World Elder Abuse Day Draws Attention to Utah’s Rise in Senior Exploitation

(KCPW News) The number of thieves targeting Utah’s seniors continues to rise. Nan Mendenhall, Director of the state’s Adult Protective Services says a recent study shows Utah seniors could be getting exploited out of almost one million dollars a day.

“In this last year we’ve had a 21 percent increase in just our financial exploitation cases,” Mendenhall said. “What we’re seeing is that it’s hitting seniors more and it’s making them become very indigent on the state because their losing everything.  So, when it’s time for more advanced care, they don’t have any money. So, it is impacting society.”

Friday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Mendenhall says the key to making sure seniors don’t become a target is communication with their families and financial institutions.

“Various banks have different programs that will help them so you know there are various ways that you can protect your assets,” Mendenhall said. ” I think you just have to explore which option is best for you because what works for one may not work for the next person.”

Mendenhall estimates that only one in 10 cases of elder abuse are actually reported. She adds that Utah law requires people who suspect elder abuse to report it to authorities.