Sen. Jones, colleagues targeting elder abuse in Michigan

LANSING — The Michigan Senate announced legislation Wednesday to help increase the reporting of elder abuse in Michigan and strengthen penalties for those convicted of the offense, said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. 

“It’s high time we take a stand against elder abuse in Michigan,” Jones said. “I’m proud to sponsor bills in this vital package and I look forward to seeing them signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. Let’s send a clear message to our senior citizens that they matter too.”

Elder abuse is a problem affecting nearly 80,000 senior citizens in Michigan, with many enduring unspeakable acts of physical, emotional and financial abuse. According to Jones, the measures introduced today seek to better protect the elderly and harshen penalties for abusers.

Measures in the package would:

  • Improve coordination between state and local authorities;
  • Allow victims of alleged vulnerable adult abuse to give testimony via closed circuit television or a pre-recorded video;
  • Create a senior medical alert for missing seniors, similar to an Amber Alert;
  • Increase penalties for financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult; and
  • Further protect those that are at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.

Judy Sivak, president of the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Kalamazoo, said reforming Michigan law to protect the elderly is vital.

“Legislation is needed to reinvent Michigan because the physical and financial abuse of older adults imposes significant social and economic costs to the state,” Sivak said. “We are here today for Older Michiganians Day, to celebrate and acknowledge the tremendous gifts that older adults give our state each and every day, but we are also here to be advocates for elder abuse legislation.”

Mary Ablan, executive director of the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan, said, “It would be the best Christmas present to have the bills signed by Governor Snyder this December. This is the year to end the abuse.”

Additional guests included Ron Tatro, director of Elder Abuse Prevention Services for Elder Law of Michigan; and Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague.

Senate Bills 454 through 468 were referred to the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services.

Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at: