Elder abuse will be defined as a crime in Iowa when a new law takes effect July 1st. Governor Reynolds has approved a bill that creates new criminal penalties for emotional abuse and neglect of Iowans who are 60 or older.
The bill establishes a new criminal charge of financial exploitation of an older individual.
The governor held a bill signing ceremony at a senior living center in Williamsburg Wednesday. These changes have been a top priority for A-A-R-P for several years and the bill passed the House and Senate this year unanimously. Sixty-seven-year-old Roseanne Gates, an A-A-R-P volunteer, has lobbied for the bill since 2019.
Gates had signed up to travel to nursing homes and other places around the state to educate older Iowans about elder abuse, but the COVID pandemic halted those plans. She’s now ready to make those trips, armed with the details in this new law to crack down on elder abuse.
Gates says sadly online scammers who’ve targeted her friends are hard to track down. Gates drove more than 200 miles from her home in Crystal Lake to Williamsburg to witness Wednesday’s bill signing. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, as many as two million Americans above the age of 65 have been abused.