Lawmakers considering bills to address senior abuse

One bill calls for mandated abuse reporting

BOSTON (WWLP)—We hear it all too often that seniors are victims of phone schemes where people claiming to be from government agencies try to steal their information. Lawmakers are considering proposals to address elder abuse.

One bill calls for the state to create a commission to study and draft policies to combat this issue and the financial abuse of seniors. State Representative John Velis (D-Westfield) filed the bill which would bring together members from the House and Senate with attorneys, senior advocates and real estate representatives.

“It’s not just the calls from strangers, a lot of times it’s loved ones taking advantage of them,” Velis told 22News. “They’re a vulnerable population who a lot of times tends to believe what they’re told so we need to put that extra layer of protection.”

The Commission would study the economic impact of financial abuse, exploitative transfers of real estate and deceptive schemes that target the elderly by phone or online.

A bill by State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy) calls for mandated reporting of elder abuse. He says that can range from financial threats to physical abuse.

“Mandatory reporting ensures that people who care for senior citizens know that they’re being watch as well as people who suspect the one they care for has some form of abuse to make sure it’s reported,” Chan said.

Chan told 22News that mandatory reporting may deter violence against seniors.

The Elder Affairs Committee is currently reviewing public testimony on the bill before making recommendations.