Cracking down on elder abuse

LANSING — The Michigan Senate approved an 18-bill legislative package this week to help protect seniors, encourage increased reporting of elder abuse and strengthen penalties for exploitation of vulnerable adults in Michigan, said Sen. John Proos.

“Elder abuse or exploitation is often underreported or unnoticed, but it is estimated that more than 73,000 elderly Michigan adults are victimized each year by physical, emotional or financial abuse or through neglect,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This comprehensive, bipartisan package is about addressing elder abuse on all fronts: increasing senior protections, encouraging reporting of abuse and neglect, helping the victims and their families and properly punishing offenders.”

The Senate-approved package would further protect those who are at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians. Other measures include:

  • Improving coordination between state and local authorities;
  • Enhancing banking, annuity and insurance protections for seniors;
  • Establishing reporting requirements for suspected abuse and neglect or knowledge of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities;
  • Creating a senior medical alert for missing seniors, similar to an Amber Alert; and
  • Allowing victims to give testimony via closed-circuit television or a prerecorded video.

“Unfortunately, as the baby boomers retire and our seniors become a larger segment of our society, they are becoming a greater target for abuse and exploitation,” Proos said. “I supported the reforms because taking advantage of a senior is deplorable, and it is happening right here in Southwest Michigan and across the state.  These measures give our elders the protections they deserve.”

Gov. Rick Snyder expressed his support for the legislation.

Senate Bills 454-457, 459-468, 604-605, 706 and 777 have been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

To listen to audio of Proos speaking on the legislation, please visit his website at