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Wealth Preservation & Business Strategies

What Is Congress Doing to Address Affordable Senior Housing and Elder Abuse?

Las Vegas's Estate Planning Resource

Two pieces of legislation introduced at the federal level aim to support affordable senior housing residents and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ensure that elder abuse training materials include individuals with dementia.

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Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA) and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) have introduced legislation that would provide $1.2 billion of relief to the 1.6 million older adults who live in affordable senior housing communities and the providers serving them.

McKnight Senior Living’s recent article entitled “Federal legislation tackles affordable senior housing, elder abuse” says the “Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act of 2020” would provide $845 million for the HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, including additional staff and personal protective equipment; $300 million for service coordinator grants to prevent, prepare for or respond to public health emergencies related to COVID-19; and $50 million for wireless Internet.

In addition, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the “Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act,” with companion legislation being introduced in the House by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA). The bipartisan legislation is aimed at ensuring the Justice Department’s elder abuse training materials consider those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Collins noted that roughly 10% of adults age 60+ have had some form of elder abuse. Estimates have that number at about 50% for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The legislation would require the following:

  • The DOJ’s national elder justice coordinator must consider people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, when creating elder abuse training materials
  • Th DOJ is to consult with stakeholders in developing materials; and
  • Must include information on where to access these materials in the DOJ’s annual report.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be increased risk for elder abuse, inducing elder financial exploitation. Our bipartisan bill would help ensure that the frontline professionals who are leading the charge against elder abuse have the training needed to respond to cases where the victim or a witness has Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia,” Collins, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said.

The bill is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, as well as the bipartisan Elder Justice Coalition.