As IA Session Moves On, Elder Abuse Law Still In Force | News

(KMAland) — A groundswell of high-ranking attorneys and law enforcement say Iowa has gone too long without an elder abuse law that really has teeth. With the legislative session now in its next phase, supporters hope their plan will still be under scrutiny.

Last week saw the deadline for the legislative funnel, where bills that are not considered top priorities are eliminated. those behind elder abuse law believe the plan is still alive and are calling on lawmakers to hear the stories behind their movement.

Crystal Doig, elder and caregiver rights manager at Aging Resources of Central Iowa, said there are many heartbreaking examples that primarily focus on financial abuse.

“We have individuals who are using their parents’ money to pay child support, pay for their own house, pay for cars,” Doig said.

This happens without the knowledge of the elder parent and can be particularly problematic when the victim suffers from dementia. Proponents of the bill say the existing law is too narrow, making it more difficult for state authorities and agencies to investigate.

The measure has no declared opposition from lobbyists, and groups such as AARP hope it survives the next legislative cut later in March.

Doig said one of the more recent examples that stands out is an 82-year-old woman who didn’t know her adult son had put her in debt of $80,000, likely forcing her out of her home. She said the trauma that stems from these cases cannot be ignored.

“When there’s financial abuse,” Doig said, “then there’s most likely emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and most likely physical threats and violence.”

She said the fallout usually means those parents will have fractured relationships with their adult children and may not see them again.

Meanwhile, AARP staff say the bill has been updated to address any concerns about the impact of adding criminal provisions on issues such as charitable donations.

They add that even though Iowa lags behind other states in updating the policy, the current plan is more aggressive than other laws in the country.

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