HCR 3: Relating to promoting the safety and protection of older Alaskans.
00 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3 01 Relating to promoting the safety and protection of older Alaskans. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS, as valued residents of the state who enrich our communities and 04 personal lives, older Alaskans deserve to live in a safe and dignified manner, enjoying as 05 much independence as possible; and 06 WHEREAS the interests of the state are served by decreasing risks of older Alaskans 07 suffering from neglect, physical or emotional abuse, abandonment, financial exploitation, and 08 of harming themselves; and 09 WHEREAS it is estimated that 52,263 Alaskans, or 7.5 percent of the population of 10 the state, are 65 years of age or older; and 11 WHEREAS the number of older Alaskans is increasing, as "baby boomers" born 12 between 1946 and 1964 reach traditional retirement age, highlighting the need for expanded 13 protections for older Alaskans; and 14 WHEREAS older Alaskans who are isolated, particularly those with Alzheimer's 15 disease and related dementia and other complex health needs, may be targets of abuse; and 16 WHEREAS elder abuse perpetrated by family members, friends, caregivers, and
01 opportunistic strangers occurs in families and communities across the state without regard to 02 socioeconomic, cultural, racial, and ethnic distinctions; and 03 WHEREAS the devastating problem of elder abuse often goes unreported because 04 victims fear shame and isolation will result from reporting abuse; and 05 WHEREAS an estimated 11 percent of people living in the United States who are 60 06 years of age or older suffer from some form of abuse; and 07 WHEREAS elder abuse in the state is increasing at an alarming rate; and 08 WHEREAS state agencies, including adult protective services in the Department of 09 Health and Social Services, the office of the long-term care ombudsman in the Department of 10 Revenue, and the office of elder fraud and assistance in the Department of Administration, as 11 well as services provided by the Department of Public Safety are devoted to the protection of 12 older Alaskans; and 13 WHEREAS the number of reports of harm filed with adult protective services has 14 risen by 169 percent in the past four years; and 15 WHEREAS the most common allegations contained in reports of harm filed with 16 adult protective services were related to self-neglect and financial exploitation; and 17 WHEREAS the number of reports of harm filed with the office of the long-term care 18 ombudsman has risen by 200 percent in the past three years; and 19 WHEREAS the most common allegations contained in reports of harm filed with the 20 office of the long-term care ombudsman were related to abuse and gross neglect in assisted 21 living facilities; and 22 WHEREAS the protection of older Alaskans is a societal responsibility that requires 23 communities and agencies across the state to work together to help reduce and prevent abuse, 24 neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation; 25 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature 26 (1) recognizes the need to protect vulnerable older Alaskans from any act that 27 harms or jeopardizes an older Alaskan's health or welfare; 28 (2) supports the governor's efforts to improve safety for older Alaskans 29 through state agencies, including adult protective services, the office of the long-term care 30 ombudsman, the office of elder fraud and assistance, the services of the Department of Public 31 Safety, and the Medicaid fraud control unit in the office of the attorney general;
01 (3) encourages the Department of Health and Social Services and the office of 02 the long-term care ombudsman to promote public education and awareness to increase public 03 recognition and reporting of elder abuse; 04 (4) supports efforts by the Department of Health and Social Services to 05 improve interagency coordination of first responders and service providers through ongoing 06 communication and planning; and 07 (5) supports efficient prevention and early intervention services provided by 08 senior nutrition and outreach programs, volunteer long-term care ombudsmen, adult 09 protective services, and aging and disability resource centers, which reduce the incidence of 10 harm to older Alaskans.