Friends of Yad Sarah Blog

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Yad Riva: Advocating for Israel's elderly

Yad Riva:  Advocating for Israel's elderly

Yad Riva was developed in response to the needs of older people overwhelmed by problems late in life. When the elderly are confronted with legal issues, they are frequently overcome by feelings of despair, helplessness, and anxiety. A range of legal problems may face an older person: abuse, money and property concerns, and family conflicts. Yad Riva also helps clients understand and access entitlements like improved health care and adequate living accommodations, all of which has a significant impact on the clients’ quality of life.

Due to the high cost of legal representation, disability, health circumstances, intimidation, and/or language limitations, many older people do not have the necessary means to access their rights. Yad Riva exists to provide an essential service that is out of reach for poor older adults in Israel, including people suffering from elder abuse. Yad Riva’s services are provided at no cost to the client. By providing free services, Yad Riva ensures that this vulnerable population has equal access to protection under the law.

The services provided by Yad Riva include:

  • Legal assistance in a wide range of matters including elder abuse, National Insurance, health and housing rights, labor and employment, and guardianship and inheritance laws
  • Legal representation in cases of abuse, financial exploitation, violence, and guardianship.
  • Legal assistance to the homebound in their own homes or assisted living facilities.
  • Legal assistance to non-Hebrew speakers in their own languages
  • Lectures in local communities for the elderly and for professionals.
  • Telephone hotline for older people and their advocates for quick responses to questions on rights of the elderly.

Yad Riva services are conducted by a network of over 100 volunteers (mostly lawyers) across 25 cities. Yad Riva’s volunteers respond with more than legal services; they offer compassion, patience, and emotional support.  Volunteers provide assistance in several languages, including Russian, Amharic, Arabic and English, insuring culturally-sensitive access for all older adults in Israel.

The participation and devotion of volunteers across Israel has made it possible for Yad Riva to reach thousands of people each year. Yad Riva now operates out of 21 different Yad Sarah branches, as well as in seven independent branches (in Tzfat, Ramat HaSharon, Chezel Modiin, Ramla, Kiryat Gat, Ramat Gan, and Kiryat Ono), which focus exclusively on cases of elder abuse. With 28 total locations throughout Israel, Yad Riva’s wide presence makes the program accessible to the entire population. Effective outreach and collaborative efforts enable Yad Riva to reach more people each year and help them realize their rights, reclaim their self-respect, and overcome abusive situations. 

Last year, more than 7,100 cases were handled by Yad Riva staff and volunteers.  Over 180 lectures and training sessions were held, reaching more than 5,300 older people and professionals in the field of aging.   

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