The Basics

The Elder Justice Act: Addressing Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
November 30, 2010


Carol V. O'Shaughnessy, MA


Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation is a social problem that affects older people across all socioeconomic groups and care settings. Although national data on the full extent of the problem are elusive, one study found that 11 percent of older people living in community settings had experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or potential neglect during one year. Abuse and neglect of residents of nursing facilities and other institutions have been a continuing concern of policymakers and advocates for many years. The Elder Justice Act (EJA), enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on March 23, 2010, sets forth a series of provisions designed to address some of the weaknesses in federal and state efforts to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older people. This publication provides a description of selected EJA provisions.

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