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Pearl Harbor Vet One of Countless Victims

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.