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Opinion: Recently passed legislation will increase Alzheimer’s awareness and prevent elder abuse

Over the past several months, Georgia’s seniors, especially those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, have faced a whole host of obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an increased vulnerability to abuse, neglect and exploitation. 

My family has been ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease and I currently have loved ones in care facilities. I can think of nothing more tragic than someone or some organization trying to take advantage of my family in these most vulnerable times. 

Thankfully, the Increasing Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, which passed the U.S. Senate unanimously on Aug. 6, is an important step in protecting all seniors, especially those with dementia, from elder abuse.  

Police officers, firefighters, social workers and others will receive training and information on how to look for the signs of elder abuse and how to prevent it. Legislation like this ensures that families like mine can have more peace of mind knowing that our first responders will have the tools they need to intervene and prevent elder abuse. 

On behalf of Georgians with dementia and the Alzheimer’s Association, I want to thank Rep. Doug Collins for co-sponsoring of the Increasing Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act. Together, we are taking important steps forward both in the fight against Alzheimer’s and in the fight against elder abuse.  

Rob Polak 

Flowery Branch

Member, Board of Directors, Alzheimer’s Association, Ga. chapter

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