County: Number of elder abuse cases on the rise

SAN DIEGO - County leaders say elder abuse is on the rise and it is only going to get worse as that population continues to grow.

Denise Nelesen, the communications manager for the County Aging and Independence Services, told 10News, "We get 1,000 calls a month already and it's only going to go up."

Nelesen has seen the number of abuse cases against the elderly rise dramatically said the majority of physical and financial abuse cases never get reported.

"Because they're concerned about feeling stupid or having their family members feel like they can't live alone anymore," she said.

In 2011, 10News reported on a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor found living in squalor in his own home. His caregiver was arrested and sentenced to two years in custody for elder abuse and stealing thousands of dollars from him. Then, there is the case of the man police said stole more than $100,000 from an 82-year-old woman's retirement account.

"People are just clever. They want to take advantage of you. They have no heart," said Nelesen.

What is even more upsetting is that statistics show the abusers are often a loved one.

"We have found in the last year more than half of the elder abuse calls we've gotten involve a perpetrator who is a family member," said Nelesen.

Anyone wanting to report a case is asked to call (800) 510-2020. Callers can remain anonymous.

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