Saturday, July 18, 2015

Making White House Aging Conference's Ideas Reality

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) on July 13 was both alike and different from the five previous once-a-decade conferences. It was like them, because it broke new ground. And it was distinct in how it was pulled together and formatted, and in its array of results.

That it was held in July proved significant: It’s the same month we celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act.

The conference’s four priority issues — elder justice, retirement security, healthy aging and long-term services and supports — were appropriate focal points for setting policy for the next 10 years.

Yet, perhaps the most distinct thing was how it truly was a “White House” Conference on Aging, directed to an unprecedented degree by the White House.

One significant difference in the 2015 version: Instead of the traditional “delegate” format, there were five regional forums leading up to the national conference for 200 invited guests and more than 600 self-developed “watch parties” around the country registered to witness it live.

The results of the conference are also significant, including an impressive array of public-private initiatives (summarized in this fact sheet). In the aggregate, they will both improve existing aging policy and programs and  create new ways of improving the quality of life for people as they age. No fewer than 20 private-sector actions were announced at the conference. As they are implemented, they offer the real prospect to achieve positive change.

Policy Initiatives And Changes

Also, the policy initiatives announced by President Obama in his well-received remarks represent critically important directions for future aging policy. These include:

Retirement savings: Facilitating state efforts to provide workplace-based retirement saving opportunities through new rules from the Department of Labor.

Justice for victims: The U.S. Department of Justice will commit to train prosecutors from all 50 states to prosecute elder abuse and financial exploitation.

Food for the homebound: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new rule to allow SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps) benefits to be used for services that purchase and deliver food for homebound older adults.

Easy access to resources: The Department of Health and Human Services launched to provide older Americans and their families and caregivers a one-stop online shop for government-wide information and resources to help older adults live independent and fulfilling lives.

Supporting victims: Money will be directed from the Victims of Crime Act’s Crime Victims Fund to support social and legal services for underserved crime victims, including elder victims of abuse, financial exploitation, fraud and neglect. (Congress in 2014 voted to increase the funding from $700 million to $2.3 billion, dramatically expanding the amount available.) This action could direct an unprecedented new level of funding into elder abuse victim services.

Intergenerational Emphasis

Intergenerational activities were announced at the conference as well, including a partnership between the Surgeon General and the YMCA to “host intergenerational physical activity events during the first week of August to promote opportunities for young and older Americans to be active together.”, a nonprofit focused on leveraging the experience of adults in midlife and beyond to meet community needs, will be developing a national campaign to “mobilize older Americans’ talent to improve the prospects of vulnerable children and youth.”

Finally, one action which also reflects the changing face of aging was taken by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It issued guidance confirming that all HUD-assisted and insured multifamily housing must be made available without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

A Vision For Secure Aging

Collectively, these proposals and others announced at the conference have the potential to better frame a national aging policy for the future. The vision of future aging policy is to empower all Americans as they age to: achieve economic and health security, age in place and at home as long as possible, be free from the scourge of elder abuse and prevent becoming victims of ageism through discrimination in the workplace, health care, housing or in receiving services.

This vision recognizes and respects the changing faces and cultures of older Americans, from the dramatic increases in minority older persons to the increased presence and visibility of the LGBT communities of older adults. Finally, this vision includes a multi- and intergenerational community for Americans to grow old in, representing collaborations between younger and older Americans.

The prospect of real change emanating from this White House Conference on Aging is contingent, however, on full implementation of the proposals announced and other actions, such as reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, further implementation of the Affordable Care Act to strengthen Medicare, greater national attention to long-term care and ensuring that Social Security is strong now and in the future.

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging, like those before it, provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on something all Americans can relate to — aging.

Yet it is also about the opportunity for advocacy to affect change in aging policy and programs. The conference’s theme, after all, was “Empowering All Americans as We Age.”

The next decade, when the ranks of older adults swell as boomers continue to age, is a crucial time for programs and policies to adapt to meet the needs of this growing — and changing — population.

Full Article & Source:
Making White House Aging Conference's Ideas Reality

Groups awarded for elder abuse prevention

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 16, 2015) — Two community groups have received awards from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to help their efforts to stop elder abuse.

Kentucky River Council Against the Maltreatment of Elders (CAME) received a Public Awareness Initiative award for $400 and Big Sandy Elder Abuse Council was awarded $250.

CAME and Big Sandy are two of the state’s network of 24 Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse (LCCEAs), which covers 93 counties. The councils provide focused education to their communities to protect the elder population from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

CAME operates in Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry and Wolfe counties. In the past year, CAME has hosted a Senior Safety and Advocacy Day, sponsored a children’s poster contest and launched its annual prevention campaign, which included council representatives’ visits to area senior centers.

The Big Sandy Council includes Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin and Pike counties. Its work over the past year includes providing fans, brochures, posters and children’s coloring books with a prevention message to churches, businesses, health fairs and other events.

Big Sandy partnered with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund (AppalReD) for a Domestic Violence/Elder Abuse Awareness conference in October, and about 130 people attended. The theme of the meeting was that domestic violence has no age limit. Proceeds from a silent auction at the conference went to the Big Sandy council and AppalReD.

