A congressman from the Sunshine State was able to get the “Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act” through Congress.
Back in May, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., introduced the proposal with U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., as the main supporter on the Republican side. Eventually, Deutch reeled in more than 75 cosponsors including U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, D-Fla., Val Demings, D-Fla., Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Al Lawson, D-Fla., Francis Rooney, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
“The legislation directs the U.S. Department of Justice to develop best practices for assisting professionals – law enforcement, firefighters, emergency personnel, social workers, court officials, and medical professionals – who encounter and support people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” Deutch’s office noted. “This population is particularly vulnerable to scams as their condition makes it more difficult for them to communicate the crimes to law enforcement or to seek life-saving assistance from first responders. Particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic, having best practices will help first responders and other professionals effectively interact with people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia targeted by fraud and in need.”
Last week, the bill cleared the House on a voice vote.
“With this vote, a unified House of Representatives voted to support the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and others living with forms of dementia and their families,” said Deutch after his bill cleared the House. “For our loved ones living with this disease, we want the first responders and professionals caring for them to be properly trained in how to interact with them. Whether it’s responding to emergency calls or protecting them from predatory scammers, these best practices will help prepare these health and emergency workers to properly respond to and care for them.”
“I am proud that today the House passed the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which will equip our nation’s first responders and caregivers with best practices to respond to incidents of elder abuse, including financial fraud, physical abuse, and neglect,” said Reschenthaler. “Senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia are especially vulnerable to exploitation and other harm, and H.R. 6813 will ensure we have the tools to keep these Americans safe.”
“The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) are truly grateful for Reps. Deutch and Reschenthaler’s leadership to pass the bipartisan Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act,” said Robert Egge, the chief public policy officer for the Alzheimer’s Association and the executive director of AIM. “A lot of hard work went into ensuring our seniors, especially those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, are at a decreased risk of falling victim to fraud and abuse. Our country’s law enforcement, firefighters, emergency personnel, social workers, court officials, and medical professionals will now be able to better support people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”
The bill is now headed to the president’s desk. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Bob Menendez, D-NJ, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, championed the bill over in the U.S. Senate. Collins was able to get her bill through the Senate in August.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.