Closing the Justice Gap for Older Adults

Source: National Center on Law and Elder Rights

Published: 2023


Legal Services Corporation & the Administration for Community Living collaborated on a new training series hosted by the National Center on Law & Elder Rights, Closing the Justice Gap for Older Adults. The most recent LSC Justice Gap Report shared that 70% of low-income older adult households had at least 1 civil legal problem in the past year, but older adults did not receive any or enough legal help for 91% of substantial problems.

This training series is designed for legal aid attorneys, staff, and partners to build capacity, expertise, and skills to provide counsel to older adults, with a person-directed and trauma-informed approach. The full recordings and materials are now available on the NCLER website.

Part 1: Representing Older Adults in Nursing Facility Eviction Cases 

Residents of nursing facilities may be threatened with improper evictions. Sometimes the facility alleges that it cannot meet the resident’s needs, even when the facility is legally obligated to provide the required care. Sometimes evictions are based improperly on discrimination against Medicaid-eligible residents. This training provides legal aid attorneys and staff with practical and readily actionable information and tools to represent older adults in nursing facility evictions.

Watch the recording and view the slides.

Part 2: Representing Clients with a Range of Decisional Capabilities

Individuals with cognitive impairments, such as dementia, and people subject to or at risk of guardianship are frequently met with barriers to request services for themselves. Ensuring that they are not turned away is an important step to make sure that older adults have access to representation in legal matters and court proceedings, particularly in matters that have a significant impact on their lives. This training explores how legal aid advocates may represent older individuals even—or especially when—their decisional abilities may be questioned by some.

Watch the recording and view the slides.

Part 3: Partnering with Adult Protective Services: Leveraging Strengths across Disciplines

This training explores how Adult Protective Services (APS) and civil legal aid can work together to address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and how a broad range of civil legal remedies empowers restoring agency to older adults who have experienced maltreatment and reduces risk of recurrence.

Watch the recording and view the slides.

Part 4: You Can Make a Difference – Defending Against or Terminating Guardianship

When representing a person with a guardian or someone who is allegedly in need of a guardian, an attorney may need to take extra steps to ensure their client has the right to counsel of their choice and to be a strong advocate on behalf of the client. This training prepares legal aid attorneys to represent individuals who may be subject to guardianship or who are under guardianship by using procedural and evidentiary tools, including alternatives to guardianship, to increase clients’ independence and autonomy and restore their civil rights.

Watch the recording and view the slides.


Link: Closing the Justice Gap for Older Adults

Topics: Legal

Access: Web-based

Intended Use: Self-directed Learning

Audience: Legal/Law Enforcement

Level: Advanced, Intermediate