Kentucky received nearly 24,000 calls to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of people age 60 and older for state fiscal year 2014.

In Kentucky, reporting suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation is the law, and it’s confidential. The toll-free reporting hotline is 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331).

Full Article & Source:
Groups awarded for elder abuse prevention

Carthage man to stand trial on three felony counts

A Carthage man waived preliminary hearings this week in Jasper County Circuit Court on charges of financial exploitation of an elderly person, possession of a controlled substance and possession of burglary tools.

Associate Circuit Judge Joe Hensley ordered Ferman M. Yoder, 29, bound over for trial and set initial appearances for the defendant in separate trial divisions in the financial exploitation case on July 27 and in the case involving the drug and burglary tool charges on Aug. 17.

Yoder is accused of exploiting a 67-year-old Joplin man on an agreement to build the victim a machine shop more than a year ago at an address south of Joplin in Newton County. The defendant allegedly obtained a $1,000 deposit from the victim to buy materials and subsequently tapped him for two more deposits of $1,000 and $1,800 without performing any work, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Because the negotiations with the defendant and transfers of money took place in Carthage and Joplin, the charges were filed in Jasper County rather than Newton County, according to the affidavit.

The other case involves a traffic stop and arrest June 10 of this year near Stone's Corner north of Joplin. A Jasper County sheriff's deputy found Ferman in alleged possession of a bag containing crystal ice, or methamphetamine, two Xanax pills, a screw driver, gloves, radios, hand tools, flashlights, scope and reflective tape.

Full Article & Source: 
Carthage man to stand trial on three felony counts

HIPAA’s Use as Code of Silence Often Misinterprets the Law

How do people use, misuse or abuse Hipaa, the federal regulations protecting patients’ confidential health information? Let us count the ways:

 ■ Last month, in a continuing care retirement community in Ithaca, N.Y., Helen Wyvill, 72, noticed that a friend hadn’t shown up for their regular swim. She wasn’t in her apartment, either.

Had she gone to a hospital? Could friends visit or call? Was anyone taking care of the dog?

Questions to the staff brought a familiar nonresponse: Nobody could provide any information because of Hipaa.

“The administration says they have to abide by the law, blah, blah,” Ms. Wyvill said. “They won’t even tell you if somebody has died.”

■ Years ago, Patricia Gross, then 56, and a close friend had taken refuge in a cafe at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where Ms. Gross’s husband was dying of cancer. She was lamenting his inadequately treated pain and her own distress when a woman seated at a nearby table walked over.

“She told me how very improper it was to be discussing the details of a patient’s treatment in public and that it was a Hipaa violation,” Ms. Gross recalled.

■ In 2012, Ericka Gray repeatedly phoned the emergency room at York Hospital in York, Pa., where her 85-year-old mother had gone after days of back pain, to alert the staff to her medical history. 

“They refused to take the information, citing Hipaa,” said Ms. Gray, who was in Chicago on a business trip.

“I’m not trying to get any information. I’m trying to give you information,” Ms. Gray told them, adding that because her mother’s memory was impaired, she couldn’t supply the crucial facts, like medication allergies.

By the time Ms. Gray found a nurse willing to listen, hours later, her mother had already been prescribed a drug she was allergic to. Fortunately, the staff hadn’t administered it yet.

Each scenario, attorneys say, involves a misinterpretation of the privacy rules created under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. “It’s become an all-purpose excuse for things people don’t want to talk about,” said Carol Levine, director of the United Hospital Fund’s Families and Health Care Project, which has published a Hipaa guide for family caregivers.

Intended to keep personal health information private, the law does not prohibit health care providers from sharing information with family, friends or caregivers unless the patient specifically objects. Even if she is not present or is incapacitated, providers may use “professional judgment” to disclose pertinent information to a relative or friend if it’s “in the best interests of the individual.”

Hipaa applies only to health care providers, health insurers, clearinghouses that manage and store health data, and their business associates. Yet when I last wrote about this topic, a California reader commented that she’d heard a minister explain that the names of ailing parishioners could no longer appear in the church bulletin because of Hipaa.

Wrong. Neither a church nor a distraught spouse is a “covered entity” under the law.

Last month, Representative Doris Matsui, Democrat of California and co-chairwoman of the Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force, who has heard similar complaints from constituents, introduced legislation to clarify who can divulge what and under what circumstances. The proposed bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services, which last year issued new Hipaa “guidance,” to make that statement part of its regulations and to create model training programs for providers and administrators, patients and families.

“A lot of times it’s just misunderstanding what is and isn’t allowed under Hipaa,” Representative Matsui said in an interview.

So, what is and isn’t?

Family members can provide information, as Ms. Gray attempted to do. “How does keeping information confidential stop you from listening to someone?” said Eric Carlson, the directing attorney for Justice in Aging, a legal advocacy group in California. “There’s no Hipaa privacy consideration there.”  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Hipaa’s Use as Code of Silence Often Misinterprets the Law

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ex-official: guardianship system 'isn't that bad'

Elizabeth Diana Indig reacts

By Colton Lochhead
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Clark County‘s guardianship system, which has left thousands of elderly and mentally incompetent residents vulnerable to financial abuse, "isn‘t that bad," according to a man who has worked in "and financially benefited from"€” the system for over 35 years.

