New Health Law Offers Protection Against Elder Abuse, But Advocates Complain Provision Is Not Funded

CQ HealthBeat: "As baby boomers and their parents age, many stumble across an unsettling surprise — elder abuse that occurs in both institutions and the home. The problem, and the lack of a national strategy to combat it, is something that advocates for the elderly have been complaining about for years. So they fought for, and won, provisions in the new health law (PL 111-148) that are designed to address the issue. Now, though, they face the next battle: landing the money to carry out the programs. The protections are among provisions that are already being criticized as 'unfunded mandates.' Though research is scant, a 2009 study by the National Institute of Justice found that 11 percent of people 60 or older had suffered some kind of abuse in the previous year" (Norman, 4/23). 
 
The New York Times: "In an aging population, the elderly are increasingly being taken care of by the elderly. Professional caregivers — almost all of them women — are one of the fastest-growing segments of the American work force, and also one of the grayest. A recent study by PHI National, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of caregivers, found that in 2008, 28 percent of home care aides were over age 55, compared with 18 percent of women in the overall work force. The organization projects that from 2008 to 2018, the number of direct care workers, which includes those in nursing homes, will grow to 4.3 million from 3.2 million. The percentage of older caregivers is projected to grow to 30 percent from 22 percent" (Leland, 4/24).

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