Maine Center for Elder Law Blog

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Financial protection for Maine's elderly advances

The House passes a bill to deter assets exploitation as Maine prepares for a surge in its population of seniors.

L.D. 527, sponsored by Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, a former Cumberland County sheriff, was passed by the House on Tuesday. It now awaits votes in the Senate.

The bill would clarify state law to say that people with dementia and other cognitive impairments cannot consent to financially abusive conduct by caregivers that would be criminal without the consent.

In a state plan released last year, the Department of Health and Human Services said one in five Mainers older than 65 have been exploited financially by family members, caregivers or scammers.

Dion, who is now a lawyer, said that as a police investigator, he often walked away unsatisfied from unprovable cases involving elders. Often, many seniors couldn't "consent the way the general public understands consent," he said.

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