Elder abuse cases increased last year


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Dauphin County and surrounding areas have seen an increase in elder abuse investigations.

The Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging investigated 855 cases of abuse to people over age 60 in 2018. Last year, there were 1,074 cases.

Elena Welsh, the agency’s director of protective services, says there are multiple reasons for the increase.

“There’s, I think, an increased awareness, mandated reporters that are being trained on being reported to us, and just an increase in the population. The baby boomers are getting older,” Welsh said.

It’s not just Dauphin County reporting high numbers. York County investigated about 1,300 cases in 2019. Cumberland County had 620 investigations, a number it says is high for the county.

The Pennsylvania State Agency on Aging investigated over 27,000 cases, a 17%  increase from the previous year.

The increase in investigations has resulted in a bigger workforce. In 2012, Dauphin County had three to four investigators.

“Now within the last six months, we’ve had to increase that to 10 investigators and two supervisors,” said Welsh.

Welsh said the obvious signs of abuse and neglect are injuries, changes in behavior, and not meeting basic needs like eating and bathing.

“If you see something, say something. If it doesn’t feel right, call us,” she said.

STATEWIDE 24 HOUR HOTLINE: 1-800-490-8505

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