Three of the state‘s top judges don‘t share that view. They commissioned a Supreme Court panel aimed at fixing what they see as a troubled process that has seen some guardians drain hundreds of thousands of dollars from the accounts of elderly and mentally incompetent Nevadans.

Private Professional Guardian Jared Shafer caused an uproar during the 26-member panel‘s first meeting Wednesday in a courtroom at the Regional Justice System in Las Vegas. One woman shouted, "You used the money to pay lawyers!"

Many who attended the meeting stood in front of the group and explained that their family members who had been made wards of the county had been exploited by their guardians.

"The guardians are in control, and the family court is facilitating the fleecing of the wards by blindly rubber stamping anything they filed due to lack of personnel, time, research and oversight," said Elizabeth Indig, whose mother is in the middle of a guardianship dispute. "It should be that the court is in control and the guardians are the facilitators of the system."

Longstanding problems with the system that handles about 8,500 adult guardianship cases in Clark County each year were exposed in a series of Las Vegas Review-Journal articles published in April. Highlighted cases showed a lack of oversight by the courts, such as failing to require guardians to file annual accounts of wards‘ finances as required by state law.

Shafer appeared to take offense at comments about private guardians and also a Review-Journal article that highlighted the plight of one of his former wards, World War II veteran Guadalupe Olvera.

Those who have spoken out recently about guardianship issues are the "10 percenters who didn‘t get what they wanted," said Shafer, who was the Clark County public administrator and public guardian for more than 20 years before starting his private practice in 2003.

"I‘ve been doing this for 35 years," Shafer said. "And until a couple cases came up, there‘s never been a problem with the system."

After speaking, Shafer walked out of the court room.

Deputy Clark County District Attorney Jay Raman, who prosecutes most of the county‘s guardianship and elder exploitation cases, has seen evidence that contradicts Shafer‘s view.

Fees charged by private guardians, he said, deserve some focus. Statewide they range from about $40 to upwards of $250 an hour.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Ex-official: guardianship system 'isn't that bad'

Former county judge, lawyer sentenced on bribery charges

Angus McGinty (right) outside federal court Wednesday

(Photo: Matthew Craig)
SAN ANTONIO -- A former state district judge and an attorney were both sentenced to prison Wednesday as part of a federal corruption probe inside the Bexar County Courthouse. Angus McGinty, who resigned his position in 144th District judge in 2014, was sentenced to two years in prison. Attorney Al Acevedo was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

McGinty was indicted on 2014 on charges of conspiracy to commit federal bribery, one count of bribery, one count of extortion and 12 counts of honest services wire fraud. The indictment alleged that McGinty solicited and accepted bribes from San Antonio lawyer Alberto Acevedo Jr. over a nine-month period in 2013.
McGinty resigned on Feb. 14, 2014, a month before Acevedo plead guilty to bribery. In his plea, Acevedo admitted he engaged in corruption by influencing McGinty with things of value.

On Wednesday, a judge offered McGinty some time to spend with his family and serve his prison sentence after Christmas but McGinty didn't take it. He said he just wants to get his sentence over with. He said it's about moving forward now with his family.

"Forward. What we're enduring is nothing compared to what other families have endured. We'll be fine," said McGinty.McGinty thanked the people who supported him in the last year and a half. He also, thanked the judge who sentenced him and the remarks he made in federal court.

Full Article and Source:
Former Judge, Lawyer Sentenced on Bribery Charges

White House Conference On Aging 2015: Elder Justice

As you likely sadly know, elder financial abuse is a tragic problem in America. As Richard Cordray, director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said at the Elder Justice in the Twenty-First Century panel of the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA): “Older Americans all too often fall prey to financial exploitation.”

In a recent Wells Fargo survey of 1,005 investors, 32% of respondents said they know someone who has been the victim of investment scams or financial abuse targeted at the elderly.

What you might not know: “Only a small fraction of elder abuse is ever reported,” said Cordray.

White House Conference on Aging panelist Lynne Person, Long-Term Care Ombudsman at the Office of the D.C. Department of Health Care, said “often, victims are fearful of reporting abuse from a caregiver because the caregiver is the one they depend on for the activities of daily living.” Another panelist, James Baker, director of Law Enforcement Operations and Support at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, added that “often they are embarrassed or there’s no one there to help them ask for help.”

Panelist Elizabeth Loewy, a former prosecutor and now General Counsel and senior VP of Industry Relations at, an elderfraud prevention service, said: “We have blindfolds on with respect to the tsunami of elder fraud.”

The moderator of this panel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathleen Greenlee, who’s the administration’s de facto point person on elder abuse (“it’s in my DNA”) said: “It’s an outrage against humanity.” President Obama seems outraged, too. He railed against elder abuse in his morning remarks at the July 13th conference. It may have been the first time a president has ever mentioned “elder abuse,” Greenlee said.

Older people are attractive targets, Cordray and Greenlee noted, because they have money, homes or both; they may have impaired mental capacity and they’re often socially isolated.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
White House Conference On Aging 2015: Elder Justice

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Elderly LIers need friends and neighbors as guardians

If you live alone on Long Island without family nearby, or find it more difficult to shop, cook or pay your bills, it's likely that you will need a court-appointed legal guardian.

