HOWELL, Mich. (WLNS) — Law enforcement, lawmakers and Attorney General Dana Nessel gathered in Howell to discuss their plan to combat elder abuse in Michigan.
The goal, Nessel says, is to not only catch those who abuse the elderly, but prevent that abuse from happening in the first place.
“Estimates are, by 2030, we’re gonna have over 2 million people in this state that are 65 or older,” she said. “Obviously not all crimes against seniors are reported, but the estimates are about 73,000 cases of elder abuse and exploitation every single year. And I don’t know what else to call that, but really, an epidemic.”
Nessel says one of the ways her office is tackling the problem is standardizing the reporting process for police who handle these types of cases. State police and sheriff’s offices will have access to a new form November 1, and local agencies will next February.
When officers respond to a case of suspected abuse they will be required to collect information, like if the person is at risk physically or financially, as well as information about the victim’s mental state. That information will be forwarded to prosecutors.
“So that there is a uniform way that the police can investigate these cases and work with prosecutors to make sure these cases are successfully prosecuted,” Nessel said.
Nessel says the legislature will also take up a package of bills to protect the elderly, including requiring guardians to be licensed and trained, and limiting the number of people they can serve as guardians for.
Rose Simpson, who attended the town hall, says she came to find out how she can keep her parents safe as they age.
“You have to protect them more, and you don’t expect that. because they were always capable,” she said. “They were taking care of you, and now the roles are reversed.”