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Attorney general to announce task force to focus on stopping elder abuse

Area Agency on Aging of Northwestern Michigan Director, Heidi Gustine, cautions that the state is about to reach a tipping point, as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel plans to roll out a task force on Monday to develop a strategy to deal with the problem of elder abuse.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is the attorney general’s communications director. She says an estimated 73,000 older people in Michigan are victims of some type of elder abuse. She says that number is probably on the low side because the scope of the problem isn’t known yet, and she says it takes many forms.

“Physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, neglect, or seniors who actually stop taking care of themselves,” says Rossman-McKinney.

She says the task force may ask the Legislature to adopt new laws.

“One of the challenges and opportunities we have is to not only strengthen existing laws, but there may be cases where we need to introduce new laws, and to make sure those solutions are embedded in statute,” she says.

Rossman-McKinney says the task force will include legislators, justices of the state Supreme Court, and experts on elder abuse.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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