South Carolina does the second worst job in the union in protecting its elderly population.
The Palmetto State ranked 50th on WalletHub’s 2017’s States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections analysis, which included all of the states and the District of Columbia. The survey by the personal finance website was published on Wednesday.
In separate key categories, South Carolina also ranked among the worst. The state ranked 49th for elder-abuse, and gross-neglect and exploitation complaints. It was 48th for how much the state spends on elder-abuse prevention and 41st for the number of eldercare organizations and services.
South Carolina has previously acknowledged its growing number of elderly residents; most notably former Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who warned in 2014 that the state had to prepare for an oncoming “gray tsunami.”
The Palmetto State’s senior population is expected to double by the late 2020s to nearly 2 million people who are 60 years or older.
The Greenville News has reported that the number of allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation at the state’s disabilities agency has continued to increase over the years. Also, the paper reported that of the 929 vulnerable adult cases reported in 2015, no one tracked the outcome of more than half of the cases referred to other agencies.
The Department of Social Services’ director has previously told state lawmakers that protecting the state’s elderly and disable adults has become an “afterthought.”
WalletHub’s analysis found that many states recognize elder abuse is a real and growing issue, but few are “fighting hard enough to stop it.”
Those that came as the Top 5 on the list as the best were Nevada, District of Columbia, Arizona, Massachusetts and Iowa.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Cynthia Roldán: @CynthiaRoldan