– Senior citizens will now have another layer of protection against exploitation from caregivers with the governor’s signing of House Bill 1431
, now known as Act 49 of 2020. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover), issued the following statement:
“This new law protects some of the most vulnerable people in our society – our senior citizens. This law is the direct result of numerous reports of senior citizens having their privacy violated by those who are supposed to be assisting them. There have unfortunately been several instances of demeaning photographs of senior citizens in compromising and unflattering situations posted to the internet by caregivers.
“Act 49 makes this egregious act now a crime. It is my hope this law serves to deter anyone from posting such images and taking advantage of our senior citizens.”
Act 49 of 2020 makes it a crime for care providers to take, post or share demeaning and humiliating images and videos of any care-dependent person, such as a senior citizen in a care facility. Under the bill, this type of abuse would be graded as a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.
Signs of abuse are isolation, weight loss, bruises or broken bones, increased confusion, unusual withdrawals from bank accounts, and signing over a home to another person. If you are the victim of elder abuse, or if you suspect someone you know is a victim, call 911 or the state’s 24-hour abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505.