Story provided by Aging Advocates
The bipartisan Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S.3703/H.R. 6813), legislation championed by the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), was unanimously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Introduced in the House by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), this important bill would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop training materials to assist professionals supporting victims of abuse living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
People living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia are at heightened risk for experiencing elder abuse. As many as 62% of older adults with dementia experience psychological abuse, and as many as one-fourth have been physically abused. Yet, often the professionals — including police, firefighters, emergency personnel and more — who deal with elder abuse have little knowledge about working with people who have dementia.
“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation like this is even more necessary since there may be increased risk for elder abuse, including elder financial exploitation,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) executive director. “We are grateful to Reps. Deutch and Reschenthaler for their leadership on this important issue.”
The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would require the DOJ to develop materials designed to assist law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, medical personnel, victims services personnel, and others who encounter and support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
“With this vote, a unified House of Representatives voted to support the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and others living with forms of dementia and their families,” said Congressman Deutch. “For our loved ones living with this disease, we want the first responders and professionals caring for them to be properly trained in how to interact with them. Whether it’s responding to emergency calls or protecting them from predatory scammers, these best practices will help prepare these health and emergency workers to properly respond to and care for them.”
“I am proud that today the House passed the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which will equip our nation’s first responders and caregivers with best practices to respond to incidents of elder abuse, including financial fraud, physical abuse, and neglect,” said Congressman Reschenthaler. “Senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia are especially vulnerable to exploitation and other harm, and H.R. 6813 will ensure we have the tools to keep these Americans safe.”
The House action follows the Senate passing its version in August. The Association, AIM and its nationwide network of advocates have held hundreds of virtual meetings with Members of Congress to grow support for the bill which will now go to the president to be signed into law.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit alz.org.
Alzheimer’s Impact Movement
The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) is a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate of the Alzheimer’s Association. AIM works to develop and advance policies to overcome Alzheimer’s disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care and improved support. For more information, visit alzimpact.org.
Join the Alzheimer’s Association for a Virtual Community Forum on March 10th, 2021 via Zoom. We welcome you to learn more about the Association’s work in our community. And invite you to share your experiences, needs, and information to help us serve more people. The meeting is expected to last about 90 minutes, offering time for your questions and an opportunity to connect with other community members. You can register by calling 800.272.3900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.