UMaine study focuses on older Mainers’ legal needs

Posted Oct. 25, 2010, at 5:14 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — A new study says the number of older Mainers needing legal services will outweigh available resources in the future.

The study by the University of Maine Center on Aging says up to half of all older adults in the state will need legal assistance in the next five to 10 years. Among low-income elderly, the percentage is higher, with 45 to 86 percent of residents in their 60s needing legal intervention to help solve problems.

“The need for legal help is only increasing as 200,000+ Mainers ages 50-59 will reach their 60’s this decade, bringing the total of those over 60 to over 460,000 by 2030,” the report concludes. “Although some older adults could certainly hire an attorney, without free or low cost assistance available, many other older Mainers who face legal issues that implicate their most basic human needs, things such as health care, housing, and safety, will simply go without the legal help they need.”

The nonprofit Legal Services for the Elderly and the Maine Office of Elder Services commissioned the study.

Jaye Martin of Legal Services for the Elderly says he hopes the study will help to guide the agency to those most in need.

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