Elder Justice

Elder Justice Act Appropriations

Elder Justice Act Toolkit

NAELA Public Policy Guidelines

Elder justice means assuring adequate public-private infrastructure and resources to prevent, detect, treat, understand, intervene in and, where appropriate, prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. From an individual perspective, elder justice is the right of every older person to be free of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Although the number of older Americans is fast growing, the problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation has long been invisible to most of society and is among the gravest issues facing millions of American families.

A. NAELA calls for a new Federal law to be enacted that adequately and comprehensively addresses the issues of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

B. NAELA supports efforts:

1. To provide federal resources to support state and community efforts on the front lines.
2. To create a federal agency or office dedicated to promoting elder justice.
3. To bring national attention to the issue.
4. To create standardized definitions of what constitutes elder abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) and exploitation.
5. To improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of elder justice information through data collection and dissemination.
6. To support demonstration projects, research, clinical practice, training and dissemination of information.
7. To provide federal resources for the development of forensic expertise related to elder justice.
8. To address the need for victim assistance through increased federal resources to enhance Adult Protective Services programs and improve the capacity of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs.
9. To focus on increased prosecution of civil and criminal cases.
10. To provide incentives for greater collaboration on the national level.

C. NAELA supports further education for the public and professionals to report and investigate incidents of elder abuse.

D. NAELA supports the ongoing development of civil and criminal penalties for elder abuse, and calls for increased coordination of criminal law enforcement authorities and civil law attorneys in the prosecution of elder abuse and collection of damages for the victims of elder abuse.

E. NAELA encourages the use of Durable Powers of Attorney as an important tool for the elderly to manage their property and finances, and as an effective means to avoid the restrictions of guardianship. NAELA recognizes that Durable Powers of Attorney depend upon fiduciaries performing their duties in the best interests of their elderly principals. Therefore, NAELA supports appropriate efforts to prevent and combat improper uses of Durable Powers of Attorney as tools to financially exploit the elderly.

Resolutions adopted by the NAELA Board of Directors on November 19, 1998
Revised May 19, 1999, November 11, 2004, and June 29, 2007
Posted March 2013