While we certainly have not eradicated elder abuse, we have taken steps to make sure the perpetrators don’t get away with it. It’s called the Protecting Alabama’s Elders Act, and it was passed last month by our state lawmakers.
The new law spells out what elder abuse is, makes it easier to prosecute, and it increases the penalties for the most serious offenses. It should especially help to combat financial exploitation, which is often complicated by family relationships and even legal authorizations. The new law makes it clear that a power of attorney is not a license to steal.
As the state president of AARP Alabama, I am particularly happy that not a single representative or senator voted against this law when it came up for a final vote. There aren’t many issues anywhere that produce such a united response.
Many groups were involved in the effort to improve Alabama’s elder abuse law. But for making this law a reality, I especially want to applaud Gov. Robert Bentley; the legislative leadership in both chambers, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh; and the legislation’s sponsors, Sen. Cam Ward and Rep. Paul DeMarco.
Elder abuse is a serious crime with serious ramifications for the victims. Thanks to these state leaders and all the other lawmakers, this serious crime will also have serious ramifications for the offenders.