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Elder Law Newsletter: All I Want for Christmas Is an Advocate

Chambliss Law Firm Monthly Editorial – December 2018


All I Want for Christmas Is an Advocate

by Sally L. Brewer, Elder Law Paralegal

Are you a caregiver? If so, I understand your challenges and encourage you to keep up the good fight and to ensure your circle of support is surrounding you during this holiday season and beyond.

If you are not a caregiver, I encourage you to pay close attention to the caregivers in your lives. I implore you to take a moment to give thought to what caregivers experience on a day-to-day basis and to help advance their cause and the causes surrounding the care of the frail-elderly.

What our community needs now more than ever is elder advocates! A report from the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) titled, "The State of Aging in 2018," indicates "our state is entering new territory as we transition to a higher percentage of older adults and will face challenges we've never known."

In my role as an elder care paralegal, I find this is so true, and it's my responsibility to positively and proactively champion the interests of older Americans. Did you know anyone can be an advocate (a person who publicly supports a cause or policy)?  An advocate can be a friend, family member, neighbor, or anyone willing to be a liaison between a person of age and a service provider or arduous task.

In my work, the two primary factors I see creating the most vulnerability for the elderly are social isolation and cognitive impairment. In almost 60 percent of elder exploitation cases, the perpetrator is a family member. Educating the public on abuse is critical to prevention. However, with a little involvement on your part, a tremendous difference can be made in providing hope, help, and support for those living in a frail and isolated state.

There are many ways you can help advocate.

  • If you see something, say something. If you see abusive behavior or self neglect, be an advocate for the elderly and consider filing a report with Adult Protective Services. Even if you do not think your report is beneficial or the elderly person refuses help, each reported instance provides a catalogue of their story.
  • Perhaps you can help an older friend in vetting a professional provider needed for hire. It is easy to conduct an internet search to see if a roofer, insurance salesperson, or attorney has been reported for misconduct or license suspension.

Click here for a printable list of helpful resources.

Not sure where to begin your advocacy? I know of some little elves within our elder law team who are ready to fill your stocking full of goodwill and hope. Contact Sally Brewer (paralegal) for more information to celebrate the season of giving by becoming an elder advocate.