Once again, I attended the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) conference. The Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota held the event. WEAAD was created to recognize the significance of elder abuse. Elder abuse is a growing social and financial concern. Moreover, it is also a public health matter and human rights issue. Subsequently, the goal of this conference is to elevate the issue of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation and provide education on best practices for prevention and response.
There were several breakout sessions to attend during the day. However, we got a surprise agenda item when Minnesota Governor Walz came to the conference! He attended to sign the bill to improve Elder Protections in Long-Term Care settings. Did you know that Minnesota was the ONLY state in the nation that did not regulate assisted-living centers? The bill expands rights and protections for residents in long-term care settings. It also creates a system to license assisted living facilities. The bill includes strong dementia care standards. Some of the provisions will become law in January 2020 with the overall bill becoming a law in August 2021.
Among many new resident safeguards, the law will ensure:
- residents of assisted living settings have protections against unfair discharges and evictions.
- people residing in nursing homes and assisted living settings will be protected from retaliation.
- residents of nursing homes and assisted living settings will have the right to install a camera in their own rooms to monitor care; and
- assisted living settings must be licensed by 2021 under new requirements. These requirements include stricter training and staffing standards. They also include physical plant requirements and dementia care standards.
The new law also makes investments in critical programs such as the long-term care ombudsman’s office and county-based adult protection units. Events and conferences for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day bring light to these issues and create momentum for laws.
I am a Certified Senior Advisor® and am happy to help with any questions or concerns. White Oaks Wealth Advisors has many aging clients. Therefore, we are always here to assist with navigating the concerns of aging.
Cyndi Castle is the Vice President of Family Office Services at White Oaks. She manages the family office client service relationships and communications, and specializes in providing investment oversight service.