And those of us responsible for ensuring that you are protected are running out of people willing to serve as guardians for those who lack the private funds to pay for care. With an average of 300 guardianship applications annually in Nassau County over the last five years, and the over-65 population approaching a quarter of a million in the county, this is a looming crisis in elder care.

Under state law, a person can go to court and advise judges that someone they know can no longer take care of himself or herself or their property needs and may be harmed if a guardian is not appointed. If there is a relative or friend who can serve as guardian, we willingly appoint that person. But if there is no one available -- now a frequent scenario -- then it's up to the courts to appoint attorneys as independent guardians from an already approved list. They would be paid as guardians -- usually working four to five hours a month in a simple case -- from the person's funds.

Increasingly, however, there are no private funds from which to pay a guardian because the money of those who need the help barely covers their living expenses. As a result, more and more attorneys are dropping off the guardian list. Still, judges are legally responsible for appointing a guardian for a needy person.

The many cases that come before my court have some common denominators: In their own ways, people are incapacitated and need guardians to perform various tasks, including making serious medical and personal decisions.

Should an 83-year-old retiree widower in Levittown be trusted to live in a home where he believes his wife still lives? If a Long Beach widow has become a hoarder, should she be forced to sell her home and move to a facility? Should an 85-year-old man who never married be forced to have health aides four hours a day at his Franklin Square home if he objects?

The Nassau County Department of Social Services contracts with two private agencies that act as guardians for people who qualify for its public guardian program. The program is helpful, but it is much more restrictive than similar programs in New York City, and it doesn't accept anyone who is homeless, or lives in a nursing home, hospital or long-term care facility. But those individuals can have as many needs as those living alone at home.

Until we as a society give the neediest among us the help they deserve, the problem will only get worse. While there may be no one answer, there are several things that could be -- and must be -- done immediately.

Form a task force. Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatric and palliative care of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, has called for the creation of an expert group to begin to address the medical needs of the elderly in our area. Having also served as the Nassau health commissioner, she is uniquely qualified to head up the task force.

Get more funding. Nassau County government must increase its spending on the public guardian program while lobbying Albany and Washington to allow us to pay guardians out of an individual's Medicaid funds. We are no longer allowed to do that because the state does not consider guardians part of "medical care."

Kick off an education effort. We desperately need to educate the public -- at libraries and community centers -- about this impending crisis and get people to volunteer to become guardians for friends and neighbors.

A doctor once testified before me that from the day we are born, we begin aging. That process may be inevitable, but how we treat the neediest and voiceless in our society is not.

Let's do the right thing now.

Arthur M. Diamond is a state Supreme Court justice in Nassau County.

Full Article & Source:
Elderly LIers need friends and neighbors as guardians

Sparks Fly at First Nevada State Guardianship Commission Meeting

Fireworks today at the first meeting of the State's Guardianship Commission.

The newly-created panel was formed to help fix a broken system first exposed by Chief Investigator Darcy Spears. Contact 13 was there as things got heated.

"It's not the guardians you got to be aware of. It's more family members," said private, professional guardian Jared Shafer who went head to head with families who've accused him and other for-profit guardians of abusing power--exploiting those they're supposed to protect for their own financial gain.

"You used the money in their estate!" Elizabeth Indig shouted back. " get lawyers to prevent them....I'm sorry!. He started this!. Please!"

Shafer said the system isn't broken. He's pointing the finger back at families, saying they're upset because they didn't get their loved ones' money.

Indig has been fighting private guardian April Parks for years over a guardianship involving her mother.

"Using color of law she threatened me with prison if I interfered with her," says Indig. "Locked me out of the home. Took control the mail. Ignored the family trust and lost and or stole all of the assests of the trust."

Though emotions and tempers flared, public comment was welcome at today's inaugural Commission meeting, presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty.

"As many of you may know, following several news accounts addressing guardianship proceedings in our state as well as other information that the Supreme Court has become aware of."

The Commission's mission is to look at oversight and accountability within the state's flawed guardianship system and find ways to improve it.

The State Guardianship Commission will hold several more meetings to explore the system's shortcomings and is expected to come up with a final report of recommendations by December. We'll be following it every step of the way.

Sparks Fly at First State Guardianship Commission Meeting

From NASGA's Victim's Page: Louise Zahn, Wisconsin Victim

Imagine that you were the live-in caregiver of your Mother for 13 years.  Then Mom falls and breaks her femur bone and the Easter Seals Guardianship creates the following document to which you become aware on your first visit to the CBRF.

Upon returning at the requested specified time, you are escorted out of the Harbor CBRF by the Officers in Blue for no reason at all as one police officer hands you the RULES FOR LOUISE ZAHN ON ADMISSION 1/2/2014

What would you do?

NASGA: Louise Zahn, Wisconsin Victim

Popular blood thinner causing deaths, injuries in nursing homes

Lorna Finch lost her father, Loren Peters, right, when staff at his nursing home did not oversee his Coumadin correctly, regulators found. Her mother, Arleta Peters, left, died three weeks afterward. (Danny Wilcox Frazier/For The Washington Post)
When Loren Peters arrived in the emergency room in October 2013, bruises covered his frail body and blood oozed from his gums.

