Eleanor provided legal representation, outreach, and policy advocacy to low-income elders with mental health diagnoses and cognitive limitations who suffer from abuse, exploitation, neglect, and self-neglect.
By 2030, people over 60 will make up 20 percent of the United States population. An estimated two million of these individuals will have severe mental illnesses. Elders with mental illnesses and other cognitive limitations are at greater risk for elder abuse and self-neglect, which can result in legal problems such as eviction, loss of benefits, and loss of adequate health and social services. This population is less likely than most older adults to have family and friends to assist them with daily activities and accessing services. Self-neglect and abuse are often not discovered until the resulting problems are severe. Through direct representation, community outreach, and education, this project will target elders with mental illness in Greater Boston who have been unable to access legal services.
Eleanor is the right person for the project because prior to law school, she worked as Assistant Manager in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities and as a volunteer in nursing homes. She also pursued a dual degree in social work and law with the goal of working with the elder and disabled populations.
During her Fellowship, Eleanor:
- Connect and build relationships with area agencies that serve the elder population
- Provide trainings to professionals on issue spotting, legal remedies, and referrals for clients
- Engage in outreach to the community on legal remedies for issues commonly faced by elders with mental illness
- Begin representation of clients