Senior Protection Legislation

Halfway into the semester I received the first assignment that hit home with me. Last week Governor Snyder passed a ten-bill package to protect senior citizens and vulnerable adults. It’s a depressing statistic that crimes against the elderly are on the rise. Maybe it’s the sad state of the economy that is driving people to commit these deplorable acts but more likely it’s because the elderly are seen as easy prey. With diminished mental capacity, physical strength and often living in isolation, senior citizens are sitting ducks for “care takers” to abuse them financially and physical with no repercussions.

This winter we moved my grandma into a nursing home, her Alzheimer’s had progressed faster than we had anticipated. We did background checks on the facility and their employees, took inventory of her belongings and make a point to have a family member there every week to visit. Her memory span is about a half an hour, more than enough time for someone to rob her blind and she would never know.

That’s why these new bills are so important; allowing victims to testify via video will help those who are bedridden to have their voices heard. Stronger penalties for those who are convicted can act as a deterrent to those who are considering committing these crimes.

Going to the senior center this week really opened my eyes. I’m in my invincible twenties; nothing can harm me, those terrible stories will never happen to me. The ladies at the center have a completely different out take on life. Their voices trembled when they shared their fears with me. They see themselves as weak and vulnerable. They see con men everywhere, the men at the repair shop, the salesmen, the waiters, people who run credit cards at stores. One woman told her a story where she was home alone one day when a man came to her door and asked if he could use her bathroom. She said the first thought that crossed her mind was that he wanted access to her pills in the medicine cabinet. She told him no and shut the door in his face. It took me by complete surprise. Never in a million years would that idea have popped into my head. But to her it was an obvious concern. All the ladies around her nodded in agreement. The passed legislation was news to them but they whole heartily appreciate it. The new laws are great but they will only work if we report the crimes, so stay aware of what is going on in your loved ones lives. Listen to their concerns and speak up for those who can’t speak at all.

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