The 85-year-old had not been in a fight or fallen down. Instead, he had been given too much of a popular, decades-old blood thinner that, unmonitored, can turn from a lifesaver into a killer.

“My goodness, I’ve never seen anything like it,” recalled Lorna Finch, Peters’s daughter, of the ugly purple bruise that sprawled from the middle of her father’s stomach to his hip. “It was just awful.”

Peters took Coumadin at his Marshalltown, Iowa, nursing home because he had an abnormal heart rhythm, which increases the risk of stroke. It’s a common precaution, but the drug must be carefully calibrated: too much, and you can bleed uncontrollably; too little, and you can develop life-threatening clots.

When nursing homes fail to maintain this delicate balance, it puts patients in danger. From 2011 to 2014, at least 165 nursing home residents were hospitalized or died after errors involving Coumadin or its generic version, warfarin, a ProPublica analysis of government inspection reports shows. Studies suggest there are thousands more injuries every year that are never investigated by the government.

“It’s an insidious problem,” said Rod Baird, president of Geriatric Practice Management, a firm that creates electronic health records for physicians working in long-term care facilities. Because it’s so easy to get wrong, “Coumadin is the most dangerous drug in America.”

Nursing homes around the country are routinely cited for lapses that imperil residents, from letting those with dementia wander off to not stopping elders from choking on their food. For years, advocates, researchers and government officials have worried about the overuse of anti­psychotic medications that can put elderly patients into a stupor and increase their risk of life-threatening falls. A national initiative helped reduce the use of such drugs among long-term nursing home residents by 20 percent between the end of 2011 and the end of 2014.

But the dangers of the widely used Coumadin have drawn relatively little scrutiny, perhaps because the drug has clear benefits. Still, improper use has caused some patients incalculable suffering and, in some cases, greatly hastened deaths.

Dolores Huss, an 89-year-old grandmother of eight, died from internal bleeding after a San Diego facility gave her an antibiotic that multiplies the effects of Coumadin and then didn’t alert her physician that she needed additional blood tests to measure how long it was taking her blood to clot.

Shirley Reim, recovering from hip surgery, was hospitalized with blood clots in her legs after a Minnesota nursing home failed to give her Coumadin for 50 days in a row and also didn’t perform the blood test ordered by her doctor. She suffered permanent damage. Details of the cases come from government inspection reports and lawsuits filed by the patients’ families, which were settled confidentially.

Periodic inspections document hundreds of additional errors that were caught early enough to prevent serious harm, but the real toll is likely much higher, experts say.

A 2007 peer-reviewed study in the American Journal of Medicine estimated that nursing home residents suffer 34,000 fatal, life-threatening or serious events related to the drug each year. North Carolina data shows more medication errors in nursing homes involving Coumadin than any other drug.

Despite such evidence, Coumadin deaths and hospitalizations have drawn only limited attention from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that regulates nursing homes. Federal officials haven’t tallied Coumadin cases to see the full extent of the damage or identify common problems involving the use of the drug. Neither has the American Health Care Association, the trade group for nursing homes.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Popular blood thinner causing deaths, injuries in nursing homes

Need Help Caring for a Loved One? Here Are Tips for Finding a Professional Caregiver

Baby Boomers wear many hats: they're parents, workers, activists, enthusiasts, community organizers, and so forth. These are roles that Boomers have chosen. But there's a new role that they may not have banked on: that of a caregiver to an aging parent.

According to Institute on Aging, about 43.5 million adult family caregivers care for someone 50 years of age and over. Among them, 14.9 million care for someone with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
If you're a caregiver to an aging parent, you've probably found it to be a rewarding yet demanding experience. Oftentimes shifting some, or all, caregiver responsibilities over to a professional caregiver could be the right decision for both you and your loved one.

To learn more about finding and hiring professional caregivers, I interviewed Cliff Oilar, Jr., the co-owner and director of Back Home Senior Care, an Alameda, California-based non-franchised, family-owned in-home caregiving company.

Martha Laham (ML): Cliff, your company offers non-medical assistance to seniors. What is non-medical home care?

Cliff Oilar (CO): Non-medical services include personal care, which can include bathing, dressing, and bathroom visits; medication reminders; companionship; meal preparation; transportation to doctor's appointments, church, etcetera; and much more.

ML: What common full- and part-time caregiver services do you provide?

CO: We provide services on an hourly basis, with a minimum of three hours per visit. In addition, we offer overnight and 24-hour live-in care services when needed. The average service hours for our clients is between 15 to 20 hours per week.

ML: How much does it cost to hire a professional caregiver?

CO: The hourly rate for a caregiver in the San Francisco Bay Area is between $22-$28 per hour. Live-in rates range from $360-$400 per day, and constant care for a patient ranges from $560-$600 per day. These rates are determined by a patient's needs and level of care, and the specific region in which a senior lives.

ML: Are these services ever furnished in other settings like a nursing home?

