Pa. Courts To Study Legal Problems Of Older People
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A new Elder Law Task Force will take up special legal issues faced by older Pennsylvanians, from their vulnerability to abuse and neglect to the ways in which the judicial system should change to accommodate their needs, state court officials said Thursday.
The 38-member task force held its first meeting this week in Harrisburg, and has about a year to study the topic and make recommendations for changes to court rules, new legislation and other solutions.
“Every Pennsylvanian is going to face this in one way or another, whether it's their parents, their loved ones or themselves,” said state Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd, who chairs the panel. “And we really want to do everything we can to keep our older adults safe.”
Among the issues being studied are guardianship matters, improving access to the judicial system and abuse – whether physical, psychological or financial.
“We've focused so much in recent years, and we continue to focus, on child abuse, because our children are a vulnerable population,” Todd said. “But our elderly are a vulnerable population as well.”
They are also a significant portion of the state's residents. Pennsylvania has about 2 million people who are at least 65, the fifth most of any state, and the fourth largest as a percentage of the total population.