HARRISBURG (AP) – PA saw a tenfold increase in deaths of older adults following an abuse or neglect complaint over the past few years. State data shows the increase went from 120 deaths reported in 2017 to almost 1,400 in 2022. The state Department of Aging and county-level agency officials blame a growing population of people 65 and older, an increase in complaints, and the COVID-19 pandemic. But agencies also struggled to keep caseworkers through the pandemic. PA‘s Department of Aging says it has no data to suggest that a lack of caseworkers contributed to the increase in deaths. In 2018, the state’s Office of Inspector General issued a report that criticized how the state and counties handle abuse and neglect reports. That report pointed to failures to properly investigate complaints under timelines required by state law and inadequate staffing of the Department of Aging office that monitors those agencies.