As entrepreneurs in the business of providing care to seniors, many of whom live with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, we are in a prime position to act as advocates when anything appears amiss. A recent bill that passed unanimously in the House and Senate is designed to help spot elder abuse and better protect vulnerable seniors, which could ultimately help us in our quest to provide compassionate care.
The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act seeks to require the development and dissemination of training materials by the Department of Justice (DOJ). These materials would be made available to any support personnel who work with individuals living with dementia, such as caregivers, emergency personnel, police, firefighters, and others. The bill will now go to the President to sign, the final step in the bill becoming a law.
Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) worked with Congressional leaders on the bill, which would enhance the 2010 Elder Justice Act, due for reauthorization soon. The Elder Justice Act is a comprehensive law aimed at preventing elder abuse and providing better coordination of federal responses to any abuse that does occur. Meanwhile, the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would fill an existing gap for those who are best able to take action when abuse is suspected but who may have a limited understanding of working with people who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
How This New Law Would Help to Protect Seniors
According to materials released by AIM, seniors who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to explain or even understand situations, which can present challenges when it comes to working with professional caregivers, emergency personnel, social workers, and others to uncover or prevent elder abuse. Without proper training and understanding, support personnel may misinterpret this behavior as the senior being willfully uncooperative or combative when, in truth, they simply require a different approach than other victims of abuse or exploitation. The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would require the DOJ to develop training materials that specifically address how to work with victims of abuse who live with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The DOJ would also be required to provide annual reports to Congress on who has received the training materials and how they have been used.
Representative Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who introduced the bill in the House along with Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), explained that this law would help first responders and care professionals develop a better understanding of how to interact with the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, from protecting them from financial scams to responding to emergency calls.
The Effect of This Act on the In-Home Caregiving Industry
Providing qualified in-home care for seniors who live with Alzheimer’s or dementia is among our main focuses at Homewatch CareGivers®. The Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act would offer our brand leadership and our franchise owners another valuable resource in protecting those to whom we provide care. Caregivers could feel more confident when interacting with first responders or support personnel, because federally developed training materials could help put even more professionals on the same page when it comes to working with seniors living with dementia. We’ll be following along to watch how this law is executed and, with time, how it helps to identify and extinguish elder abuse.
Read more about the passage of the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act from the Alzheimer’s Association or from Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. If you’d like to learn more about our in-home care franchise opportunities, contact us online today.