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New law criminalizes elder abuse

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Iowa just became the final state in the nation to criminalize elder abuse.

Elder abuse, including physical assault and financial exploitation, is now criminally punishable in Iowa. Penalties range from a simple misdemeanor to a class D felony. Iowa Public Radio health reporter Natalie Krebs breaks down the new Iowa law and experts on elder rights join River to River host Ben Kieffer to share the most common types of elder abuse and how to recognize it and highlight the free resources available to older Iowans.

If you suspect you or a loved one may be a victim of elder abuse you can contact the Area Agency on Aging at 880-332-5934, or you can find resources at iowaaging.gov.

Later in the episode, labor economist Peter Orazem discusses why older women are exiting Iowa’s workforce. He also offers his assessment of how the U.S. and Iowa economies are recovering from the pandemic.


  • Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio reporter
  • Larry Kudej, AARP Iowa executive council member, Older Iowans Legislature chair
  • Laura Kriegermeier, Heritage Area Agency on Aging elder rights coordinator
  • Peter Orazem, labor economist at Iowa State University
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa
Natalie Dunlap is a rising junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and minoring in gender, women's & sexuality studies. She is from Iowa City and in her free time enjoys getting coffee and reading downtown with friends.