New law protects elderly & disabled

Published 07/02 2013 05:04PM

Updated 07/02 2013 05:51PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Quinn has signed a law geared toward preventing elder abuse. It comes as the state's elderly population, 60-years or older, reaches 2-million, and continues to grow. WCIA-3's Alexandrea Davis has more.

They're among some of the most frail and vulnerable in our society. The elderly are more likely to be abused, neglected or exploited financially.

Sister Lenore Highland, of St. Joseph's Home, says age and weaknesses can make them victims.

"With that vulnerability, you will find some people who will capitalize on that, who will try to take advantage of that point of vulnerability."

That's why Governor Quinn has declared July Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. The declaration stems from the nearly 12,000 reports of elder abuse made with the Illinois Department on aging last year.

But, Laura Carmody, of Home Instead Senior Care, says there could be many other cases which go without notice.

"A lot of those seniors aren't reporting the fraud and the abuse that's taking place because they're embarrassed and, anything we can do to identify them and help reduce the likelihood of that happening again, I think we should do."

As part of the governor's proclamation, he signed the Adult Protective Services Act into law. It calls for a statewide fatality review team to investigate every case of suspected abuse and suspicious death. Valid cases will then be turned over to police.

"The respect that we give to elders shows who we are as a society and how we will treat the world in general."

The act also extends to those with disabilities.

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