A new six-bill package aimed at protecting seniors from abuse has been introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives. The bills, if signed into law, would beef up existing safeguards designed to protect the elderly in Michigan from those who would take advantage of them, and those who abuse them.
The bipartisan bills specifically address four areas that are believed to need additional laws in place. These are:
- Additional penalties for abusers of the elderly,
- Elderly consent,
- Nursing home training requirements,
- Licensure for assisted living facilities.
House Bill 5028 would amend existing sentencing guidelines for elder adult abuse, making it a misdemeanor to assault an elderly or vulnerable person in Michigan. However, should the victim of the assault be harmed in any way, the penalty becomes a 4 year felony.
If the victim suffers serious impairment of a body function the penalty changes to a 15 year felony. Death of the victim would result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years. This bill also deal with the issue of restraints, making it illegal to restrain senior citizens or other vulnerable adults through the use of “violence, menace, fraud or deceit.”
House Bill 5029 deals with embezzling from vulnerable adults, making it illegal to obtain, or attempt to obtain, a senior citizen’s money or property without the proper consent. This bill spells out the fact that any financial transfers of more than $10,000 made from an elderly person to a non-relative that they’ve known for less than 2 years, and without receiving the equivalent value in goods or services, can be assumed to be exploitation.
House Bill 5031 addresses the issue of nursing home care and the licensing of assisted living facilities. Under the new law, licensed nursing home administrators would have to be specifically trained to identify the abuse and exploitation of the elderly. As for state licensed assisted living facilities, they would all have to be updated, bringing each and every one into compliance with Michigan state standards. They would also now be subject to state oversight.
The bills come in response to multiple stories of elder and vulnerable adult abuse over the years.
The bills, which have drawn support from both Republicans and Democrats, are supported by House Reps Patrick Green, Vanessa Guerra, Abdullah Hammoud, Frank Liberati , Diana Farrington and Klint Kesto.
When addressing the House about the proposed legislation, State Representative Green said “We’ve all heard accounts of seniors losing their life savings or home because they thought they could trust a person, or accounts of seniors being mistreated in care facilities.” He went on to say that unfortunately, “dishonest individuals often assume senior citizens are vulnerable just because of their age. We need to do more to ensure those individuals are held accountable for their actions.”
As the baby boomer generations heads for retirement, it can be assumed that the number of elderly people living in licensed care facilities, and being cared for at home by paid nursing staff, will grow exponentially. For that reason, many people believe that Michigan’s laws protecting the elderly and vulnerable could use a refresher.
If you or a loved one have been accused of abusing a child or a vulnerable adult in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled parent and caregiver defense attorneys have spent decades defending the people of MIchigan, ensuring that their rights are protected, and helping them obtain successful results in their cases. We can help you too.