CO: Yes, it is not uncommon to provide supplemental and respite care for a senior living in an assisted living, skilled nursing, or independent living facility. In some cases, the facility may be understaffed, or the family members want personalized care for a loved one.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Need Help Caring for a Loved One? Here Are Tips for Finding a Professional Caregiver

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


A Long Island elder law attorney has admitted to embezzling more than $797,000 from her clients over a four-year period, the Queens District Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday.

Martha Brosius, 52, of Brosius & Associates of Great Neck, appeared Tuesday before Acting Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty and pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud, according to a news release from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown's Office.

"The defendant has admitted to breaching her fiduciary duty and unjustly enriching herself at the expense of her client," Brown said in the release. Brosius was indicted for the offenses in 2013. Her clients included a 77-year-old man who had been deemed mentally incapable and for whom Brosius served as legal guardian, as well as two brothers who retained Brosius to sell their deceased father's estate and establish a special-needs trust for their disabled sister, who was the sole heir to the father's estate.

Brosius is scheduled to appear before Gugerty on Aug. 12 for sentencing. Gugerty has indicated that her prison sentence would range between four and 12 years. Brosius is a graduate of the St. John's University School of Law and was admitted to the bar in 2003. According to the Office of Court Administration website, she has not been publicly disciplined. Her guilty plea will subject her to mandatory disbarment.

Assistant District Attorneys James Liander and Yvonne Francis appeared for the Queens District Attorney's Office.

Full Article & Source:

Bullying of elderly, disabled subject of public housing bills

A group of state lawmakers and advocates for the Stop Bullying Coalition testify at the Statehouse on July 14, 2015 in support of a bill that would create a committee to look at ways to stop bullying in elderly and disabled public housing. (SHIRA SCHOENBERG / THE REPUBLICAN)

BOSTON - When Jerry Halberstadt, a seven-year resident of a public housing building in Peabody, arrived in public housing, he said he was bullied by a manager and a group of residents.

"It was do what we say, or we'll get rid of you," said Halberstadt, 79.

Bills pending before the Legislature's Joint Committee on Housing would create new committees to study ways to protect elderly and disabled public housing residents.

Halberstadt is an advocate for a bill that would create a committee to develop strategies to stop the bullying of disabled and elderly residents in subsidized housing. He and others testified Tuesday before the Legislature's Joint Committee on Housing.

Bonny Zeh, a disabled resident of a Somerville public housing apartment since 2008, told the legislative committee about enduring years of abuse at the hands of other residents - including threats, catcalls, obscene gestures and cruel jokes.

"For five years, I was... subject to a near daily dose of verbal abuse and bullying by six to 10 mostly elderly residents," Zeh said.

Kathleen Burke, a board member of the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants and past president of a Salem housing tenants association, said she witnessed and learned of multiple incidents of bullying by seniors and people with disabilities, including incidents escalating to bodily harm.

"My sensibilities tell me that having to legislate anti-bullying is ludicrous, but it's not," Burke said.

The bill, S.709, was sponsored by State Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, and has bipartisan co-sponsors.
"Elder abuse is something that should never, ever happen," said State Rep. Bradford Hill, R-Ipswich, a co-sponsor of the bill.

A separate bill, H.1094, sponsored by Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, would establish a task force to study how to ensure the safety of elderly and disabled people living side by side in public housing buildings.

DiZoglio filed her bill in response to a triple murder at a public housing building in North Andover in January. A resident with bipolar disorder was charged with murdering three elderly neighbors in their apartments.

Ellen Walker, who lives in the North Andover apartment complex where the murders occurred, said the murders sparked a "divisive atmosphere of us, elderly tenants, versus them, tenants with disabilities."

Kim Flowers, a social worker at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, who worked with a support group that responded to the North Andover murders, said a task force is needed to figure out best practices to ensure the rights and personal safety of both elderly adults and younger, disabled people living in public housing.

Full Article & Source:
Bullying of elderly, disabled subject of public housing bills

City attorney runs for seat of North Las Vegas judge facing recall

North Las Vegas City Attorney Sandra Douglass Morgan tried to get the state’s Commission on Judicial Discipline to act against Municipal Court Judge Catherine Ramsey.

A year and an investigation later, nothing has happened. So Douglass Morgan decided to take advantage of the recall against the judge and run for the position herself.

The recall election hasn’t been called yet, and Ramsey’s attorney said he plans to appeal a district judge’s ruling that the recall can go forward.

Douglass Morgan said she started Tuesday collecting the signatures she would need to make it on to the recall election ballot.

Ramsey’s attorney Craig Mueller said Wednesday that he was outraged about the news because last week Douglass Morgan was advising the city clerk during a court hearing where District Judge Eric Johnson ultimately ruled against Ramsey and deemed the recall valid.

“Every day I think my opinion of North Las Vegas can’t get lower,” Mueller said. “It’s the most basic conflict of interest.”

Douglass Morgan pointed out that she offered to leave the room where the clerk was testifying remotely, but the judge said she did not need to leave. Douglass Morgan also said she did not advise the clerk while she was testifying.

“I have a right to engage in the political process like any other resident if I choose to,” Douglass Morgan said. “I’d be interested for him to cite the actual rule that I violated.”

