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Why the Elder Justice Act is failing to prevent abuse

The Elder Justice Act was a bipartisan bill passed, after seven years of struggle, back in March 2010. North Carolina residents should know that the bill is meant to prevent cases of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Lawmakers then had trouble being convinced of the enormity of these problems, and many still do.

Some say that the failure of this bill over the ensuing decade is a reflection of ageism in public policy. The Elder Justice Act is, first of all, underfunded, having received less than 10% of the authorized amount. These funds, in turn, are not enough to create a dedicated fund for adult protective services, and they certainly cannot cover the cost for the building of forensic centers that detect elder abuse.

The Department of Justice has noted that one in 10 people over the age of 60 are victims of abuse or neglect and that the elderly lose up to $3 billion every year through financial exploitation. Yet many deny that these are issues. The government's attention tends also to be taken up more with domestic violence.

As for existing elder abuse laws, these are not being strongly enforced. However, there are champions of elder justice in Congress, and this includes both parties. A reform bill may be introduced in September 2019.

It is often the nursing home's fault when a case of nursing home neglect or abuse arises. For example, some homes do not have stringent enough background checks for their employees. Added to that is the fact that so many elderly patients cannot voice a complaint due to deteriorating mental capacities. The families of an abused or neglected loved one may want to consult with a lawyer about their options.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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