New Bill Would Protect Senior Citizens from Scams, Fraud and Abuse

Three Congressional representatives have introduced a new bill to protect senior citizens from scams, fraud, and abuse. The bill would give state and local governments more resources to combat elder abuse.

Some measures included in the bill:

Establish an Elder Justice Coordinating Council to coordinate activities of the Federal, State, local and private agencies and entities relating to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Improve the quality of information and research related to elder abuse.

Create new forensic expertise in elder abuse.

Establish penalties and prosecution for failure to promptly report crimes in long-term care facilities.

Provide a first-time direct funding stream for Adult Protective Services (APS).

Establish an advisory board to create a short- and long-term multidisciplinary strategic plan for the developing field of elder justice.

Authorize $72.5 million over four years for national organizations or states that represent or train long-term care ombudsman representatives to provide training, technical assistance, demonstration programs and research.

Authorize $67.5 million over four years in grants to enhance long-term care staffing through training and recruitment.

While the nursing home industry has and justly so been maligned, it should be noted that elder abuse in many cases and in all its forms is often instigated by family members. That said we need more dedicated staff in facilities and more ombudsman patrolling the corridors.

Senior citizen scams, fraud and abuse preys on our least vulnerable. They need to be protected.