Keeping Seniors Safe, additional elderly protection bills signed into law

Consumer Federation of California and Legal Assistance to the Elderly, Inc., co-sponsored AB 849 (Garcia), authorizing assistance programs serving victims of elder and dependent adult abuse to help them apply to the Safe at Home address confidentiality program.

Most victims of elder abuse are harmed by someone they know, often a relative. To escape mistreatment, leaving one’s home may sometimes be the only option. Address confidentiality is vital for victims who have been forced to move to escape an abuser who continues to stalk, harass and abuse them.

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking have been able to participate in the Safe At Home program to have an address designated by the program serve as the victim’s mailing address for certain purposes (e.g., receipt of mail, service of process, state and local public records requests) to provide address confidentiality.

The Keeping Seniors Safe law extends the protections currently offered to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to ensure that eligible elder or dependent adult abuse victims are aware of their eligibility, and may also apply to the address confidentiality program.

In this session, several additional CFC-supported bills to protect the elderly were signed into law by Governor Brown, which include:

  • AB 140 (Dickinson) increases protection for elders financially exploited by “undue influence,” or excessive persuasion, by people in positions of authority or trust.
  • AB 261 (Chesbro) requires residential care facilities for the elderly to stop charging fees and requires refunds of prepaid fees for a deceased resident.
  • AB 663 (Gomez) requires the administrator of a residential care facility to have training in cultural competency and sensitivity in aging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minority issues.
  • AB 918 (Cooley) authorizes the Office of Emergency Services to prepare a specialized plan to mobilize senior citizens and disabled persons during an emergency or natural disaster.
  • SB 129 (Wright) extends the surcharge for telecom universal service programs, which fund the deaf and disabled programs that are set to end on January 1, 2014 but instead will now expire on January 1, 2024.
  • SB 272 (Corbett) makes it illegal for any nongovernmental entity to use an emblem to imply connection with any military or veteran organizations without approval, for the purpose of financial gain.
  • SB 609 (Wolk) raises the fine for willful interference with the official duties of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman so it is able to continue investigating and resolving complaints by or for residents of long-term care facilities and protecting residents’ rights.

Consumer Federation of California is part of a coalition of advocates working to enact a package of bills regarding abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older persons.