Issued by EJC National Coordinator Bob Blancato
The Elder Justice Coalition lauds the Senate’s unanimous voice vote passage today of S. 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 (OAA). This strong display of bipartisanship is welcome on behalf of an important law for older adults which celebrated its 50th anniversary on July 14.
The Coalition, recognizing that the OAA first included elder abuse provisions in its law in 1992, believes this new bill rededicates the OAA to the prevention of elder abuse. In particular, we support directing the Administration on Aging to include training for states, area agencies on aging, and service providers on elder abuse prevention and screening. This is vital for preventing and detecting elder abuse. In addition, the bill promotes elder abuse data collection, updates the definitions of “adult protective services,” “abuse,” “exploitation and financial exploitation,” and “elder justice,” and promotes best practices in long-term care facility response to elder abuse and neglect. Further, the bill contains a number of provisions that will strengthen the long-term care ombudsman programs to help protect vulnerable residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
This year we also celebrate the 5th anniversary of the passage of the Elder Justice Act. The work to get this landmark law more adequately funded continues. Getting the Older Americans Act reauthorized complements this advocacy work because millions of older adults come in contact with OAA services and programs each day and through improved training of the aging network in understanding and detecting elder abuse, we emerge stronger in the fight for elder justice.