Senior citizens get safeguards from Emmons’ committee

By Daily News • Last Updated 1:13 pm on Monday, October 31, 2011

LANSING — The Michigan Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee led by Sen. Judy Emmons has approved an 18-bill package of reforms to help protect senior citizens, encourage increased reporting of elder abuse and streng-then penalties for people convicted of abusing a senior citizens.
“This bi-partisan legislation is about ensuring we do all we can to protect our most vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation,” Emmons said.
She pointed out that about 73,000 senior citizens are victimized by these types of crimes each year.
“This comprehensive package includes many tools to stop elder abuse, including making the punishment fit the severity of the crime,” Emmons said.
She sponsored Senate Bill 459, which would create stricter penalties for more severe financial abuse. The bills also would further protect those who are at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.
“My bill would crack down on financial exploitation of elder Michigan adults by increasing the penalties for fraudulently obtaining a senior’s signature,” Emmons said.
Other measures in the package would:
• Improve coordination between state and local authorities.
• Create a state model protocol for investigating vulnerable adult abuse cases.
• Enhance banking, annuity and insurance protections for seniors.
• Establish reporting requirements for suspected or knowledge of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities.
• Create a senior medical alert for missing seniors, similar to an Amber Alert for children.
• Allow victims of alleged vulnerable adult abuse to give testimony via closed circuit television or a pre-recorded video.

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