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Rural Health Information Hub

Legal Assistance

As people age, they should make time for advanced care planning in case of a future health crisis. Planning may involve one's finances, property, and possessions; who will make decisions if an individual becomes unable to do so (both for medical and financial issues); and an individual's healthcare and end-of-life care preferences. Advanced care planning is vitally important to aging in place well.

Elder Law

To help older adults with advanced care planning and other legal issues associated with aging, older adults may want to work with a lawyer who specializes in elder law. Elder law attorneys can help their clients with advance care planning, taxes, wills, and issues related to financing healthcare and long-term care. Their guidance on building financial security for retirement and estate planning are important factors to help older adults remain healthy and well in their home.


Financial exploitation is something older adults aging in their homes should be aware of. According to the National Center of Elder Abuse, approximately 5 million cases of financial exploitation of older individuals take place in the United States every year, but only about 4% of incidents are reported to authorities. A 2009 Consumer Reports article states that 75% of financial exploitation of financial exploitation of older individuals is caused by family members and or caregivers, often living under the same roof. Rural residents should be aware of issues of financial exploitation directly impacting rural communities and where to turn for help.

Resources to Learn More

Advance Care Planning
Provides an overview of advance care planning, types of plans, relevant terms and definitions, and links to relevant organizations that can assist with planning.
Organization(s): National Institute on Aging

Eldercare Locator
Identifies state and local resources for elder abuse prevention and legal assistance.
Organization(s): Administration on Aging

National Center on Elder Abuse
Provides the latest information regarding research, training, best practices, news and resources on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation to professionals and the public.
Organization(s): Administration on Aging