Ramsey is one of two Municipal Court judges in North Las Vegas, and this is her first term. Municipal Court handles small civil and criminal matters, and the judges are elected at-large to six-year terms.

Ramsey has argued the recall is political backlash for trying to protect court funding from being re-purposed by city officials.

She alleged that city Chief of Staff Ryann Juden threatened to send out a mailer of “half-truths,” saying “the ‘low information voters’ are not going to know the difference.”

Ethics complaints filed by two, now laid-off, human resources employees in March recounted a similar exchange.

Douglass Morgan said her motivations for running are separate from the recall effort and that she was personally frustrated by problems persisting with the judge.

“It’s been no secret that my office had issues with Judge Ramsey and I personally did whatever I could to enhance the system,” Douglass Morgan said. “I at least understand the people, and the climate, and the collective bargaining issues. At some point it became apparent to me that I could at least assist.”

Douglass Morgan said that her staff complained about how the judge treated them and that Ramsey’s courtroom became “a joke.”

More seriously, Douglass Morgan said Ramsey would recklessly dismiss cases and reduce charges.

A commonality between the politically juiced recall effort and Douglass Morgan’s formal complaint is Ramsey’s decision to charge legal expenses to her city purchasing card after Douglass Morgan told her the city wouldn’t be defending her in a wrongful termination lawsuit involving her former judicial assistant.

The city’s reason for refusing was because the employee claimed Ramsey had violated a promise she made during her campaign. As the promise happened before Ramsey became a judge, the city decided the legal spat wasn’t its problem.

Additionally, Douglas Morgan’s complaint accused Ramsey of recklessly changing charges and dismissing complaints and warrants out of spite. Ramsey has argued the warrants were invalid and a legal risk as the signatures weren’t updated to reflect the correct city attorney.

Douglass Morgan said she gathered all the evidence and submitted it to the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, but as it’s a year later and nothing happened after its investigation, she is assuming the commission felt it didn’t seem important enough.

Full Article & Source:
City attorney runs for seat of North Las Vegas judge facing recall

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

1-year term for former conservator who stole from vulnerable veterans

by James Eli Shiffer

On Aug. 10, Stephen Grisham will report to federal prison to begin serving a 12-months-and-a-day term for stealing from vulnerable veterans and others. The sentence, handed down Friday in Minneapolis by Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim, is half of the lower end of the presumptive sentence, of 24 to 36 months, that he faced when he pleaded guilty to misappropriation by a fiduciary.

Grisham may end up serving only nine months, if he behaves himself in prison. Yet it's quite a comedown for the former conservator whose reputation for integrity made him a go-to guy when other appointed decision-makers bungled the job. When he entered his plea last July, he said he used the money to feed a gambling addiction.

"They trusted me. They came to me in trust," Grisham told the judge. "I violated that in every way possible."

The revelation of Grisham's thefts and subsequent collapse of his company, Alternate Decision Makers, resulted in a costly mess as lawyers and court officials probed the scope of the damage.

Grisham has pledged to pay restitution as quickly as he can to the still-unnamed victims, whose benefits he was hired to handle. That figure has climbed to $157,961, although the figure would decrease because of a $1,000 check that Grisham's lawyer said he brought to court.

The potential for making victims whole persuaded Tunheim that Grisham would not abuse his relatively brief loss of freedom. "I don't feel the need to protect the public from further criminal action by you," the judge said.

"I want to wish you the best. I appreciate the commitment to pay these people back," Tunheim told Grisham. "I hope you've learned a lesson from this."

Full Article & Source:
1-year term for former conservator who stole from vulnerable veterans

See Also:
Former Minnesota Conservator Stephen Grisham Faces Federal Theft Charges

Lawyers Still Unraveling the Depth of MN Conservator Stephen Grisham's' Theft

Expert Offers Advice on Estate Planning: Why You Should Plan Ahead and What Can Happen If You Don't

If you've postponed doing any advance planning, such as organizing your records, making health care decisions in advance, or doing estate planning, you're not alone. In fact, about 70 percent of all American adults have done no estate planning, such as drafting a will, setting up a trust, or establishing powers of attorney.

Why is estate planning so important? What happens if you don't prepare an estate plan? To arrive at answers to these questions, I sat down for an interview with Attorney Heather Reynolds, an Alameda, California-based estate planning attorney. Her practice solely focuses on Trust and Estate Planning, including the preparation of wills and living trusts, powers of attorney for financial management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

Martha Laham (ML): Many people feel that estate planning is just for the rich. Is there any truth to this?

Heather Reynolds (HR): It doesn't matter how much money you have--avoid probate court. Who do you think is filling up the probate courts? It's not the wealthy. The wealthy can afford to hire lawyers to keep them out of the probate court. It doesn't matter how much money you have when it comes to health care decisions.

ML: So what happens if a person has a health crisis and is unable to make his or her health care decisions?

HR: If you don't have an Advance Health Care Directive, then the probate court judge will supervise your care for the rest of your life while you are deemed incapacitated. It's called a conservatorship. To learn more about the pitfalls of conservatorships, read The Con Game by T.S. Laham.

