With about 10% of Americans over age 60 suffering from elder abuse, personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2021's "States with The Best Elder Abuse Protections."

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said WalletHub compared all 50 states and Washington D.C. across 16 key metrics in three overall categories, which include the prevalence of how many complaints are happening, resources happening and the actual protections in place.

Elder abuse can be more than just physical abuse, said Gonzalez. It can also be gross neglect, which is often found in nursing homes and exploitation complaints. So anytime there's a phishing scam, either via email or a phone scam where someone is looking for personal information, those are things being looked at in this report.

New Jersey ranks as the fifth-worst state in the nation for elder abuse protections, meaning there's a high prevalence of elder abuse and not as many protections in place as there are in other states, Gonzalez said.

"There's just a higher share of elder abuse and gross neglect and exploitation within New Jersey. There's also a higher estimated elder fraud rate so that has to do with elder financial abuse," Gonzalez said.

That's when there is a control in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust which often results in harm to the elderly victim. This is more prevalent in New Jersey as well, she added.

There are not a lot of financial elderly abuse laws in place either.

Gonzalez said there's not many elder care organizations and services, especially given the population of the elderly in New Jersey. She added there should be more of these things to go around because that per capita number is low.

"New Jersey could be doing better across the board. It has some of the resources in place but it's not using them to its fullest extent," Gonzalez said.

Since the elder abuse laws are pretty bad in the Garden State, it is imperative for people to bring this attention to policymakers. Gonzalez said that is the first step.

When compared to its neighbors, New Jersey is still doing a lot worse. Pennsylvania has  the 14th best elder abuse protections in place, while New York ranked 21st. Regionally, New Jersey has a lot to bring to the table and the issue needs to be brought to the forefront, Gonzalez said.

Wisconsin is the state with the best elder abuse protections in place. Massachusetts is second, followed by Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Utah has the worst elder abuse protections followed by Montana, South Carolina, California and New Jersey.

For the full report, visit https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-best-elder-abuse-protection/28754.

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