The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Elder Law Task Force has issued a report with 130 recommendations to represent and protect that state’s senior citizens. For more than a year, the task force consulted on and studied the legal issues that have an impact on the needs and rights of older Pennsylvanians.
As a result of the task force study, the Supreme Court has approved the creation of the Office of Elder Justice in the Courts (OEJC) and an Advisory Council on Elder Justice to the Courts. At a Nov. 17 press conference, Justice Debra Todd, task force chair, presented some of the committee’s “bold” provisions:
- Recommending that judicial staff or court administration staff be available to answer a guardian’s question(s) or assist a guardian with completing forms, and that resources for guardians be centrally located on a statewide website that includes training materials, forms and instructions on completing those forms.
- Recommending changes to court rules to mandate training for all guardians, including but not limited to, family members serving as guardians.
- Recommending that the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts Judicial Education Department, with the assistance of the OEJC, develop an Elder Abuse Bench Book and conduct educational sessions for the judiciary on its contents.
- Recommending that the Supreme Court consider authorizing a pilot “elder court.”
These recommendations by the task force are meant to be practice models, encouraging leaders to become advocates and champions of change.