Chapter 11 Introduction

Older adults, like everyone, have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to be free from discrimination. However, many older adults face age bias and discrimination in the workplace and other settings. Moreover, older adults from historically disadvantaged groups may experience discrimination not just related to age. In some instances, they are the target of hate crimes.

Some older adults may need extra protections. For example, those with cognitive impairments or other health challenges may rely on friends, family, or paid caregivers to complete day-to-day tasks. Some are unable to care for their personal and financial needs. They may have a court-appointed guardian. In most cases, caregivers and guardians uphold the dignity and wishes of the person they are caring for. However, this is not always the case. Thus, oversight and protection are needed to ensure that older adults being cared for by others, including those under guardianship, are treated respectfully. They should live free from all forms of abuse, including neglect and financial exploitation.

Individuals, including older adults, also need effective ways to assert their rights. This includes enforcement of rights by federal, state, and local agencies that oversee programs for older adults or that have authority to enforce laws and regulations on their behalf. People also need direct access to the courts to seek redress when their rights have been violated.