Each year, older adults in the State of Maine are victimized approximately 14,000 times, according to the Office of the Maine Attorney General. Unfortunately, elder abuse, neglect and exploitation tend to be silent crimes with the vast majority of incidents going unreported because family members, loved ones, or caregivers are most often those who commit the crime. Moreover, elderly victims are often unable to report the abuse or are too afraid to tell someone about it so it often goes undetected. With a rapidly growing aging population, Maine is likely to see an increase in elder abuse unless greater efforts are made to raise awareness and prevent this hidden crime.
Opinions of Maine People
AARP commissioned a poll of Maine people in July/August 2010 to determine how much of a priority it should be for the next governor of Maine to protect Maine’s seniors from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. AARP found that more than three-quarters of Mainers (77%) feel that it should be a priority for the next governor. More specifically, 32% believe that it should be a top priority, while 45% feel that it should be a high priority.
AARP believes that this issue must be addressed. We fully support increased funding to fill the gap in the network of community services for abused and vulnerable adults, and raise Adult Protective Services’ worker capacity. This gap includes a lack of emergency temporary housing and in-home care for abuse victims' responsible guardians' coordination among federal, state, and local agencies' and reliable national and state data.
AARP asked the Maine gubernatorial candidates the following questions in regard to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation:
"Do you support or oppose providing DHHS Adult Protective Services with more resources to help seniors report neglect or abuse? Do you support or oppose increasing funding for the network of community services to protect abused and vulnerable adults? What would you specifically do to prevent the continuation of various abuses that seniors are experiencing both in and out of their homes?"
See how each of the candidates for governor responded.
Find more information on AARP Maine’s voter education activities on Facebook or AARP.org and search for the election races in Maine.