On September 30th we attended the Elder Abuse Town Hall Meeting with Senator Jim Runestad at the Novi Public Library. State Senator Jim Runestad of the 15th District is committed to looking out for the vulnerable and is a strong advocate of older citizens who have been at the hand of elder abuse. As part of his commitment to aid those who have dealt with elder abuse, he has introduced bills to help protect elders in nursing homes and a bill to allow financial scheme crimes against the elderly to be prosecuted as racketeering.
What is elder abuse? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Elder abuse can be defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”. Elder abuse can be financial, physical, psychological and sexual. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.
Senator Runestad is working through the legislative process to protect our elders from any possible abuse and neglect. One bill Runestad is trying to get to the senate would allow cameras to monitor and safeguard people in care facilities and protect the residents from elder abuse. Runestad is also working on a process to limit guardianship so guardians do not have an excessive number of wards. This would help ensure they can realistically care for their wards and monitor their welfare.
“Being a guardian you need to be suitable and ready to serve. But what is suitability?”, says Senator Runestad. There aren’t specific legal requirements or certification for becoming a guardian. That is something Runestad wants to change. He wants strict requirements for guardianship and suitability in the guardianship role. He feels this will reduce potential issues with elder abuse and neglect and create accountability with checks and balances.
Runestad made it clear at the Town Hall Meeting on Elder Abuse that his stance is on the side of the vulnerable, with our elders. He is working with many others to stop elder abuse, elder neglect, and elder embezzlement. They will be able to closely monitor what happens and have laws and bills put in place to protect the elderly. There is also now a plan that trains officers and cadets in the police academy on the “Vulnerable Adult Incident Report”.
Elder Abuse is a crime. Let us protect our elders from neglect.
“To forget the elderly is to ignore the wisdom of the years” -David Laird
For more information, visit SenatorJimRunestad.com/elderabuseprevention