aged adults safe from abuse.

Other factors affecting service provision include increasing numbers of elder adults, geographical isolation, individuals´ lack of informal support networks, lack of affordable private health insurance, minimal subsidized housing, and funding reductions to service providers.

What is the measure?

Abuse by others is a crime and includes (1) neglect, (2) physical abuse, (3) emotional abuse, (4) sexual abuse, (5) financial abuse, (6) isolation, and (7) abandonment. These measures apply to both elder and dependent adults.

How are we doing?

In Tuolumne County, dependent adult abuse reports increased 17% between 2002 and 2007, while the state experienced a 19% increase for the same population.

However, elder abuse reports in Tuolumne County increased significantly more (41%) during that same period than elder abuse rates for the state (13%). It is not known what caused this significant increase.

The county developed a multi-agency response team to address abuse issues and coordinate elder and dependent adult services. In addition, Adult Protective Services developed a new database with expanded ability to collect more specific data about abuse incidents.

Click Community Indicators Project for the entire 2008 Tuolumne County Profile prepared by the Sonora Area Foundation.

Our continuing series can be heard on all Monday, Wednesday and Friday STAR 92.7 morning newscasts (5:50, 6:20, 6:50, 7:20, 7:50 and 8:20) and 93.5 KKBN morning newscasts (6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:30). The series can also be heard on AM-1450 KVML Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 12:05pm and 5:30pm.

Written by Bill Johnson