Reps. Deutch, Reschenthaler Push for Stronger Fraud Protections for Seniors with Alzheimer's, Dementia in Next Stimulus Plan
Today, U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) called on House and Senate Leadership to address the rising number of scams targeting vulnerable seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia that are occurring during the national public health emergency in the next stimulus plan.
Scammers often target vulnerable seniors to intentionally confuse them into giving up sensitive information like bank accounts and social security numbers. However, seniors living with Alzheimer's and dementia are at greater risk of falling prey to these cleverly disguised fraud schemes. Their condition also makes it more difficult for them to communicate the crimes to law enforcement or to seek life-saving assistance from first responders.
The Representatives are proposing language to require the U.S. Department of Justice to develop best practices for assisting professionals – law enforcement, firefighters, emergency personnel, social workers, court officials, and medical professionals – who encounter and support people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
With an aging population and a virus that targets elderly people, having best practices will help first responders and other professionals effectively interact with people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia targeted by fraud and in need.
"Scammers are taking advantage of fear and confusion during this public health crisis to trick people into giving up sensitive information. For the five million seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, the risks are even greater," said Rep. Deutch. "That’s why Congressman Reschenthaler and I are urging Congressional leaders to include important fraud protections for our loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in the next stimulus plan."
“I’m proud to introduce the Elder Justice Improvement Act so we can better protect our nation’s seniors with Alzheimer’s from predatory scams and elder abuse,” said Rep. Reschenthaler. “The growing number of seniors suffering from dementia in our country are more vulnerable to elder abuse, including financial exploitation. This legislation will create and update tools for caregivers and law enforcement personnel to better combat elder abuse. I hope my colleagues will join me in better protecting our seniors.”
Representatives Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Peter King (NY-02) are also supportive of this language.
This bipartisan proposal is supported by the Alzheimer's Association and the Elder Justice Coalition.
“On behalf of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, we applaud Rep. Deutch and Rep. Reschenthaler for their leadership on the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “As the number of those Alzheimer’s and other dementia continues to grow, we must provide training materials and other support that will assist the police, firefighters, emergency personnel, and social workers who will increasingly encounter these vulnerable individuals.”