A Preview of Tuesday's Special Report

Elder Abuse on The Rise

By KBJR News 1

May 22, 2012 Updated May 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM CDT

Your retirement is meant to be your golden years. But a growing number of Northland senior citizens are living those years in fear.

Every year between one and two million vulnerable elders are abused or neglected, and for every one report, the experts say five more are never heard from.

"It's hard to know because of the secrecy when nursing home residents are cared for at night with some of the staff or the secrecy that occurs behind closed doors in anyone's individual homes," says Iris Freeman of the Center on Elder Justice and Policy at the William Mitchell College of Law.

Minnesota's senior ombudsman for Long Term Care says not nearly enough attention is being given to the growing problem of elder abuse.

"Isn't it disgusting and sad that we had harder penalties for animals that were neglected," says the Minnesota Ombudsman for Long Term Care Deb Holt.

"Many cases of deprivation occur in such secrecy, in such silence, that by the time the victim is found there has been such disastrous harm that the victim is not likely to live," says Iris.

Tonight on KBJR 6 and Range 11 News at 10 p.m., Barbara Reyelts begins a special investigation into the disturbing rise of elder abuse in the Northland.