As seniors suffer in silence, the rate of elder abuse is growing at an
alarming rate. As reported by the
San Diego Union-Tribune, sheriff’s deputies discovered 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor
Arnold V. “Max” Bauer in his squalid house near El Cajon clutching
a photo of his war-era ship.
Bauer was disoriented, dehydrated, and living in filth. Deputies found
mounds of trash, toilets overflowing, rotting garbage in several rooms,
and rat feces scattered everywhere.
Bauer’s live-in caretaker allegedly stole thousands of dollars from
him by writing checks to herself from his account. She has been charged
with four felony counts of elder abuse, theft, forgery, and false imprisonment.
Experts estimate that
only one in thirteen elder-abuse cases are reported nationwide, based on various surveys and studies.
In San Diego County, the District Attorney’s Office has seen the
number of elder-abuse prosecutions rise in the past five years—from
183 cases in 2006 to 238 last year. The county’s elder-abuse hotline receives nearly 10,000 calls a year;
about 40 percent of them directly involve financial abuse.
Other cases include abuse in nursing homes, home-improvement scammers preying
on seniors, financial planners who fleece older clients, and home-care
workers who get paid but do nothing and even steal from their clients.