The field of elder law focuses on the needs of older people and the issues they encounter. Elder law also involves issues faced by individuals and families suffering from chronic illness.
The Older Americans Act, enacted in 1965, created the Administration on Aging, the federal agency advocating for the elderly. Amendments to the act provided funds for services and programs benefiting senior citizens and their families. In 2006, the act was amended to help seniors avoid institutional care, improve nutrition and health services and coordinate governmental programs for elders. These programs include home-delivered meals and nutrition services, transportation, adult day care, legal assistance, nursing home supervision and health care promotion. In addition, the Family Caregiver Support Program provides services for people caring for chronically ill or disabled family members.
An elder law attorney assists clients in planning their estates and counsels clients about planning for their incapacity, including nursing home care. The attorney helps clients locate appropriate care and coordinate private and public benefits to pay for the care. Legal problems affecting the elderly are increasing as laws and regulations become more complex.
An elder law attorney can help with: