2018 American Bar Association National Aging and Law Conference: A word from CCEL Staff Lawyer


6 December 2018

By Valerie Le Blanc

On October 24–26, 2018, CCEL staff lawyer, Valerie Le Blanc, attended the American Bar Association’s annual National Aging and Law Conference in Alexandria, Virginia. The theme of this year’s conference was Advocating for Aging with Dignity, with 30 workshops on a range of topics, and four plenary sessions “focused on how to put theories into practice.”

Workshop themes and topics included:

  • Guardianship, Solos and Independence: examining Minnesota’s approach to collaborative efforts in supported decision making, systems and services for older adults;
  • Recognizing Undue Influence: Tools for Law and Aging Professionals. This workshop introduced participants to some practical ways of identifying and investigating financial exploitation, and
  • Between Independence and Incapacity: Protecting and Advocating for Vulnerable Seniors: The Elder Rights Center’s Intensive Services Program provides training for service providers on how to respond to financial crimes and senior exploitation to protect remaining assets and income for seniors.

Plenary sessions topics covered the following:

  • The Elder Justice Coordinating Council in Action (National Center on Law and Elder Rights) demonstrated how representatives from the different federal agencies coordinate Elder Justice initiatives;
  • Practical Answers to Ethical Questions Arising in Elder Abuse Cases used a case-study approach to explore the issues and responsibilities involved in dealing with elder abuse;
  • The Elderlaw Clinic (Canada) & Eldercaring Coordination (US): Similarities & Differences in Effectuating Participatory Justice examined the evolving practice of using participatory justice concepts to resolve cases of elder abuse; and
  • Lightning-Round Plenary featured quick takes on critical issues.

A highlight from the conference that informs the CCEL’s work on the Inclusive Investing: Respecting the Rights of Vulnerable Investors through Supported Decision Making project was the workshop on the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship and Other Protective Arrangements Act. The discussion encouraged participants to consider how reforms to guardianship legislation across the country could facilitate the use of less restrictive options for decision making, including supported decision making.

An article featured in the September/October 2018 issue of the American Bar Association’s Bifocal journal provides more information on the conference.


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