Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, during the markup of H.R. 6813, the Promoting Alzheimer's Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act:
"H.R. 6813, the 'Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act,' would require the Justice Department to ensure that its training materials under the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act include information specifically targeted at treating, protecting and caring for people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
"More than 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. One study estimates that over 50 percent of individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s or other dementia may experience some type of elder abuse. Neglect is the most-reported type of abuse, followed by financial exploitation.
"Building upon the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017, this legislation addresses the need for better training of law enforcement officers, first responders, social workers, prosecutors and judges.
"Significantly, H.R. 6813 would also establish a new requirement for DOJ to develop training materials to address situations in which individuals living with Alzheimer’s or dementia may be involved in a criminal case or proceeding as a victim or a witness.
"In addition, the legislation would require the Justice Department to make these training materials available to medical professionals and financial services personnel who may encounter and support people living with these challenges and at risk of abuse or being targeted for fraud.
"The bill would also add a new requirement that DOJ consult more broadly with government agencies at the federal, state and local level in the preparation of these materials, as well as with nationally recognized nonprofit associations with relevant expertise.
"During the current pandemic, our seniors living in long-term care facilities are particularly vulnerable and isolated given current physical distancing measures that limit contact with family members and other visitors. Most of these residents have some form of cognitive impairment and are at even greater risk of mistreatment or exploitation.
"This legislation would expand the quality and scope of dementia-specific training materials, leading to better practices and processes to combat elder abuse and exploitation. This addresses an important and timely need for a uniquely vulnerable population.
"I thank Representative Deutch for introducing this bipartisan legislation, and for his leadership in expanding protections for our vulnerable citizens living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.I am proud to be a cosponsor—along with several other Members of this Committee, on both sides of the aisle—and I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this important bill."