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Yarmuth Announces "ElderServe Act," Expanding Louisville Senior Citizen Program to National Level


Modeled after local success, nationwide initiative will coordinate and expand emergency services

(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced his new legislation to expand Louisville’s ElderServe program into a nationwide network to protect seniors from any physical or psychological abuse and neglect.  Using the local model, the bill will create Emergency Crisis Response Teams (ECRT) fostering community collaboration between existing services to consolidate services for elder abuse victims. The program has been incredibly effective in Louisville, bringing various entities together to immediately help elder abuse victims and provide a continuum of care. 

“For nearly half a century, ElderServe has been the answer for area seniors who face the threat of abuse and neglect.  This bill will bring attention to Louisville’s successes and resources to further serve our community,” Congressman Yarmuth said.  “In other areas of the country, where lengthy delays in service can be deadly, the framework created by the ElderServe Act will allow seniors to benefit from the excellent work being done right here in Louisville.”

“This is another example of Congressman Yarmuth’s understanding of the needs of the community as a whole and our ability to work together to serve some of the most vulnerable populations in our community,” said Harriet Friedlander, Executive Director of ElderServe Inc.

“ElderServe ensures that when the elderly can’t go to the criminal justice system, the criminal justice system goes to the elderly,” said Colonel John Aubrey, who serves as Sheriff of Jefferson County and attended the announcement today.  “We’re very proud of the coalition that has come together in Jefferson County on behalf of seniors—from the volunteers to the advocates to the local leaders and organizations, and we thank Congressman Yarmuth for recognizing the need for this coordination and taking the program nationwide.”

Yarmuth’s bill will create pilot programs in six communities, authorizing $3 million over three years.  ECRT’s will be created to coordinate local law enforcement, short-term housing placements, bereavement services, adult protective services, legal advocacy services, job placement assistance, and healthcare.  Seniors frequently fall through the cracks or get caught up in red tape in cities and counties where this coordination does not yet exist.

Every year, over two million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological abuse, neglect, and exploitation, but experts estimate that only one in six cases is reported.  The elder abuse— which affects men and women across all racial, social class, and geographic lines— accounts for nearly 70 percent of the annual caseloads of Adult Protective Services.