Bradley Tritsch ’14 connects with clients as part of interdisciplinary elder care team
August 28, 2012
During his first week in the office, Tritsch had the opportunity to attend a HUD reverse mortgage training at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. “You see commercials for reverse mortgages on TV all the time. While the intent behind them is to provide a financial means that will allow older adults to stay in their homes, scam artists often target older adults who may be misinformed or do not understand reverse mortgages. The HUD training really opened my eyes. For example, in one instance where the victim was an African American, the DA prosecuted the abuser in the case as a hate crime. From a deterrent standpoint, that’s a big deal!”
One of Tritsch’s biggest challenges has been a legal research project involving a bill of rights for older adults to provide them with access to courthouses. “Since elder law is not really defined, there are a lot of grey areas. The list of rights deemed to be important were already established. What I had to do was back each of them up with individual law. I focused a lot on the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, what I have found is that the ADA and the case law that has come out of it only support maybe half the rights so I have to creatively find ways to support them by drawing from diverse areas of the law, both state and federal,” Tritsch explained.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my internship was the one-on-one client interaction, which included listening to how they felt that they were being taken advantage of, assisting them with their mail in determining important documents, and interacting with banks on their behalf to stem financial exploitation. It’s important that they know their voices are being heard.”
Founded in 2005, the Weinberg Center is the nation’s first comprehensive regional elder abuse shelter and provides a full range of health care and supportive services including legal representation. “The latest approach to addressing elder abuse is an interdisciplinary one, where a lawyer and a social worker or a geriatric care professional collaborate to help someone,” said Katherine Pearson, scholar of elder law and mentor to Tritsch.