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Yarmuth's ElderServe Act Passes House

 

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


(Washington, DC) Last night, the House of Representatives approved the ElderServe Act as part of the Elder Abuse Victims Act.  Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) introduced ElderServe legislation in May to expand Louisville’s ElderServe program into a nationwide network to protect seniors who have been subjected to physical or psychological abuse and neglect. 

“Louisville’s ElderServe has set the national standard for protecting seniors, and this will bring much deserved attention to our local program and much needed protections to seniors around the country,” Congressman Yarmuth said. 

Using the Louisville model, the bill will create Emergency Crisis Response Teams (ECRT) to foster community collaboration between existing services and consolidate care 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. 

“We appreciate Congressman Yarmuth’s support of ElderServe’s work to protect seniors in Louisville, and are eager to work with him to expand the success of our Senior Crime Victims Assistance Program to other communities across the nation.  During this highly charged political season, it is especially gratifying to see members of both parties working together on this important national issue,” said Harriette Friedlander, Chief Executive Officer 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, Jefferson County Sheriff.  “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 that will be 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.