When the economy is in a state of flux, the elderly within our population may suffer some of the greatest economic and legal ramifications. For the elderly, especially those who receive government assistance and senior citizen care, there may be a greater tendency to experience adverse legal issues without realizing there is assistance made available under Title III of the Older Americans Act.
If you are caring for an elderly adult, or if you know of someone who is in retirement in your neighborhood or receiving senior citizen care, it may be important to become familiar with the Older Americans Act especially during a recession. In learning more about the Older Americans Act, you may be able to reach out and assist an elderly adult in need with finding the legal resources that are rightfully made available to them.
One resource that you may want to consider involves reaching out to a social worker. Oftentimes, social workers are well versed in the rights and legal issues that are unique to the elderly population and will usually know, firsthand, how to access the appropriate resources to resolve any legal issues. For example, social workers may be able to assist in locating pro bono attorneys and other individuals who are involved in dispute resolution.
When selecting a social worker, especially one who is well versed in the issues associated with the Older Americans Act, be certain the social worker is licensed and familiar with the state in which the elderly adult lives. Because many benefits and legal issues that affect elderly adults are regulated by states, understanding the specific jurisdictions will be important.
If you are unable to find a social worker you feel comfortable with, consider reaching out to a local hospital or medical facility as these locations often have the appropriate support staff available. The key to optimal outcomes will lie in your ability to find someone who is familiar with the Older Americans Act and how to manage legal issues of the elderly population.
Each day, many elderly adults suffer from complications that are associated with some type of legal issue. Unfortunately, many senior adults are unfamiliar with their legal recourse and often do not seek out resolution services. Under the Older Americans Act, senior adults are entitled to very specific recourse in potential legal complications and, as a loved one or neighbor, it is important that we find social workers and other individuals who can assist in compliance with the Act.
Sources: National Clearinghouse for Legal Services: December, 1988. Poor Clients Without Lawyers: What Can Be Done. Vol 19., Summer 1985.