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New Illinois law protecting elderly from abuse doesn’t go far enough

The law foolishly requires most elderly people to give permission for their family members to be questioned

The Illinois State Capitol
The Illinois State Capitol
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A new law to address elder abuse has reached Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. For the first time, as required by House Bill 3065, staffers for the state’s Adult Protective Services will be required to talk to an elderly person’s entire immediate family when trying to confirm abuse complaints.

Yet the new law doesn’t go far enough. Opposed by the entire Illinois elder bureaucracy in its original form, the bill in its final form requires most elders to give permission for their family members to be questioned.

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Confirming obvious physical abuse or neglect, under these conditions, may still be no problem for a visiting caseworker. But when long-term isolation and emotional abuse — not physical abuse — make up the core of the abuse complaint, it seems improbable that a cowed and isolated elder will suddenly cooperate with a visiting stranger from Adult Protective Services.

The same goes for the APS procedural requirement that an elder’s isolation or confinement be verbally confirmed by the abused elder.

What do we still not get about elder abuse — that traumatic exploitation of an entire family through the hostage-taking of its dying parent?

Why can’t APS confirm the abuse it’s supposed to combat without the cooperation of isolated victims under abusive control at their very end of life?

APS must finally be allowed to harness the love and truth of good-actor family members against the predators in their midst.

Sandy Baksys, Springfield

No rationale for Fed to lower rates

The Federal Reserve chairman just testified that he probably will lower interest rates this month. This is no doubt necessary because we are going into a recession.

No, wait — we are still in a growth phase. So why lower interest rates?

Jerome Powell says some elements of society have been left behind, but lowering rates won’t solve that. In fact, unemployment is at a very low level and jobs are standing open, with the stock markets at all-time highs. This is certainly no time to lower rates.

The only reason I can see for lowering interest rates is that Trump has been screaming “lower the rate,” and Trump is doing this to “goose the economy” as his campaign for re-election comes around.

Lee Knohl, Evanston