Sunday, June 7, 2009

Elder Justice Act Editorial

Congressional Hearings going back 30 years have documented that elder abuse is a shameful national epidemic. In recent years, the problem has only gotten worse.

Three times now, the Elder Justice Act, which would adopt much-needed new measures to protect exploited seniors, has died in Congress.

Seniors can no longer afford to wait. It's time now for action.

Sen. Orrin Hatch and Blanche Lincoln have reintroduced their original bill once again. It currently awaits action in the Senate Finance Committee.

The Elder Justice Act is a smart, comprehensive plan for preventing and detecting elder abuse across the U.S.

First and foremost, it would make combating elder abuse a national priority. That would help to bring the problem, which has largely been a hidden epidemic, into the public spotlight.

The Elder Justice Act would do a number of things.

Most importantly, it would create a stream of dedicated funding through block grants to Adult Protective Services Agencies around the country. These agencies are on the front lines for detecting elder abuse and protecting exploited seniors.

Yet many local adult protective services agencies currently operate on such shoestring budgets their caseloads are off the charts. They're only able to intervene in the most extreme cases of abuse, leaving many at-risk seniors to suffer.

On the legal front, the bill also:

* provides for specialized training for law enforcement and prosecutors who handle elder abuse cases

* creates an Office of Elder Justice to help coordinate local and federal efforts to combat elder abuse

* creates an Elder Justice Research Center that would provide public education on preventing elder abuse

* helps protect residents of long-term care facilities by requiring that employees of nursing homes undergo background checks

Full Article and Source:
Editorial: Congress should pass Elder Justice Act

See also:
Elder Abuse Bill Reintroduced


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Elder Justice Act should pare down and ask for less --- get that passed, then come back and add for a little more until finally they get what they want.

Anonymous said...

I have not read the Elder Justice Act thoroughly. I would imagine, though, that it could be broken down into smaller parts and some of those smaller parts would get through.

Anonymous said...

I oppose such a bill until the words "elder abuse" are clearly defined. Guardianship courts routinely use the term as a way to remove an elderly person from family members and the family member never gets a chance to vindicate themselves. I know, it happened to me and I have been prevented from seeing my mother, who I love and took care of for over 27 years. She has been isolated from me for over two years and the heartbreak never goes away.

annie mckenna

Anonymous said...

It's a necessary thing that workers in nursing homes should have a background check prior to employment.

A pervert or thief would have too much opportunity and every effort should be made to keep them out of contact with the helpless.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Annie McKenna. Elder abuse is a broad and generic term that can be used for whatever purpose they want.

We all have our idea of what it is; but still there should be a clear defination!

tvfields said...

I have no confidence in the Elder Justice Act. It is too general. Consider, for example, the Elder Justice Research Center, which would provide public education on preventing elder abuse. Knowing that others, including state officials and AARP, have refused to share the information I have provided them, why should I think that this research center would? And even if the research center did so, why should I think it wouldn't be buried under all the meaningless garbage which so many "experts" have published? Just how would the research center be operated to meet such needs? For example, would the research center provide a prominent link on the internet to legal reforms proposed by victims and advocates? How would it organize such proposals so that visitors to the center are likely to find those proposals which are relevant to their search?

Does anyone see in the Elder Justice Act any specific proposals for preventing the exploitation of older adults by means of legal/financial documents including Wills, deeds, trusts, and POAs? Does anyone see in the Elder Justice Act any specific proposal like the AMA recommendation which the Ohio State Medical Association included nearly twenty years ago on pages 5 and 6 of its Ohio Physicians Elder Abuse Prevention Project Report?

The Elder Justice Act is mostly about funding for agencies and associations that have historically ignored needs like those mentioned here ...

Anonymous said...

Applause! tvfields. Very well stated. Looks like more people working for the government, jobs for life, scares me. I remember what President Ronald Reagan said about running for the hills when you hear someone say: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you".

Anonymous said...

Look at the Elder Abuse Victims Act that has passed. It will address a study of guardianship laws and their effectiveness.