Safe, Secure Seniors: Legal Services to Protect Older Nebraskans

Air Date: 07/03/2014

Many Nebraskans are being confronted with the challenges of protecting themselves and their loved ones from the threat of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. To provide protection for vulnerable older adults and to help older Americans with legal assistance on issues, the Older Americans Act was established.  It decrees that older Americans are entitled to certain basic rights and benefits such as income security, health care, consumer protection, defense of guardianship, and housing, and provides legal assistance on these priority issues.

Legal assistance is one of the priority services of the Older Americans Act.  In Nebraska, legal advice and representation is provided to those 60 and older with economic or social needs through our eight Area Agencies on Aging.  The area agencies on aging contract with private attorneys for these services or with Legal Aid of Nebraska to operate a hotline to provide legal assistance.  The area agencies on aging based on Lincoln, Kearney, and Hastings contract with a private attorney in addition to the Elder Access Line that is available statewide.  These legal providers help older Nebraskans with Advance Directives such as wills, durable, and health care powers of attorney, as well as other things like eviction notices, debt collection and government benefits.  The State Unit of Aging within DHHS also sponsors free law school clinics throughout the state the prepare Advance Directives and provide consumer credit counseling.

In Safe, Secure Seniors, legal experts will discuss some of the legal issues and point you to resources in your community to find help.  Moderator for the program is Mark Feit, Regional Director of Development of the Alzheimer's Association of Lincoln, and guests include Margaret Schaefer, Elder Access Line Attorney for Legal Aid of Nebraska, Mary Wilson, Attorney with the Buford Law Office, Judge Susan Bazis, J.D., of Douglas County Court, and Debora Denny, J.D., Director of Resolution & Special Court Programs of the Nebraska Supreme Court Administrators Office.