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This blog features a round up of elder justice related news items that were released in October 2012, along with information on relevant funding opportunities.  

In his official proclamation for this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, President Obama called on all citizens to speak out against domestic violence towards older Americans. In response, federal and state initiatives are leading to new collaborative efforts to combat elder abuse and aid its victims: 
National News
  • The American Society on Aging dedicated the fall 2012 issue of their quarterly-journal, Generations, to elder abuse and the elder justice movement in America. Please go here to check out the issue.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder co-hosted the inaugural meeting of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council to set the “elder justice road map” for the nation.
    • Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, “I think that today’s council meeting is so important, because it begins to bring together not only the government folks who are sitting in front of you, but also yourselves as experts in this field, the people who contribute to better coordination and collaboration.”
    • NYC Elder Abuse Center’s Director, Dr. Mark Lachs, also testified before the Elder Justice Coordinating Council.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on October 11, 2012 the elder abuse prevention grant awards.
    • The NYS Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) was awarded a $1 million HSS elder abuse prevention grant at the Elder Justice Coordinating Council meeting. Lifespan and The NYC Elder Abuse Center are key partners on the NYSOFA project which will develop enhanced multidisciplinary teams upstate New York and in Manhattan.  Please see NYCEAC’s recent blog post for more details.
    • The University of California, Irvine’s Program in Geriatrics received a $1 million grant from the US Administration on Aging to combat elder abuse. UC Irvine will use the grant to launch Take AIM Against Elder Abuse, an approach to preventing the abuse of people with dementia.
    • Additional states receiving grants include Texas (2 awards), Oregon, and Alaska.
  • Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) introduced the Care Coordination for Older Americans Act of 2012to strengthen and expand coordination between organizations serving seniors and health care providers, and define coordination as an objective.
    • Senator John Kerry (D-MA) also introduced a similar piece of legislation to update the Older Americans Act.
  • The HHS Office of Inspector General announced it will provide new grants for nursing home background checks after a federal investigation found that about 19%of nurses aides accused of elder abuse, neglect, and theft had past convictions in their criminal records.
    • The investigative report was mandated by the Affordable Care Act to evaluate national and state background check programs and how they could have detected nurses aides with a criminal history of abuse, neglect, and misappropriation.

Local News (New York State & New York City)

  • The Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale has created a multi-disciplinary team with the Elder Abuse Bureau of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office to address elder abuse issues locally.
    • The multidisciplinary team will work in tandem with the Department of Social Services, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and include Adult Protective Services, medical and mental health professionals, elder law attorneys, and local police departments.
    • The creation of the multidisciplinary team is part of the Westchester DA’s initiative to fight elder abuse, in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • Local politicians, police officers, and senior citizens held a forum on elder abuse in Whitestown, NY.
    • The forum’s goal was to raise awareness and inform local seniors about places they can go for help.
    • Officials from the Oneida County Office for the Aging also attended the forum.
  • The District Attorney’s Office in Buffalo, NY convicted a paralegal of embezzling $311,000 from her 77-year-old client.
    • Pamela Blood, a paralegal at Hiscock & Barclay’s Buffalo offices plead guilty to grand larceny in the second degree and offering a false instrument for filling in the first degree.
    • The victim and her son hired two investigators who specialize in cases of financial elder abuse from the DA’s Office after noticing after noticing the missing finances.

Election News

  • The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare” includes a key elder abuse provision, The Elder Justice Act.
    • In a recent discussion with AARP, President Obama stated he’d like to continue the health care reforms established under the Affordable Care Act.
    • In the third Presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney vowed to file legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”, on his first day in office if elected.

Elder Justice in the News

Just in case you missed it, here are some of our favorite news stories from September:

    • While speaking at AARP’s Life@50+ Conference, Holder said, “We’ve placed a special focus on standing with our nation’s seniors – and working with strong allies like AARP – to more effectively protect their interest, investments, and hard-earned savings.”
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new collaborative program between the State Officer for Aging, the State Office of Court Admission, and the New York State Bar Association to further provide affordable legal services to senior citizens and New Yorkers with disabilities.

Funding Opportunities

  • The Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health announced a new funding opportunity for activities and events that enhance access to information and health care resources that promote the safety and health of older women.
    • Proposed activities should focus on preventive and behavioral health, abuse in older adults, or care giving.
    • For information on how to apply, please see here.
by Alexandra Pearson, MA, Communication Specialist, NYCEAC

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