Title VII, the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Title, was created by the 1992 amendments to the Older Americans Act. It addresses the need for strong advocacy to protect and enhance the basic rights and benefits of vulnerable older people.
Through Title VII, Congress refocused the Older Americans Act's original advocacy mission and empowered state agencies on aging to "provide firm leadership...to assure that the rights of older individuals...[are] protected." Congress also recognized that while conditions for older persons have improved markedly since 1965, there are many vulnerable elderly who suffer serious deprivation, are denied their basic rights and benefits, and need vigorous advocacy on their behalf. Title VII encourages state agencies to concentrate their advocacy efforts on issues affecting those who are the most socially and economically vulnerable.
Title VII has a dual focus. It brings together and strengthens four existing advocacy programs -- the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program; Programs for the Prevention of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation; State Elder Rights and Legal Assistance Development Programs; and Insurance/Benefits Outreach, Counseling and Assistance Programs -- and calls for their coordination and linkage within each state. In addition, Title VII calls on state Agencies to take a holistic approach to elder rights advocacy by coordinating the four programs and fostering collaboration among programs and other advocates in each state to address - at a systems level - issues of the highest priority for the most vulnerable elders.