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Support changes to Frail Elder Family Visitation Protection Act

State Journal Register

Friday, February 14, 2020  |  Letter to Editor  |  Sandy Baksys

Senior Citizens (81)

Illinois’ Elder Abuse Task Force is still a year away from submitting its 2021 recommendations for reforming our state’s approach to elder protection.

One of the most impactful issues the Task Force must consider is the ease with which thousands of elder powers of attorney, every year, are misappropriated and abused. This happens whenever an elder in health collapse is intimidated or deceived into transferring his proxy powers to someone who then isolates the elder to exploit the elder’s assets.

 

It’s well-known that elder isolation often leads to financial and even physical abuse in the environment of secrecy on which all elder abuse depends. That’s why Illinois overwhelmingly passed Public Act 100-0850, the Frail Elder Family Visitation Protection Act, in 2018.

 

Now Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) is building on Illinois’ only dedicated anti-elder isolation law with HB 4698. His new bill closes a major loophole in PA 100-0850 by removing its exemption for those with powers of attorney (POAs).

 

No one who is holding a vulnerable elder hostage from his or her closest family should be shielded from a petition for family visitation under PA 100-0850. If there’s a valid reason for isolating an elder at end of life, then let the isolator prove it. No piece of paper should provide the holder with blanket immunity for what could otherwise be brought to court as elder abuse.

 

Sandy Baksys

Springfield