The Elder Justice Resource Guide includes information about elder abuse, accessible courtrooms for older adults, capacity and confusion, effective communication, and available resources for older adults experiencing abuse. The Guide also includes a comprehensive directory of national, state, and local services available to older adults.
With longer than ever life expectancies and increasing needs for support, the responsibility to address barriers to justice for older adult litigants is coming into sharp focus. As legal professionals, we do not get to choose who comes before us, but we do have the opportunity and obligation to provide a fair chance and equal access to justice to those who do.
"As legal professionals, we do not get to choose who comes before us, but we do have the opportunity and obligation to provide a fair chance and equal access to justice to those who do."
Judges, court personnel, and other legal professionals are vital actors in elder justice work. For older adults experiencing abuse, the court system can present a crucial point of intervention; this important role of the courts became increasingly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting in-person closure of courts, government agencies, and social service providers. Judges and court personnel who are informed about the unique and intersectional challenges that older adults, and particularly older adults experiencing abuse, can face when navigating the labyrinth of the justice system are necessary to address these barriers and ensure real access to justice.
With this in mind, we are proud to have co-authored the Elder Justice Resource Guide with the New York State Unified Court System’s Division of Policy and Planning. The entire legal team at the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice has worked diligently to realize this vision, and we extend our gratitude to the Hon. Sherry Klein Heitler, the Hon. Edwina G. Mendelson, and the extraordinary team at the Division of Policy and Planning for their collaboration and work in creating this Guide. We also recognize the strong leadership of the Hon. Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, and the longstanding dedication of the Hon. Deborah A. Kaplan, the Chair of the New York State Judicial Committee on Elder Justice, in her continued pursuit of elder justice in New York.
This Guide presents the most up to date and user friendly guide of its kind, and we are confident that it will provide a necessary resource to Judges and other legal professionals interacting with older adults, including those who are experiencing abuse.
Joy Solomon, Esq.
Director and Managing Attorney
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Justice at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale