U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that key provisions from her bipartisan legislation to protect seniors from abuse and neglect by guardians have been included in the Older Americans Act of 2012. Klobuchar's provisions would protect seniors and persons with disabilities from neglect and financial exploitation by improving oversight and accountability for court-appointed guardians and conservators. The legislation also includes provisions Klobuchar authored to promote and provide additional resources for programs that support family caregivers.
"Seniors deserve high quality care that keeps them healthy and safe,"said Klobuchar. "This important bill contains critical provisions to protect seniors from bad actors who could take advantage of them and reduce the burdens on families who are caring for their loved ones."
The Older Americans Act includes key provisions from the Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act, legislation Klobuchar introduced with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would provide support to states to implement programs to increase oversight of guardians and conservators. Specifically, the bill provides funding for state courts to assess the handling of proceedings relating to guardian and conservators, and then make the necessary improvements to their practices. The bill sets aside a portion of the funding for states seeking to implement or improve systems for conducting background checks on potential guardians and conservators. It also authorizes state courts to implement an electronic filing system in order to better monitor and audit conservatorships and guardianships.
The legislation also includes provisions authored by Klobuchar that would provide additional resources for the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). This program provides grants to States and Territories to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible. Additionally, the legislation would establish the National Resource Center on Family Caregiving with the purpose of establishing best practices for, educate the public on, and promote family caregiving support programs.
The Older Americans Act of 2012, cosponsored by Klobuchar, helps seniors remain independent in their homes and communities by supporting programs that provide basic necessities such as meals, home-care, help coordinating long-term care, job training, legal services and protection.