Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Elder abuse rates are rising in Oregon.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Oregon Stateman Journal published an article, by Carol McAlice Currie indicating that the Oregon Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations (OAAPI) had a 10% increase in allegations (38,000) for elder abuse in 2014. The OAAPI also reported that the number of elder abuse investigations increased by 10% to 18,185 in 2014. The State attributes much of the increase in allegations to the aging population and greater awareness of how to report it.

The report didn't specify the number of financial abuse allegations as opposed to the number allegations for physical abuse or neglect, nonetheless, the prevalence of elder abuse is a significant scourge on society.

The other interesting fact is that allegations were more likely to be received from people who were not obligated to report, as opposed to those who are obligated to report. According to the Statesman Journal article:
non-mandatory reporters in communities, such as bankers and financial service workers, continued across the board to outnumber mandatory reporters in reporting possible abuse or neglect by a 51 to 49 percent margin, said Joe Merrifield, who manages the research and prevention unit of OAAPI.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes that scourge of elder abuse is a sad reality in our culture that is hard to detect, even by professionals who are obligated to report the abuse. The fact is that legalizing assisted suicide, such as the Oregon assisted suicide act, creates new paths to abuse. The only difference is, in the case of assisted suicide is the victim always ends up dead and the doctor calls the death "personal autonomy." 

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