Nina Kohn Examines the Rights of Older Adults Alongside Changes in Decision-Making

Nina Kohn (’03), Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education at Syracuse University College of Law, was quoted in a New York Times Magazine article that asks: when cognitive decline changes people, should we respect their new desires? (“The Mother Who Changed: A Story of Dementia,” May 9). Nina stated, “The question becomes, for the older adult, what are the barriers to evolving, to changing your opinions, to forming new relationships? When you form these new relationships, does that trigger people trying to remove your rights? The answer is: In some cases, it does.” In particular, “decisions that seem atypical are going to be treated as suspect. . . . And all of those social biases are now being used to potentially undo individuals’ decisions while they’re still alive.”