Senate Prioritizes Nation's Most Vulnerable

U.S. Senate Passes Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act

The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) commend the U.S. Senate for unanimously passing critical legislation to protect our nation’s most vulnerable from elder abuse. The bipartisan Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S.3703/H.R. 6813), introduced in the Senate on May 12, 2020 by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Charles Grassley (R-IA), will require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop training materials to assist law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, medical personnel, victims services personnel, and others who encounter and support individuals living with dementia. 

“Unfortunately, people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia are at heightened risk for experiencing elder abuse,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) executive director. “Yet too often, the professionals who deal with elder abuse have little knowledge about working with people who have dementia. This critical bipartisan legislation will address this shortfall.”

People living with dementia often have difficulty understanding or explaining situations; and their behaviors may be misunderstood as uncooperative, disruptive or combative. Dementia-specific training materials for these professionals will improve the quality of their interactions with individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and will also help protect them from elder abuse. 

“As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, one of my top priorities is protecting our seniors against abuse,” said Senator Collins, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be increased risk for elder abuse, including elder financial exploitation. Our bipartisan bill would help to 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.”

"I am thrilled that yesterday, the Senate unanimously passed our bill, fully recognizing we must address the fact that as the number of Americans struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia continues to grow, so does the potential for exploitation, physical or emotional abuse, and neglect,” said Sen. Menendez. “We must do more to provide the education caregivers, social service and health providers, law enforcement and others need to understand the unique symptoms people with AD/ADRD may have, as well as the training necessary to ensure they are safe from abuse and can live with dignity."

“America’s seniors too often face abuse and exploitation. Preventing and responding to these crimes can be particularly challenging in cases involving Alzheimer’s and or other forms of dementia. I was honored to lead the recent effort to strengthen the Justice Department’s tools to combat elder abuse and I’m grateful that the Senate passed this important bill to equip law enforcement with critical training to better respond to cases involving Alzheimer’s and dementias,” Sen. Grassley said.

The Association, AIM and its nationwide network of advocates have held hundreds of virtual meetings with Members of Congress to grow support for the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act. The Alzheimer’s Association and AIM will continue to work with bipartisan Congressional leaders to encourage the House to pass this legislation and ensure it is signed into law.


Alzheimer's Association®
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit alz.org.

Alzheimer's Impact Movement
The Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) is a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate of the Alzheimer's Association. AIM works to develop and advance policies to overcome Alzheimer's disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care and improved support. For more information, visit alzimpact.org.

Contact:
Laura Cilmi, 202.638.8673, [email protected]