Celebrating Senior Citizens Day with Civil Legal Aid Protection

Today is Senior Citizens Day, a national observance honoring all that our seniors have done for our communities. “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” and partner agencies would like to thank and recognize these seniors, and reflect on the important work our agencies are conducting to help these individuals transition into a more comfortable life.

In 2014 Utah Legal Services (ULS) provided legal services through all twelve Area Agencies on Aging in Utah.  ULS assisted Utah seniors in 1,096 cases with advice and brief service, giving 22 presentations at senior centers to over 826 seniors throughout the state. Most of these senior centers were in rural areas. ULS arranged for over 500 hours of volunteer attorney time to assist in these cases, which enabled the visitation of homebound seniors in their homes to provide various types of legal assistance.

Utah Legal Service along with the Disability Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake provide many different services to a range of individuals, including the following two cases assisting seniors.

Caroline is a home-bound 84-year-old with several health issues. Wanting some peace of mind, Caroline contacted Utah Legal Services for help planning her end-of-life documents. Her case was assigned to pro bono volunteer – a retired attorney formerly with the attorney general’s office who has made a second career of volunteering for and helping seniors.  The attorney was able to prepare a will, medical directives and financial Power of Attorney for her to ensure that her future financial and medical concerns were taken care of. Knowing Caroline had difficulty getting out, he made these visits directly to her home so that Caroline could execute these documents without enduring further discomfort. Caroline can now sleep soundly knowing that when it is finally time for her to go, her loved ones could celebrate her life, rather than stressing over loose ends or ambiguity.

Another particular area of legal assistance that our agencies are able to provide to seniors is preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation. Frankie is a 79-year-old who had been abused by her children who held Power of Attorney over her. Utah Legal Services prepared a revocation of the POA- effectively cancelling any authority given to the abusive children. ULS worked with Adult Protective Services who conducted an investigation of the situation and assisted in getting Frankie the help and protection she needed.

In this and many other ways, “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” partner agencies serve Utah’s seniors. If you or someone you know is being exploited or abused, or you have any legal questions or needs, please call our general intake number: 801-363-1347.

Anne Milne
Executive Director, Utah Legal Services

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