They're weak, physically or mentally disabled or both, and often at the mercy of people they depend on the most: relatives and caretakers.
They're the nation's fast-growing elderly population, and many are prime targets for abuse — physical, financial, sexual or emotional.
Concern among the elderly and their advocates is mounting as the number of seniors soars and more of them live longer.
The Cedar Village Retirement Community in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason this month opened a long-term care facility to victims of abuse. It is the first elder abuse shelter in Ohio and one of only a half-dozen in the country, all of them funded by non-profit groups.
"There is a genuine recognition by those who are concerned by the abuse of elders that there need to be appropriate safe houses for them to get them out of immediate harm's way," says Sally Hurme, AARP's senior project manager in education and outreach. "Nationally, we've been aware of the need for elder abuse shelters, but they've been slow in coming into fruition."
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As US Grays, Elder Abuse Risk and Need for Shelters Grow