Disability Advocacy for Seniors: 5 National Organizations for Help

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The elderly population has been growing rapidly over a recent couple of decades and many statistics show that by the year 2030 over 70 million people will be over sixty-five years old.  As the senior generation continues to age, the need for more senior services and disability programs needed, including assisted living care becomes more prominent. Some seniors who stay healthy could independently take care of themselves; however, that is not the case for all people over the age of sixty and beyond. Many seniors fall into the cracks of receiving the necessary help for everyday living and health care from certain government agencies offering their services to the elderly. For instance, many politicians will fight for better public schools and programs for grade-school kids and young adults compared to advocating care to the elderly in retirement homes or nursing facilities where they need it most.  Therefore, there is a strong call for disability advocacy to be provided for seniors as they age. In the US, advocacy programs are becoming more prevalent and many organizations are working to help the older population find the resources they desperately need.  For example, there are some national organizations making headway in disability advocacy while offering services that help seniors nationwide. Here are just a few that have impacted the older population in a positive way.

1. National Council on Aging (NCOA)

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a government-run organization that partners with several not for profit organizations and both private and public sector businesses. The NCOA offers a wide range of resources for seniors and disabled individuals in the United States while providing solutions that can impact their daily lives. On their website, seniors can find over 2,000 documented resources for both the older population to explore, including information for caregivers and loved ones who may take care of the elderly. The organization also offers educational programs that seniors may benefit from and are available within their state. The programs or resources available to seniors may also help them take advantage of advocacy issues or concerns pertaining to policies. Senior citizens have the option to sign up for advocacy alerts, as well as staying connected to up to date changes on policy decisions that may influence their lives, including taking action within their community themselves. The NCOA has been working to improve the lives of over 40 million senior citizens and continues to make an impact on the future.

2. Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interest of the Elderly (CARIE)

 The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, otherwise known as CARIE, is a coalition, in combination of groups and individuals that are directly involved when called on by individual seniors that need help navigating senior care issues and work toward legal reforms that provide seniors with more rights and better protection. CARIE’s programs help assist seniors within the state of Pennsylvania by offering long-term care in specific cities in need, such as Philadelphia and other towns where senior care is the priority. The programs by CARIE also assess needs, identify service resources, and create connections that may be necessary to resolve any eldercare issues. The term advocacy can take on a different meaning in times when stressful situations have affected people’s way of living, such as during a global pandemic. As a result, CARIE provides the most reliable resources for seniors and disabled individuals, especially for those who may have been affected by the virus in some way.

3. National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

  The NCEA offers the most up to date information for seniors on research, training, medical advances, and resources on elder abuse, including elder neglect and exploitation of senior care. The mission that the organization stands for is to help all people, including seniors, to live independently as possible and explore the meaning of community living.  The NCEA also assists individuals with disabilities in participating in community events and other outreach programs. The NCEA was first established in 1988 by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) as a national elder abuse resource center. Despite that some changes have been done throughout the past couple of decades in reducing incidences of any elder abuse, there is a prominent issue that affects seniors. In addition, the NCEA works hard to provide educational resources that are designed to reduce the frequency of elder abuse is on the American people. The NCEA is just one of the 27 resource centers sponsored by the Administration on Aging.

4. Legal Advocates for Seniors and People with Disabilities (LASPD)

Financial hardships can affect almost anyone; however, it can really be burdensome for the elderly. The Legal Advocates for Seniors and People with Disabilities is an organization consisting of professional lawyers that are on a mission to help seniors and people with disabilities with whatever legal issues they may face, including needing help paying their monthly bills. The organization also focuses on helping seniors with issues such as dealing with threatening creditors or debt collectors trying to put claims on issues such as social security disability. The LASPD can protect the income from social security benefits, veterans’ pensions, and worker’s compensation, to name a few. LASPD also provides low-cost services that may not be prepared to handle legal issues on their own. The LASPD has helped over 10,000 clients in the past 15 years.  To get started, all you need to do is fill out an online application and provide the organization with information about your case.

5. Alzheimer’s Association

The last resource to share is the Alzheimer’s Association. This resource is one of the most significant recommended resources for seniors and their families to use. According to their website, the increase of senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s is in the millions, with more being added to the statistics each year. The Alzheimer’s Association has increased its advocacy efforts by creating better research, health care options, and policies that will make an impact on the older population community. The Association also plays a predominant role in advocating for patients who suffer from other illnesses or mental conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. As we see more people being affected by the illness, the organization works hard to ease the pain by helping seniors and families face the illness right on and offer hope.  Alzheimer’s is also considered the most common form of Dementia. Alzheimer’s disease can cause memory loss, comprehension issues, and behavior conditions.

Why is Disability Advocacy needed?

Advocacy is having the ability to speak for, act on, or write – on behalf of a disadvantaged or underserved person or group.  An advocate works to promote, protect, and defend the welfare of clients and bring justice to them.  There are numerous reasons why seniors need a disability advocate. Some seniors and disabled individuals are so isolated from family and friends that they have no support system and cannot handle the activities of daily living or specific needs on their own. Another reason may be the lack of confidence to speak up for themselves, finding it hard to receive the help they are searching for. Communication barriers may also be responsible for the lack of self-assurance in asking for help. interpreters may not be readily available in such cases.  Finally, seniors and disabled individuals may just need a disability advocate to have someone on their side, to know what they really need, and understand how they feel while still asserting their own rights while having their opinions heard.  Whatever the reason, the disability advocate is ultimately a friend to help seniors get exactly what they deserve. Check out our site for more featured articles and resources on senior care.

Who else can Benefit from Disability Advocacy?

Disability advocacy is available to any senior citizen or disabled individual that needs someone to represent them. Senior citizens are almost always going to need advocacy services. However, these services can benefit other individuals with disabilities that require assistance from an advocate and for their specific need or case. Some organizations that offer advocacy services require a referral. There are different types of examples of people who may need these services. One example is students entering college for the first time who have a disability.  They may need someone to advocate on their behalf to make sure accessibility measures are considered as they go from classroom to classroom.  Another example is those applying their skills to a specific job or trade yet may be confined to a wheelchair.  An advocate can make arrangements with the company or business owner to have accessible ramps in place or an elevator available for the worker to use while on the premises. Lastly, women who are disabled (physically or intellectually) are among those targeted as victims of sexual assault or abuse and may need a disability advocate to stand up in the courts to get retribution on their case from the assailant.   These are just some scenarios of who can benefit from a disability advocate. If you or anyone close to you needs a disability advocate for their case, you can contact these agencies or organizations listed above. Help is only a phone call away.

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