Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel praises lawmakers for elder abuse awareness resolutions

By: - June 15, 2021 2:50 pm

Attorney General Dana Nessel, Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein and Justice Megan Cavanagh at the Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force meeting in Flint, July 26, 2019 | Andrew Roth

Attorney General Dana Nessel commended the Michigan House and Senate Tuesday for recognizing the day as Elder Abuse Awareness Day and for declaring June 2021 as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

The Democratic attorney general has prioritized elder abuse issues since her first months in office. In March 2019, Nessel teamed up with Michigan Supreme Court justices Richard Bernstein and Megan Cavanagh to launch a new Elder Abuse Task Force within her department.

The state has seen similar task forces in the past, including in 1998 and 2007. But Nessel has stated that hers is different because it focuses on solutions rather than simply identifying the problems.

“I want to thank both chambers for recognizing the importance of elder abuse awareness, an often unnoticed and unreported issue,” Nessel said in a statement. “In order to properly protect our aging population, we must be able to recognize the signs of abuse. Our Elder Abuse Task Force has a number of resources available online to help identify physical and emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of seniors.” 

On June 8, the state Senate adopted Senate Resolution 62 declaring June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day; on June 2, the House adopted House Resolution 120 to declare June 2021 as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

Nessel’s Elder Abuse Task Force is a coordinated effort between the attorney general’s office, Michigan State Police, lawmakers, the Michigan Supreme Court, state agencies and more than 55 different organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sections.

On Thursday, Nessel joined Cavanagh, state Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), state Sen. Roger Victory (R-Georgetown Twp.) and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers to announce legislation that would strengthen guardianship and conservatorship laws.

House Bills 4847, 4848, 4849 and 4850 and Senate Bills 503, 504, 505 and 506 are a product of Nessel’s task force and, if passed, would implement the remainder of its initiatives.

Those include a requirement for certification of guardians and conservators, and improved protections for individuals under a guardianship before a professional guardian may remove them from their home.

Michigan residents can report elder abuse by calling 855-444-3911, and can report abuse or neglect in a nursing facility by calling 800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873) or by filing a complaint online through the Michigan Attorney General patient abuse complaint form.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.