As a former caregiver for my husband who had dementia, I understand firsthand the impact this disease has on families across America. While not often discussed, elder abuse is a serious issue, and even more so for those living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia who aren’t always able to clearly communicate their thoughts. The trauma of elder abuse can result in premature death, the deterioration of physical and psychological health, destruction of social and familial ties, devastating financial loss, and more.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the bipartisan Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act (S.3703/H.R. 6813), which would require the Department of Justice to develop training materials to assist law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, medical personnel, victim services personnel and others who encounter and support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. 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.
Please join me and the Alzheimer’s Association in thanking Congressman Filemon Vela for supporting this legislation to protect the more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
Wanda Gray, Alzheimer’s Advocate