NY County Supreme Court Elder Friendly Court

First Elder Friendly Courtroom Comes to New York State in New York County Supreme Court Civil Branch

Portrait of The Honorable Deborah Kaplan in chambers with flag and bookcase in the backgroundThe Hon. Deborah A. Kaplan, in partnership with the NY State Judicial Committee on Elder Justice, and an environmental gerontologist, has created a courtroom environment which takes into special consideration the needs of older adults as well as others with special needs, thereby improving accessibility to justice. The New York State Judicial Committee on Elder Justice, which Judge Kaplan chairs, is a standing committee of the courts and is comprised of leaders and professionals who are dedicated to addressing issues affecting older adults.

A digital monitor has been installed outside of the elder friendly courtroom to welcome court users and provides information about the courtroom, including the name of the judge and part clerk, the part’s hours, a brief description of what is meant by guardianship (the courtroom selected handles primarily guardianship matters), where the closest bathrooms are located, as well as the availability of assisted listening devices, sign language interpreters, audio recordings, Braille or large print materials, magnification software and readers. In addition, the courtroom floors were de-glazed and new blinds were hung in order to reduce glare, as sensitivity to glare increases significantly with age. The carpeting in the well was removed and replaced with carpet squares which are more secure and the table edges were rounded. An automatic courtroom entrance door will soon be installed. A refrigerator is available in the courtroom for medications. The audio system has been upgraded as well.

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