The Rothkoff Law Group is beginning our 20th year advocating for seniors and those with disabilities. When I first entered the field of elder law, I cannot say I had a particular fondness for the elderly. Rather, nearly twenty years ago, I envisioned elder law as a means to make a living in an area of law that would likely grow well into the future. Did I initially envision our practice including five geriatric social workers, receiving regional awards for health care advocacy, or bringing an expert on dementia care in the Netherlands to the U.S. to speak at our Elder Care Symposiums attended by over 500 health care professionals? There answer is no. However, what initially began as a means to support my growing family, has blossomed into my professional passion. I knew twenty years ago there was something about this field of elder law that would fulfill me in ways which I never could have imagined. As such, I became an “unintentional advocate.”

In the Rothkoff Quarterly these past twenty years, I have attempted to chronicle my experiences helping families navigate the legal, financial and care issues associated with the aging process. I have recently published a book fittingly titled, The Unintentional Advocate, in which I have chronicled my journey as an elder care attorney, the many lessons learned and the people I have met during this twenty year journey.  

I was recently asked if I have accomplished all of my professional goals related to advocacy for seniors. In some ways yes, in other ways, we have much more work to do. I realized relatively early into my elder law career that the law in isolation was not sufficient to help families navigate the long-term care process. Clients and their caregivers were coming to our office with typically more pressing issues than simply “protecting the money.” Issues such as how to convince dad to leave the home to keep him safe, how to best take away dad’s car keys, and how therapy can be maximized under health insurance coverage. I am very proud, as a result of our health care advocacy via our geriatric social workers, we have been able to improve the delivery of legal services for seniors in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.   

However, I recently saw an online advertisement for a long-term care billing and compliance company with an ad headline, “cut costs, boost profits.” Where does providing quality care factor into the equation? There are many wonderful long-term care communities in our area with very caring staff and dedicated management. Still, we have a great deal of work to do to improve seniors’ living conditions and provide better access to quality healthcare.

During the past twenty years, I hope the Rothkoff Law Group has made a difference in improving the lives of those we are charged to advocate for. I want to thank our dedicated elder care law team for their commitment to improving the lives of seniors, those with disabilities, and their loved ones. I also want to thank all of our clients and families that have put their trust in the Rothkoff Law Group.

I started my career as an Elder Law Attorney. The addition of healthcare advocacy in 2006 has allowed our Elder Law firm to transition from traditional elder law to an Elder “Care” Law firm. I have become an Elder Care attorney, a title I wear very proudly. The Unintentional Advocate chronicles my journey from an elder law attorney to an elder care law attorney. The journey will continue.