States with the Best (and Worst) Elder-Abuse Protection

About 10% of Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse, and in nearly 90% of the cases the abuse is perpetrated by a family member. The most common types of abuse are neglect, emotional/psychological abuse and financial abuse.

In March 2010, the Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Elder Justice Act, the country’s first-ever effort to prevent elder abuse at the federal level as part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Funding has been minimal, however, with the fiscal year 2016 appropriation totaling $8 million, double the funding level in each of the two previous years.

Given the limited federal effort, some states have stepped up their own efforts to combat elder abuse with their own laws and other programs. Analysts at WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 10 metrics to determine which states are doing the most to protect their elder residents from abuse.

On the basis of a weighted average across all 10 metrics, WalletHub ranked the states and D.C. The 10 best list includes:

  1. Washington, D.C.: Score of 71.46 out of a possible 100
  2. Nevada: 70.92
  3. Massachusetts: 66.62
  4. Wisconsin: 66.14
  5. Missouri: 65.22
  6. Tennessee: 60.14
  7. Iowa: 59.78
  8. Louisiana: 59.76
  9. Vermont: 59.59
  10. Hawaii: 58.78

Could it be that these are among the states with the oldest populations? It may seem likely because it would be in the interest of older residents to support laws and programs that could benefit them. Yet, of those 10 states, only two — Vermont and Massachusetts — are among the 10 states with the highest median age.

The 10 states ranked lowest in the WalletHub study are:

  1. South Carolina: 12.49
  2. Wyoming: 18.18
  3. California: 18.93
  4. Rhode Island: 28.31
  5. South Dakota: 28.37
  6. New Jersey: 29.72
  7. North Dakota: 33.61
  8. Idaho: 34.70
  9. Kentucky: 39.98
  10. Alabama: 41.91

So, are residents of these states younger than average? Again, no;  just two of these 10 were among the 10 states with the lowest median age: Idaho and California.

For a full description of WalletHub’s methodology and complete rankings, , along with expert commentary, visit the WalletHub website.