Nearly 96 percent of elder-abuse cases go unreported each year. So the personal-finance website WalletHub has conducted an in-depth analysis that identifies 2017's states with the best elder-abuse protections.

New Jersey ranks 49th on that list.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez says 11 key metrics were used to determine which states fight the hardest against elder abuse. The data set ranges from share of elder-abuse, gross-neglect and exploitation complaints to presence of financial elder-abuse laws.

New Jersey did poorly across the board in all categories.

"We are seeing some of the highest complaints in terms of things like gross-neglect in nursing homes, exploitation and elder abuse in New Jersey," says Gonzalez.

There's also a lot of complaints in long term care facilities in New Jersey as well, so it's not just short-term, she adds.

Gonzalez said that unlike other states last year, New Jersey lawmakers did not toughen laws against financial crimes involving the elderly.

"New Jersey also has a very low number of elder care organizations and services to really go out and be an advocate for the elderly," says Gonzalez.

But New Jersey has the tools and the potential to improve its dismal ranking regarding elder abuse protections. Gonzalez says the one thing people can do is volunteer at long-term care facilities and watchdog groups to make sure these things are not happening.

According to the survey, Nevada ranks No. 1 for elder-care protections followed by Washington, D.C., and Arizona. California ranks dead last at number 51 for elder-abuse protections.

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