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Senate Introduces Act to Ensure Protections Against Elder Abuse and to Better Protect Those Living With Alzheimer’s in Long Term Care Settings

The Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) are praising the inclusion of the Association-led Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S. 3703/H.R. 6813) and key elements from our COVID-related policy recommendations for long term care communities in the newly introduced Emergency Support for Nursing Homes and Elder Justice Reform Act of 2020 by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The introduction of this legislation is well-timed to assist long term care communities who have been braving battles against the current public health crisis. To further protect those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the act will increase resources to investigate elder abuse and neglect, and also ensure that personnel will receive specialized training on how to interact with witnesses in elder abuse cases who have dementia. And, especially critical during the current pandemic, the act calls for personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing in long term care settings, while also ensuring emergency funding for statewide or regional strike teams that can promptly respond to COVID-19–related crises in nursing homes that are overwhelmed by the pandemic, and proposes measures to reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.

It is monumental for families and individuals who have personally been affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia to have the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act included. People living with dementia are at a heightened risk for experiencing elder abuse, and sadly, professionals who deal with elder abuse, such as police and emergency personnel, often have little knowledge about working with people who have dementia. To combat this, the Alzheimer’s Association and AIM have worked with bipartisan Congressional leaders to require the Department of Justice to develop training materials to assist professionals supporting victims of abuse living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Dementia-specific training materials for these professionals will help protect those in long term care from elder abuse.

“On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, I’d like to thank Chairman Grassley for his leadership and timeliness in including the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act and critical components of our long term care policy recommendations with the reauthorization,” says Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “This crucial legislation will help safeguard millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia from elder abuse, and it will further protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Source: Alzheimer's Association