For the last 35 years, California’s Senior Legislature has been advocating for the rights of older adults throughout the state. Indeed, according to a recent report from NBC News, the ground has been proposing laws to state legislators aimed at preventing elder abuse throughout its tenure. Now, however, the advocacy group is facing a serious problem with funds and is taking steps to ensure that it retains a voice when it comes to lawmaking and the rights of the elderly in California.
Long-Time Group Advocates for Seniors’ Rights
The California Senior Legislature currently has 120 members, all of whom are volunteers. Its members come from a variety of cities throughout the state, from Southern California to the Bay Area. Each of the members, according to NBC News, is elected from separate senior organizations in their respective cities. “Throughout its history,” the report states, “the group has proposed a myriad of laws dealing with topics ranging from elder abuse to senior health issues.” Legislators recall members of the group actually walking through the state capitol in order to personally track down legislators and encourage them to carry proposals created by the group.
Some examples of the group’s work include the following:
- A proposal to “force public buildings to add rails to staircases”;
- Creation of a “senior notification system” in the event of a natural disasters; and
- Proposal to use California’s Amber Alert system “to put out the word for missing seniors suffering from dementia.”
As of now, nearly 200 of California’s Senior Legislature’s proposal have become law.
Increasing Need for Advocacy, Fewer Funds
Given that California’s senior population is growing—and will only continue to grow in the next two decades—the need for the group’s advocacy “is at a premium.” To be sure, according to the California Department of Aging, between 1990 and 2020 California will have seen an increase in the elderly population of about 112 percent.
Despite the need for advocates for the elderly, California’s Senior Legislature is losing funding. The advocacy groups continue to lose money each year, and this year it plans to turn to electronic communication rather than in-person meetings to save on funds. The members hope they’ll be able to stay in business, so to speak, and so do legislators who have seen the positive effects of the group’s work.
According to Lauren Rolfe, a Senior Legislator, the California legislature passed the Amber Alert proposal. During its first year, the system “was activated 189 times,” Role reported. And because of the effectiveness of the system, “all but 10 of the instances resulted in the safe recovery of the missing person.” Indeed, Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine emphasized that the group certainly is “effective—forceful for their advocates.” He remarked upon each of the members’ impressive level of engagement in state politics. In short, California needs advocates to ensure that nursing home abuse and elder neglect reforms are proposed and put into law.
Do you have concerns about elder abuse at a California nursing home or assisted living facility? While efforts are being made in California to reduce rates of nursing home abuse and neglect, crimes against the elderly continue to be problematic in our state. Don’t hesitate to contact an aggressive San Diego nursing home abuse attorney if you have questions.
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