MARQUETTE — A state wide task force was in Marquette Monday morning as a part of a listening tour to hear from locals on the issue of elder abuse. The Elder Abuse Task Force was at NMU’s Northern Center, where Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, State Representative Sara Cambensy, and State Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh heard from the public on issues pertaining to elder abuse in the state.

Along with hearing several different personal experiences from those in attendance, which included lawyers and professionals that work with the elderly, they heard of potential solutions to the problems that are dealt with on a daily basis.

“This isn’t a single-area problem, or a single-area solution,” said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh. “It does take involvement and commitment from the judges, and the prosecutors, and the APS workers, and community members and family members and mediators. The more people that are involved, the better the solution is. So today was particularly helpful to have that many people from this community who are on the ground and actually see how this works.”

The task force already had 9 initiatives that will help with elder abuse, that are already written in bills that will be introduced to the legislature when they’re back in session later this month.

“We are still continuing to tweak the bills a little bit, but you know, they’ve been written,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “They’re ready to go, so for most of the initiatives we’re going to proposing these as soon as possible and we’re very hopeful that this package of bills will have hearings, and be voted on sometime this fall.”

The 9 initiatives already in place that the task force is working on are:

  1. Requiring professional guardians to become certified
  2. Change the accounting form filed annually requiring the judge to sign an attestation that he/she reviewed it and finds it meets the fiduciary standard
  3. Adopt the standard investigation form for vunerable adult investigation and include training for law enforcement, prosecutors, Adult Protective Service workers and Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards academy
  4. Review the process for emergency petitions for the guardianship/conservatorship to require a full hearing with the ward present and medical testimony
  5. Develop statutory basic rights for the family of the ward including notice and the opportunity to file pro se motions/documents, visitation, etc.
  6. Review process of guardian removal of the ward from the home
  7. Limit the number of wards per guardian
  8. Mandate reporting for financial institutions on suspected fraud/exploitation
  9. Help develop local level multi-disciplinary teams

Elder abuse written complaints can be filed online by clicking here, or you can call the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-242-2873. Additional information is available by clicking here.