Runestad Spinal Column op-ed: Preventing elder abuse in our community

If you’re like me, the thought of having our elder loved ones taken advantage of is unconscionable.

And if you’re a senior yourself, you may very well know how concerning elder abuse truly is.

Sadly, elder abuse is not only a real problem — it’s a real problem that happens far more often than you would think. From financial fraud and exploitation to physical abuse, even in nursing homes, this type of abuse and manipulation is far too real.

Thankfully, there are steps we can take right now to help protect seniors from abuse.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and I will be hosting an Elder Abuse Prevention Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Sept. 30 at the Novi Public Library  at 45255 W. 10 Mile Road in Novi to share some of these steps.

Along with experts in the field of senior protection, we will be on site from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to share more about the fight against senior abuse and to answer your questions about what we can do to stop it. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. to provide time to visit with these experts before the program begins.

As part of her Elder Abuse Prevention Task Force Tour, the attorney general and her staff will present and report on what steps they’re taking to protect senior citizens in our state.

I also will be on hand to give an update as to what the Legislature is doing to fight abuse and how you can help us in that fight.

I’ll share more about my legislation to protect residents of nursing homes by allowing residents and families to install surveillance cameras in their own rooms. The abuse of residents in nursing homes is becoming far too common. By allowing residents to install cameras in their own rooms, offenders and abusers will be on notice that they can no longer get away with any mistreatment of residents. Anything that can be done to protect seniors should be permitted as soon as possible.

Also on site at our event will be local elder care resource providers. They will be able to answer your questions and provide information on how to best protect yourself from fraud and abuse.

But perhaps most importantly, we want to hear from you at our event! Come prepared to ask questions, share your thoughts and voice your concerns for what we can do to cut down on elder abuse.

I hope you’ll join the attorney general and me on Sept. 30 for this bipartisan town hall. Protecting the most vulnerable — including our seniors — is my top priority as your state senator. It’s a mission that both Republicans and Democrats can support. And when we work together there is nothing we can’t do — including putting an end to elder abuse in our community.

This op-ed appeared in the August 28 edition of the The Spinal Column. State Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, represents Michigan’s 15th District.