The odds of elder abuse in Florida keep going up, if only for the reason that the elderly population is growing. Florida is a very popular destination for the elderly, and many of them need — or will need — care and assistance of one sort or another. These dependent relationships make them vulnerable to abuse.

Reports out of Florida indicate that about 23% of the people in the state are 60 years old or older. That’s out of a total of around 20 million in overall population, so you’re looking at roughly 4.6 million elderly individuals.

As noted, that’s rising. By next year, in 2020, researchers say that the population in Florida will have hit around 23.5 million overall, and the percentage of elderly people — those over 60 — will be about 28%. So, not only will the total population go up, but the makeup of that population will trend more heavily toward the elderly than it does now. That’s a rough total of 6.58 million elderly people.

If this trend continues, the elderly population will just continue to swell, and that’s going to put a lot of pressure on nursing homes, assisted living facilities and their staff members. They’ll be spread even thinner, as these places have a reputation for being chronically understaffed as it is. That can lead to neglect on its own, or it can lead to indiscriminate hiring, which may increase the odds of abuse.

At the end of the day, if your loved one faces abuse or neglect, you have to know what legal steps you can take.