SeniorLAW Center Launches new fund: COVID-19 Fund for Older people

by Kristen Wilson

  • Posted on March 31, 2020

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SeniorLAW Center is on the front lines serving basic needs of low-income, isolated and vulnerable older people who are at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. Staff are responding to emergencies each day: seeking emergency protection from abuse orders to end horrific and often deadly family violence against older people, sexual assault orders, emergency custody for grandparents raising grandchildren who have been abandoned, abused or neglected, illegal lockouts, utility shutoffs, COVID-19 fraud, scams and exploitation, urgent health care decision-making and all forms of elder abuse, family violence and family crisis. SeniorLAW Center seeks justice for older people using the power of the law, educating the community, and advocating on local, state and national levels. SeniorLAW Center is the only nonprofit in Pennsylvania solely dedicated to protecting the legal rights of older people, serving almost 10,000 seniors each year. All of our services are free.

SeniorLAW Center is uniquely positioned to serve older people who are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis through its team of experienced nonprofit attorneys and advocates, and through our SeniorLAW HelpLine, a nationally recognized model of service, that is accessible to all older people in Pennsylvania through simple telephone access, keenly suited for this time of quarantine and isolation. Our HelpLine, including specialized numbers for each of the five counties and a toll-free number (1-877-PA SR LAW), has become the framework for services and through which clients reach us and legal staff respond to be a voice and advocate for the most vulnerable population impacted by this crisis: older people.

COVID-19 is deadly for older Americans, more so than any other group. The CDC has recently announced that 80% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths to date are older people, 65 years of age and older. Social distancing, although a proven answer to flatten the curve of infection has increased the devastation seniors face. Many are already deeply isolated. An AARP study compared the effects of prolonged isolation to those of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as recently noted in the New York Times. ‘I’m Really Isolated Now’: When Elders Have to Fight Coronavirus Alone: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/nyregion/coronavirus-elderly-nyc.html?referringSource=articleShare. Thus, in addition to addressing the legal crises facing older people during this pandemic, staff are pursuing a critically important health and safety checklist with all our clients to discern holistic needs: food, safe and habitable housing, urgent home repairs, safety or violence in the home, financial concerns, access to health care and medications, support for grandchildren in the home, and more.

For more information on the fund, click here.

For our COVID-19 resources page for older people, click here.

For important COVID-19 flyers in emergency areas of law, click here. 


About the Author


Kristen Wilson