Elder Law Program updates legal guide on issues about aging, caregiving

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Beverly Creamer, (808) 389-5736
Media Consultant, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Nov 14, 2014

Handbook cover
Handbook cover
A recent Marigold Experience workshop at the Law School Library.
A recent Marigold Experience workshop at the Law School Library.

The Elder Law Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law, located at UH Mānoa, has updated its indispensable guide to aging, including offering clear coverage of the many legal and medical issues involved.

The handbook, titled "Deciding What’s Next and Who in the World Cares?  A Legal Handbook for Hawaiʻi’s’ Older Persons, Families and Caregivers," is available free on O‘ahu through the Senior Helpline at the City and County of Honolulu's Elderly Affairs Division.

To make arrangements to obtain a copy, please call:

  • On O‘ahu – (808) 768-7700
  • On the Big Island – (808) 961-8600
  • On Mau‘i – (808) 270-7774
  • On Moloka‘i – (808) 553-5241
  • On Lana‘i – (808) 565-6818
  • On Kaua‘i – (808) 241-4470

Elder Law Program Director, Law School Professor and co-author James H. Pietsch said that the updated handbook is especially valuable for new caregivers uncertain about where to turn for help. The book also has an extensive resource glossary, including current phone numbers and email addresses.

“Folks planning ahead need to have sufficient information about incapacity, disability and, in general, growing old in America, so we wanted to provide some basic legal information and guidance,” said Pietsch.

This new edition of the award-winning handbook was prepared by Professor Pietsch and Hawai‘i Elder Law Program Administrator Lenora H. Lee.  Funded in part by the U.S. Administration on Aging, it was printed through a grant from the City & County of Honolulu Elderly Affairs Division.

“Many people don’t have a good sense about end-of-life issues, wills, powers of attorney, trusts, health-care coverage, elder abuse issues, and even hiring a care-giver,” continued Pietsch. “Very often, it’s thrust upon them very quickly and they need help in a hurry. We know a lot of people will look to it for crisis intervention.”

The handbook offers easy-to-read guidance through many areas of potential legal tangles for caregivers and for families in coping with an aged loved one. It includes updates on laws and data current to the fall of 2014. This is the fourth in the most recent series that includes “Deciding What If?” “Deciding Who Cares?” and “Deciding What’s Next?”

The handbook provides a broad overview of what families may be facing, but is not intended to be a substitute for personal legal advice, said Pietsch. He hopes families will turn to it before a crisis in order to plan ahead.

“We hope this will give them a roadmap to at least know how to get started,” said Pietsch.

Added Law School Dean Avi Soifer, “This handbook is merely the most recent example of the remarkable service that Jim Pietsch and Lennie Lee consistently provide to countless vulnerable members of our community. They do so in such a low-key way that they never seem to get the recognition they most certainly deserve.”

While focusing on legal issues around aging and caregiving in Hawai‘i, the handbook also explores and introduces some overseas resources. A series of recent workshops at the Law School, titled "The Marigold Experience," has brought together local and national experts to explore and discuss some of these options.

The UH Elder Law Program, under the leadership of Pietsch and Lee, has produced several series of similar handbooks during its 25-year history at the Law School, but this is the most extensive so far. The Elder Law resource center has also helped more than 10,000 people with legal issues involving aging, and also serves as a training clinic for students.

For more information, visit: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/