For many people, becoming an older adult brings newfound freedom and benefits: grown children, impending retirement, exploring new interests, travel, and more time for self-care. But just as often, older adulthood can bring challenges to safety, independence, self-determination, and financial security.
May is Older American’s Month which raises awareness concerning elder abuse and neglect as we age. We must be sure resources are in place to protect our older population from the risks of abuse and neglect. By 2040, more than 1 in 5 Texans is projected to be 65 and older. Now is the time to enhance services for older adults, especially victims of abuse and financial exploitation.
Older adults often do not know that their needs are legal in nature, and they are not fully aware of their legal rights and responsibilities or of the options available to resolve their legal issues. Unscrupulous caretakers and fears of repercussions also may prevent this group from asking for and getting legal help. Too frequently they do not have access to an attorney or meaningful access to the courts. When this group tries to resolve legal problems on their own, they face an overwhelming legal system with regulations, rules, procedures, complex terminology, deadlines, and necessary document filings.
Lone Star Legal Aid has a new project aimed at assisting older adults living in 25 high-poverty counties. This new advocacy initiative will serve older adults facing a wide range of civil legal issues, like:
- Protection orders;
- Securing, challenging, limiting, or terminating guardianships;
- Instituting and revoking powers of attorney;
- Recovering assets;
- Restoration of public benefits;
- Creating trusts; evicting an abusive caregiver;
- Modifying and voiding legal instruments;
- Removal of social security representative payees for funds mismanagement and abuse of fiduciary duties;
- Identity theft and debt collection;
- Unlawful nursing home discharges; and
- Deceptive and unfair business practices.
TX Counties Served by Project: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Tyler, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.
Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org
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