While nursing home abuse and scams against seniors receive media coverage, elder abuse against seniors involves much more. In fact, neglect, self-neglect, financial exploitation, physical and psychological abuse, and sexual abuse and personal degradation are all regarded as elder abuse.
Often relatives, caretakers, and people in positions of trust are involved. Actions by such abusers often go unreported. The end result is many abusers go unpunished. Public awareness of this problem is limited.
This session, Iowa’s legislators have quickly responded with various bills to more severely deal with child abuse and even animal abuse, but they have failed to act with the same sense of urgency when it comes to elder abuse. Efforts to have specific criminal statutes dealing with elder abuse have failed to gain traction. The report recommending various options to deal with the housing of geriatric sexual offenders has been ignored. There have been some attempts to make piecemeal changes to some of the statutes that deal with elder abuse, but legislators have rejected to date any efforts to take a comprehensive approach.
The Johnson County Task Force on Aging has invited Dr. Brian Kaskie to speak at a forum to be held on April 8 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Coralville Library. He will discuss the problems associated with elder abuse. I encourage people to attend and give their input. Hopefully, with increased public awareness, we can finally make strides to combat the problem.