Human Rights of Older Persons

Wheelchair Accessible Chicago Beach Map Created

According to the United Nations’ Stockholm Declaration, “the natural [environment]….[is] essential to [man’s] well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights the right to life itself.”

A growing body of scholarship demonstrates the physical and mental health benefits of time spent in the natural world. There are particular benefits that seem to pertain to older persons, including persons with dementia.

Chicago is a city blessed with manifold natural resources including a world class system of parks and a forest preserve system more extensive than any other major US metropolitan area. However, major portions of this natural abundance are still inaccessible for people with mobility challenges, including many older persons.

As a way to begin making those resources that ARE accessible more widely known, I’ve created this map of Chicago Park District beaches with wheelchair accessible pathways to the water. Data from Chicago Park District. Please note: lack of maintenance may mean that some of these pathways are not accessible at all times.


Chicago Declaration on the Human Rights of Older Persons


John Marshall Law School and Roosevelt University collaborated  recently (July 2014) on the 2014 International Elder Law and Policy ConferenceThe centerpiece of this conference was the presentation of the draft Chicago Declaration on the Human Rights of Older Persons, which can be accessed here.

It is our hope that this is another milestone toward an eventual international treaty on the human rights of older persons, which we believe to be a much needed document, as the global population of older persons continues to grow, and the barriers to their full experience of their human rights persist.

We were also extremely privileged to present the Draft Declaration during the Fifth Meeting of the United Nations Open Ended Working Group on Ageing in New York on Aug 1,  2014.  The event is described more fully in our flier.