Approximately 10 percent of seniors over 60 have suffered some type of abuse. But people with Alzheimer’s and related types of dementia are more prone to elder abuse with some estimates going as high as 50 percent. Recent legislation passed the U.S. Senate to help combat this problem.

The problem

There are over five million Americans with Alzheimer’s. These seniors and other older Americans suffering with dementia are potential victims for physical or emotional abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

These problems, particularly financial exploitation, may have grown during the recent pandemic. Preventing and addressing abuse crimes is particularly difficult in cases where the victim has Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

What the bill does

The bill, if enacted, would expand on the Elder Abuse and Prosecution Act which became law in Oct. 2017. That law requires the U.S. Department of Justice to develop training materials to aid criminal justice, health care and social service workers with assessing and responding to elder abuse cases.

If passed, this legislation would help ensure that health and law enforcement professionals who deal with elder abuse receive additional training and information to appropriately deal with this problem. It would mandate that the National Elder Justice coordinator consider people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia conditions when making or compiling abuse training materials.

The Justice Department would have to consult with stakeholders when developing these and materials and when existing materials are reviewed and updated. The Justice Department’s would also include information about accessing publicly available materials.

This bi-partisan measure unanimously passed the Senate. This bill also follows recommendations from the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. Numerous public advocacy groups support this measure.

An attorney can help hold facilities and individuals responsible for elder abuse and neglect. Lawyers can pursue compensation and damages when this abuse occurs.