Families share stories of elder neglect with Minnesota lawmakers

After months of the state trying to clear the backlog of elder abuse complaints, families shared their stories with lawmakers on Wednesday.

Senator Karin Housely is the chair on the Committee on Aging and Long-term Care. Her bill will likely drop at the end of the week, but before it does, senators heard heartfelt pleas from families to take action.

One by one, they shared heartbreak and shed tears.

"Because they didn't care for her hygiene […] on New Year's Eve I went to see her and took her into the bathroom, and she passed out on the toilet. And I rang the bell for the nurse to come and nobody came," Irene McCormick said.

They are the stories of Minnesota daughters and sons pushing for more oversight and better investigations into elder abuse at care facilities.

"Today was to give them a voice, and I wanted the rest of the committee members to hear because something needs to be done now. We can't brush it under the rug any longer," Sen. Housley said.  

Late last year, Governor Dayton formed a working group on elder abuse issues after the Department of Health failed to investigate thousands of claims.

The new report recommends expanding the rights of vulnerable adults and their families, and enhancing criminal and civil penalties. It also recommends new licensing for assisted living and dementia care facilities - something many sons and daughters were shocked to find does already happen.

"It's a fraud what the state does to say it's licensing these facilities. I'm ashamed of that," Ken George said.

One of the number one issues senators have heard from is cameras. They want monitoring cameras in their rooms.

Senator Housley said she wants to clarify state law before making that happen.