By Ron Tatro, Vice President
ELDER ABUSE & LEGISLATURE
The 2017-2018 legislative season is in full swing. Legislators listen to their constituents, hear their concerns, and many times introduce new bills into the legislature to address those concerns. A frequently expressed area of concern relates to the treatment of seniors and elder abuse. During this season both the House and Senate have introduced a wide range of bills to address many different issues such as licensing caregivers, increasing criminal penalties when there are older victims, and better oversight of care facilities.
The legislation is indeed timely. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities. Recent research has found that elder financial exploitation is widespread, expensive, and even deadly.
• One in nine seniors reported being abused, neglected or exploited in the past twelve months; the rate of financial exploitation is extremely high, with 1 in 20 older adults indicating some form of perceived financial mistreatment occurring in the recent past
• Elder abuse is vastly under-reported; only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported
• Abused seniors are three times more likely to die and elder abuse victims are four times more likely to go into a nursing home • 90% of abusers are family members or trusted others
• Almost one in ten financial abuse victims will turn to Medicaid as a direct result of their own monies being stolen from them
• Cognitive impairment and the need for help with activities of daily living make victims more vulnerable to financial abuse The Michigan Senior Advocates Council delegates visited both House and Senate legislative offices
For Additional information on pending elder abuse legislation, please visit the Michigan Elder Justice Coordinating Council website.