Arizonan Wins Award


Each year at the Joint Conference on Law and Aging in Washington, D.C., the Friends of Legal Services to Older Persons announces the winner of the prestigious Paul Lichterman Award. At the seventh annual Joint Conference last weekend, an Arizonan received the honor.

Anita O’Riordan, the Director of Elder Affairs of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, was recognized for her work on behalf of the victims of elder abuse. In particular, O’Riordan was singled out for her efforts to bring together doctors, lawyers, social workers, government administrators, police officers and victims’ family members to combat and prevent abuse.

O’Riordan has worked in the Attorney General’s Office for eight years. During that time, she and the office have been instrumental in securing a number of legislative changes, including creation of a registry of perpetrators of elder abuse, revision of guardianship and conservatorship laws and (in the recent legislative session) registration of private fiduciaries.

The Lichterman Award itself honors one of the national leaders in elder law.

Even before “elder law” was a recognized term, Paul Lichterman was nationally known for his advocacy of the legal rights of older Americans. Lichterman died tragically and at a young age; the Award was established in 1986.

Alzheimer’s Is/Is Not

From Legal Briefs comes a succinct summary of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s disease is not:

  • a natural part of aging
  • easily diagnosed
  • limited to the elderly
  • currently curable
  • covered by most government or most private health insurance

Alzheimer disease is:

  • a progressive, dementing, irreversible disease that attacks the brain
  • the fourth leading cause of death among adults in the United States
  • the cause of more than 100,000 deaths annually
  • a disease which knows no social or economic boundaries: it is found in all segments of the population
  • an emotional and financial nightmare for victims and their families”

Elderly Cultists?

Recent reports indicate that the elderly are increasingly likely to become involved in cult activity. The Older Americans Report newsletter asserts that cults are focusing more effort on nursing facilities, hospitals and senior centers. Estranged and/or lonely elderly residents may respond to the visits and friendship offered by cult recruiters.

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