Illinois Governor signs new law to further elder abuse protection

Often, the elderly are subjected to exploitation and abuse, especially when they are no longer able to fend for themselves. However, a new law signed by the Governor of Illinois gives the elderly extra protection against such maltreatment with the goal of preventing Illinois elder abuse.

Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, signed new legislation that safeguards Illinois elders from exploitation and abuse. The new law, which coincides with the celebration of Elder Abuse and Prevention month, creates an adult protection services unit within the Illinois Department of Aging. The unit will oversee investigations concerning cases of monetary exploitation, neglect and abuse of the elderly. It will also be responsible for cases of people with disabilities. With the new legislation, caretakers will be required to undergo special training and discern suspicious deaths.

Annually, Illinois estimates that approximately five percent of its elderly population is abused, and most of it goes unreported. The new law came at the heels of criticism that the state was unsuccessful in the investigation of the deaths of 53 disabled adults who stayed at a nursing home, even after calls were made to a designated state hotline for neglect and abuse.

The new legislation is welcome news for Chicago and Cook County residents, as well as the other districts. The elderly, weakened by age and sickness, can be subjected to nursing home abuse if unchecked. Besides financial exploitation, some elderly people may suffer maltreatment that results in malnutrition, dehydration, bed sores and even death because of neglect.

In addition to reporting the atrocities to the police, relatives may seek legal redress. Typically, a lawsuit can be filed on behalf of a mistreated loved one. If abuse results in a loss of life, a wrongful death claim can be filed. The lawsuit can hold a negligent nursing home as well as its staff liable, and award compensation to the victim’s family for the loss of their loved one.

Source: WSIU NPR, “New Illinois Law Deals With Elder Abuse Protection,” July 2, 2013.