Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, on Wednesday announced passage of H.R. 6813, the Promoting Alzheimer's Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act. This measure ensures the Department of Justice’s elder abuse training materials take into account individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Higgins said, “Seniors are among our society’s most vulnerable and, due to the nature of the disease, those with Alzheimer’s can be especially at risk of abuse. This bill works towards protecting these individuals by including Alzheimer’s and other related dementia diseases in training materials to be used as a reference for elder abuse cases pursued by law enforcement authorities.”
The bill, approved by the House of Representatives last week, amends the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act to require the national elder justice coordinator, appointed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), to take into account people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related diseases when creating or compiling elder abuse training materials. It also instructs the DOJ to consult with stakeholders in developing these materials and to review and update existing materials, as well as include information in the DOJ’s annual report about where to access the publicly available training materials.
The elder justice initiative is a program run by the Department of Justice with the goal of combatting elder abuse and financial fraud perpetrated against this nation’s seniors. The national elder justice coordinator is responsible for coordinating and supporting the law enforcement efforts and policy activities for the Department of Justice on elder justice issues by evaluating training models to determine best practices, creating or compiling and making publicly available replication guides and training materials to assist law enforcement.
HR 6813 has the support of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. Similar legislation was also approved by the Senate.
In July, Higgins announced House of Representatives approval of a 2021 appropriations package that included $2.9 billion for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research.