LeadingAge Statement on the Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2021

PRESS RELEASE | August 09, 2021 | by Susan Donley

Contact: Susan Donley

August 9, 2021 Washington, DC—Statement from Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, on therecetnly introduced Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act of 2021.

The Act would support adult protective services and reauthorize programs addressing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including grants to address social isolation, as well as support for medical-legal partnerships, and the long-term care workforce.

“Elder abuse is estimated to affect 1 in 10 older adults -- and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated conditions that can lead to abuse, including increased isolation, reliance on caregivers, and the fear and loss of independence. At the same time, it created challenges for programs designed to prevent elder abuse.

The Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act includes critical support that older Americans and their caregivers need to avoid and prevent financial exploitation, physical and psychological abuse and other unacceptable forms of elder abuse.

We are especially gratified that the legislation recognizes the important role of aging service care workers by calling for $400 million a year through FY2025 for state grants to enhance education, training, career advancement, wages for direct care workers in long-term care settings, as well as for critical staff supports like child care.

In addition, the legislation creates a vital grant program to address social isolation, a devastating consequence of the measures that had to be taken to protect older adults during the pandemic. And while we are glad the Act includes grants to support medical-legal partnerships, it’s disappointing that community organizations like our mission-driven aging services providers are not included. These partnerships are an integral part of the elder abuse shelter movement founded by LeadingAge member River Spring Health, and we will work to encourage legislators to expand this new program as we support this legislation moving forward.

Leading Age has been a leader in addressing elder abuse in the community, as well as in aging services settings. Passing the Elder Justice Reauthorization and Modernization Act would be a much-needed move toward achieving our vision of making America a better place to grow old.”

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership encompasses the entire continuum of aging services. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.