LOS ANGELES, CA –Recognizing the importance of a coordinated effort to protect vulnerable seniors, the City Council today passed Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s motion instructing all City Departments to create a protocol for educating employees on elder abuse. The measure instructs the Los Angeles Department of Aging (LADOA) to report back in one year with a comprehensive study on how many cases of elder abuse are referred or filed by the City Attorney and the Los Angeles Police Department. This motion ensures that all City workers are trained to notice the signs of elder abuse and are educated all on how to report these crimes.
“The fact that elder abuse ever happens is despicable and disturbing,” said Blumenfield. “Many in our City family have daily interactions with older Angelenos and it is vital that everyone has the tools to spot and combat elder abuse.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” Elder abuse includes physical abuse, sexual or abusive sexual contract, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, or financial abuse or exploitation.
According to the LADOA, about 1 in 10 older adults (Age 60+) have experienced elder abuse but only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are even reported. In California alone, nearly 200,000 instances of elder abuse are reported each year. Elderly Americans lose approximately $2.6 billion due to exploitation and financial abuse.
As of 2015, the Baby Boomer generation numbered 75.4 million nationally. By 2020, they will continue to comprise 23% of the US population as a whole, with the youngest of the generation approaching retirement age. Every day from now until 2030, ten thousand Boomers turn 65 years old.
Blumenfield stated, “As a City, we must never let an older adult slip through the cracks of our safety net in their golden years. It is our collective responsibility to help protect our City’s elderly population and that begins with education.”
This motion does not mandate that City employees report elder abuse but they are encouraged to voluntarily submit a report if abuse is suspected. The only City employees that are mandated to report suspected elder abuse are LADOA, Animal Services, LAFD, LAPD, Housing Authority of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department.
Blumenfield has long championed elder abuse issues. While a member of the State Assembly, Blumenfield authored AB 1293 that allows prosecutors to “seize and freeze” funds of a person accused of stealing money from a senior citizen so that the accused is no longer able to use stolen funds to pay for his or her defense. He also wrote AB 689 that established the first protections in state law to help senior citizens from being sold an annuity that is financially harmful to them, authorizing the Insurance Commissioner to levy financial penalties against insurance companies that violate the law.