Elder Abuse Lawyer Awarded MacArthur Genius Grant

Marie-Therese Connolly, a Washington DC-based elder-abuse activist is one of the 22 new MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Ms. Connolly was pivotal in the drafting and passage of the Elder Justice Act, enacted in 2010. It was the first piece of federal legislation to address the issue specifically.

In awarding the grant, the foundation stated that Connolly, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, has “devoted her career to laying bare the many forms of elder abuse: physical and psychological, as well as financial exploitation and wrongful deprivation of rights.” Founder and director of Life Long Justice at the Appleseed Foundation, a non-profit entity to fight elder abuse, Ms Connolly works to make sure that the prevention of elder abuse is a national priority. She cites the following statistics on her website:

  • 7.6% - 11% of people 60+ at home are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • 47% of people with dementia at home are abused or neglected by their caregivers.
  • For every one case of elder abuse that comes to light, 23.5 do not.
  • 50% – 90% of nursing homes are understaffed at levels that harm residents.

The Fellowship award means that Ms. Connolly can continue her quixotic endeavor and, as she says, it proves that there is “external validation that (this work) actually matters.”

As per usual, the recipients learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years.

We at Caregiverlist.com advocate for elder justice and we congratulate Ms. Connolly on the award for her tireless work.

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Comments (1) -

  • Thank you for sharing this - it is really nice to know that the genius grant can work towards better services for seniors!

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