Many locals have probably heard of nanny cams, but the new use for hidden cameras are granny cams. Like their nanny counterparts, these hidden cameras are used to combat elder abuse by capturing video evidence of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. However, while nanny cams are there to catch nannies, granny cams are there for general protection from caregivers or anyone entering the elderly person’s property. Unfortunately, citing privacy issues, the Georgia General Assembly blocked the proposed granny cam legislation, according to its sponsor, Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge).

The granny cam bill

The bill (HB 849) would have allowed assisted living residents and residents in personal care homes to install granny cams in their rooms. The Georgia Health Care Association claimed that granny cams do not protect residents, they only observe, and they increase the risk of violating federal and state privacy regulations, like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

HB 849 would have required residents to provide written consent to anyone else sharing their rooms and the facility itself before installing a device. In addition, they would have to post a sign letting people know they were under surveillance when inside the resident’s room. And, the facility, itself, could not access the device or its audio and video recordings.

Other states

Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Oklahoma already have some type of law authorizing granny cams in facilities that service the elderly. New Jersey even goes a step further with its “Safe Care Cam” program. That program actually loans out granny cams to residents.

Next steps

While this bill may have stalled, it does not mean that Atlanta seniors are without options both before and after elder abuse occurs. But, before installing a granny cam, one should consult an elder abuse attorney to ensure they are not violating any legal or contractual obligations. And, if one suspects elder abuse has already occurred, a call should also be placed to an attorney to hold those responsible accountable.