This blog features a round up of elder justice related news items released in June 2013.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Administration for Community Living Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee addressed elder abuse advocates at the Elder Justice Coalition’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) reception, which was held on Capital Hill. The event was co-sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), supported by Wells Fargo and held to recognize WEAAD and the work of those fighting to end elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Secretary Sebelius thanked elder justice advocates for their hard work and discussed highlights from the recent years of elder justice work, including the passage of the Elder Justice Act.
A United Nations WEAAD Conference was held on June 14 and co-sponsored by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the United States Mission, the NGO Committee on Ageing, the Administration of Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services (United States), the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (Canada) and AARP.
In his WEAAD statement at the UN, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Around the world, older persons are tragically subject to psychological, financial or physical abuse…We owe it to older persons and societies at large to fight ageism in all its forms and enhance the dignity and human rights of older persons everywhere.”
Other notable statements came from President Barack Obama, The Federal Trade Commission, The Department of Justice, Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) , AARP International, WITNESS, famed columnist Dear Abby and actress Doris Roberts.
Department of Justice Unveils Plan to Increase Crime Victim’s Rights: Focusing on five key issues areas, “Vision 21” seeks to permanently transform services for victims of crimes, based on the recommendations of research organizations, crime victims, and representatives from relevant federal, state, and local agencies. Elder abuse is a featured issue in the section, developed by The Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Victimization and Safety, on enduring barriers and challenges to the field of crimes victim services.
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS (New York State and New York City)
Legislation to Strengthen Banks’ Role in Reporting Financial Elder Abuse Approved: The New York State Assembly and Senate approved a legislation package to further safeguards for older adults vulnerable to financial elder abuse. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Robinson and Senator Tim Kennedy, the legislation would increase penalties against elder financial exploitation, allow older adults to require their financial institutions to report to Adult Protective Services if elder abuse is suspected and classify older adults and individuals with disabilities as a protected class within the state’s larceny code.
Central New York Community Groups Tackle Elder Abuse: Community groups from across Central New York met at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day conference held at Le Moyne College to address elder abuse related issues. Vera House and other organizations in Onondaga County are seeking to spread elder abuse awareness and education.
ELDER ABUSE IN THE MEDIA
When Elder Abuse Hits Home from Forbes: This article explores a personal narrative to highlight key elder abuse issues, describes the growing epidemic and outlines ways to prevent elder abuse.
Addressing Elder Abuse in the Aging Boom from The Wall Street Journal: In this piece from LeadingAge Texas, David Thomason, PhD, makes the case for investing in care and safety for vulnerable older adults. According to Thomason, the “aging boom” could potentially create economic returns for the community if policy makers view the growing population as an economic opportunity.
For Father’s Day, Protect Dad from Elder Financial Abuse from Consumer News: As pointed out by the author, it was fitting that Father’s Day fell on the day right after World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. In this financial advice piece, columnist Tobie Stanger outlines recent scams targeting older adults and suggestions for keeping fathers and grandfathers safe from financial exploitation.
NYCEAC AND OUR PARTNERS IN THE NEWS
Anthony Marshall, son of Brooke Astor, Heads to Prison: Anthony Marshall, the 89 year old son of the late philanthropist Brooke Astor, will serve 1-3 years in prison on grand larceny charges for stealing nearly $200 million from his mother’s estate while she was mentally frail. Liz Lowey, Assistant to the New York District Attorney and an NYCEAC Partner, described the defendant’s “frankly disingenuous” efforts to The New York Times: “If you allow this to happen, who knows what the defendants will come up with next? We have to stop these last-minute written filings that they do because they can afford to, frankly.”
Protect and Empower Our Elders from Democrats and Chronicle: Art Mason, the Director of the Elder Abuse Prevention Program at Lifespan describes the increase in elder financial exploitation and highlights elder abuse prevention resources and ways to get involved with elder justice initiatives. NYCEAC is currently partnering with Lifespan and the NYS Office for the Aging on a Health and Human Services-funded project to develop multidisciplinary teams with forensic accountants.
by Alexandra Pearson, Communications Specialist, NYCEAC