Last Updated October 9, 2019

Could a New Georgia Law to Protect Seniors Hurt them Instead?

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Unfortunately, stories of elderly abuse are a rising and striking issue amongst many communities including many in Georgia, for that reason a new Georgia law has been put in place, in hopes of better protecting the elderly. This law just took effect on October 1, 2019 and requires that all owners and employees at long term care facilities undergo a background check in conjunction with a finger print rendering. This law also applies to non profit volunteers who come in contact with senior patients as well. The goal of this law is to uncover any preexisting criminal activity that may lead to potential elder abuse and also deter from new crimes against the elderly. This new law seems like a valiant effort to help keep our seniors safe however, there are some individuals that hold reservations against this new law.

Although requiring elder care workers to undergo a background check seems like a valid requirement, there is some concern surrounding the requiring of non profit volunteers to do the same. Some organizations fear that this may deter volunteers from volunteering their time, as they may feel this new law is too invasive. These fingerprints and background checks are submitted and checked against a national database and remain on file forever. Some opposing opinions argue that most individuals should be okay with submitting this information especially if “they have nothing to hide” however, there also remains the new issue of cost. Most of these individuals are already volunteering time and money to help a cause they do not profit from adding in the necessity for background checks also adds in a new cost. Each background check costs about $50 per person, which can amount to a hefty amount for organizations that work with hundreds of volunteers. The hope is that this new law does not take away from the efforts of helpful non profits and instead creates a safer environment for all seniors.

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