Advocating for Older Adults at BCCEAS
At BCCEAS we believe that a thorough initial interview is fundamental to the development of a plan for effective advocacy. For example, the information gleaned from a thorough interview allows us to assess any financial or housing choices in terms of that client’s likely future. Medical information including medical history may be important.
We keep in mind some practical concerns of working with older clients:
- Early morning appointments vs ‘sundown effect’
- House calls
- Good, indirect lighting
We keep in mind that some older adults are suspicious of lawyers, and may be confused or paranoid as the direct result of medication.
We are cognizant of the stress for our staff of working with older clients who, perhaps more than others, may:
- fear their own mortality
- feel anger
- regret their experiences and behavior, or
- regret the behaviour of their own children.
We keep in mind that it is important to be timely in working on these matters for older adults. Timely access is important to older adults with precarious or deteriorating health. Procedural processes that result in delays can work to systemically disadvantage older adults and may effectively negate their rights, including lengthy reviews or appeals. On the other hand, many seniors are systemically disadvantaged by the short time frames in areas such as RTA evictions. Death can make an elderly person’s problem moot. So it is urgent to get to elderly clients cases – we work on all of our files as expeditiously as possible. Older adult or their concerned friend/family member who seeks legal assistance usually need help now, not in the distance future or when it is convenient for the legal worker.