SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KCBS) – As the population in the United States gets older, law enforcement agencies across the country and here in the Bay Area are devoting more time investigating cases of elder abuse.

Wednesday marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is aimed at creating more awareness for the growing problem. In Santa Clara County alone last year, nearly 200 people were prosecuted for elder financial or physical abuse, something Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said is unacceptable.

“We have two prosecutors and an investigator that work full-time on these cases. One of the things that we try to do in addition to just prosecuting the cases is to try to prevent them from happening in the first place,” said Rosen. “We try to do that by speaking to numerous community groups about elder financial abuse and how elders can protect themselves.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Lee Pullen, who heads up Santa Clara County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services, said elder abuse is a rising problem.

“The elderly are so vulnerable to financial abuse. That’s where we’ve really seen the increase in the last decade and I suspect that that is just going to rise, despite our best efforts,” said Pullen. “Our isolated elders are such prey for those who want to take advantage of them financially.”

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that between one and two million people who are 65 and older in the U.S. have been mistreated, exploited or injured by someone who they depend on for care and protection.

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