Elder Abuse can be prevented: Georgia takes a critical step, local communities can help.

For Immediate Release:

Every year, 4-6% of elderly Americans are abused. * That abuse can be physical, sexual, domestic, psychological, financial or outright neglect. In fact, that percentage may be much higher due to a reluctance to report incidents. As a way to combat this abuse and spotlight community advocacy, Wednesday, June 15, is designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

In Georgia, a critical step in preventing elder abuse was made this year by providing a safer living environment for those receiving in-home care. Passed by the 2016 legislative session and signed by the Governor in April, HB1037 protects those who receive care from Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).

It basically expands Georgia’s existing Certified Nursing Assistant Registry to enable the receipt of complaints on CNAs working in a home setting. With this information, families and providers are able to research these caregivers more carefully.

This legislative effort was led by the Georgia Council on Aging (GCOA) and a coalition of community aging councils and related service organizations throughout Georgia.

Currently there are 73,000 active CNAs and 210,000 inactive CNAs on the Registry. There are 1,350 adverse findings of abuse listed on the Registry.

As Kathy Floyd, Executive Director of GCOA, stated, “In 2013 and 2015 we helped pass laws for stiffer penalties. GCOA will continue to work to provide tools to senior care providers and families to prevent abuse."

*National Incidence Study on Elder Abuse