Next Avenue: How America deals with elder abuse—and how it doesn’t

by | Jul 26, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from The Elder Justice Act, created to provide a coordinated federal response to prevent, detect and treat elder abuse, was introduced in Congress in 2002 with bipartisan support. It didn’t pass.

Re-introduced every year thereafter, the bill finally became law when tucked into the Affordable Care Act in 2010 “as a barnacle on a huge whale,” in the words of its architect, M.T. Connolly. But Congress didn’t fund The Elder Justice Act until 2015 — and even then, it allocated just a pittance ($4 million). “We lacked a political constituency. It was very frustrating,” Connolly, founder of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative and a MacArthur “Genius” award winner, told me. “I still don’t think there’s any reason for jubilation about the law. We need to do the important work of building advocacy networks and a constituency.”‘The Measure of Our Age’ Connolly, a lawyer, has now written the book “The Measure of Our Age: Navigating Care, Safety, Money & Meaning Later in Life,” which describes her disappointment about how America deals with elder justice and elder fraud (and how it doesn’t). Each year, roughly 10% of Americans aged 60 and older experience elder abuse and, Connolly said, elder financial abuse is on the rise. Victims over 60 lose over $28 billion annually to elder financial exploitation, according to a recent AARP study. Connolly also includes in her book — and told me — what she thinks could be done to better serve the nation’s older adults and their families. Don’t miss: Tony Bennett taught us 4 lessons about aging  The crisis-driven approach doesn’t work “We’ve tolerated nursing home problems for decades without doing much ab …

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