May declared as Senior Citizens Month

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the Elder Justice Center. (PNC photo)

A proclamation signing to declare May as Senior Citizens Month took place Monday during the opening of a new center that will help our manamkos.

The Elder Justice Center in Mangilao will provide legal services and resources to the island’s seniors.

May was proclaimed Senior Citizens Month by President John F. Kennedy and was formally declared under the Older Citizens Act by Lyndon B Johnson.

With the opening of the Elder Justice Center during Senior Citizen Month, Public Health director Arthur San Agustin told PNC about the center’s benefits for the island’s senior citizens. San Agustin was also the former administrator for the Division of Senior Citizens.

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“This is really an opportunity for those who come to the division to also access the legal services program for them to be provided the legal assistance in terms of life planning, or in powers of attorney. It really provides an opportunity for our manamko and their caregivers to have a place, not in a private, law firm setting. In this division, you will also have the opportunity to be provided Medicare services and Medicare counseling,” San Agustin said.

He added: “The Elder Justice Center really is just a beginning. They really just planted the seed with the current passage of law just this morning. I see this really growing. This could be that central location for all of the existing mandates that affects seniors to be reviewed, updated and also to be going through these proposed bills to come through the Elders Justice Center that would affect the lives of seniors.”

According to San Agustin, the center will also be able to provide these legal services to seniors and their authorized caregivers quickly.

“The second part really is providing the opportunity for seniors and their families because we have that non-interruption of services and they can also now avail of the services. And when they have that, they know that there’s a provider there long-term that can address any potential financial abuse and even health care issues, they can deal with that as well,” San Agustin said.

Meanwhile, also during the ceremony, Bill 100, was signed into Public Law 36-19. The bill, authored by Sen. Amanda L. Shelton, authorizes the Public Defender Service Corporation (PDSC) to use federal grants to establish a long-standing program that would provide legal assistance to Guam’s manamko.