ML: In the same vein, what happens if someone can no longer handle his or her financial affairs, perhaps in the event of disability or incapacity?  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Expert Offers Advice on Estate Planning: Why You Should Plan Ahead and What Can Happen If You Don't

Muhammad Ali 'is a victim of elderly abuse and his wife is only concerned with his money' claims the boxing legend's brother

Muhammad Ali's brother claims that the 71-year-old boxing legend is being gravely mistreated by his wife because according to him, she is more interested in Ali's money than his well-being.

'I think [Lonnie] married my brother just for the money,' Rahman Ali told the National Enquirer of his sister-in-law. 'She talks to him bad. He doesn't even get fed properly. The last time we were together [for a July gala in London honoring Ali], he was so dehydrated. You could tell from his lips.' 

Rahman, who is younger than Muhammad by two years, said his brother is a 'prisoner in his own home.'

Muhammad Ali's brother claims that the 71-year-old boxing legend (left) is being gravely mistreated by his wife (right) because according to him, she is more interested in Ali's money than his well-being
Muhammad Ali's brother claims that the 71-year-old boxing legend (left) is being gravely mistreated by his wife (right) because according to him, she is more interested in Ali's money than his well-being

Rahman, who is younger than Muhammad by two years, said his brother is a 'prisoner in his own home'
Rahman, who is younger than Muhammad by two years, said his brother is a 'prisoner in his own home'

'His wife Lonnie and her family are draining him and there's nothing I can do about it,' he said. 'In my opinion. Lonnie's evil.'

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984 but remained active for many years and made a moving appearance at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games where he lit the flame.

However, he was seen looking particularly thin and frail at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony where he was helped across the stage by wife Lonnie.

Full Article & Source:
Muhammad Ali 'is a victim of elderly abuse and his wife is only concerned with his money' claims the boxing legend's brother

Monday, July 13, 2015

Arrest warrant application for Probate Judge filed in Magistrate Court

CONYERS - A new chapter in the saga between Rockdale County Probate Court Judge Charles Mays and former Probate Court worker Freya Pearson has just started.

An arrest warrant application seeking Mays' arrest was filed by Pearson in Rockdale County Magistrate Court Tuesday morning. She is accusing him of committing two counts of thefts of services, two counts of theft by deception and forgery, all felony charges.

Pearson is seeking about $20,000 she claims is owned to her from her time spent working in the Probate Court office from February 2014 to June 2014. During that time span, she says she was paid $2,500.

Nine months ago, Pearson, through her attorney Michael Waldrop, who also serves Conyers' attorney, filed for an arrest warrant in Rockdale County Superior Court on largely the same charges. All the judges in the county recused themselves from the case so it was heard by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Linda Hunter. During initial discussions at the April 15 hearing, Judge Hunter told Pearson and Waldrop that a case of this nature would best be handled in Magistrate Court.

Waldrop previously told The News, "[Magistrate Court is] better positioned to handle cases like this... She felt like it would be a better use of the court's resources."

The Superior Court hearing was put on hold after a question of conflict of interest arose regarding Waldrop serving as Pearson's attorney. Judge Hunter was to issue a written decision on the matter.

However, in May, the arrest warrant application was dropped in Superior Court and Waldrop told The News the Pearson camp would be filing for an arrest warrant in Magistrate Court to continue the fight in getting Pearson her justice.

Waldrop's announcement came after the Gary Washington, Mays' attorney, declared the situation between the two opposing parties over, since Waldrop and Pearson filed a motion to dismiss the Superior Court application for an arrest warrant against Mays without prejudice on May 5.

"It is over. It is finished. It is done," said Washington, during a press conference held at the Hawthorn Suites, 1659 Centennial Olympic Parkway, Conyers, on May 26.

""It's neither over, finished, nor done," Waldrop said at the time.

Full Article & Source:
Arrest warrant application for Probate Judge filed in Magistrate Court

See Also:
Accountability court effort led to legal woes for Probate Court judge

Mental Health Court Waiver Denied for Georgia Probate Judge Mays

Probate Judge Troubles Continue

Attorney for Rockdale Probate Court Judge Mays says case has been dismissed

Rolla man sentenced for scamming the elderly

ROLLA, Mo. - A Rolla man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for scamming the elderly.

39-year-old Joseph Perou pleaded guilty to two counts of financial exploitation of the elderly on June 4.

Perou had 12 prior felony convictions.

Perou exploited several elderly people starting in October 2014. He promised to complete construction work, but never finished the work and ran off with their payments.

He continued scamming new victims in an attempt to pay back previous victims, and was able to collect more than $50,000 before he was caught.

Full Article & Source:
Rolla man sentenced for scamming the elderly

3 indicted on separate charges of exploitation, injury to a child, retaliation

Lubbock County Court House
Lubbock County grand jury indictments Tuesday included charges of injury to a child, retaliation and exploiting the elderly.

Ladonna Johnson
Ladonna Johnson, 28, was indicted on a first-degree felony count of injury to a child with serious bodily injury and a second-degree felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Lubbock police investigators believe Johnson threw hot grease at her boyfriend, Toria Deon Ellis, during an argument March 11 at their apartment in the 2100 block of East Fourth Street.

The grease also struck the couple’s toddler, who suffered severe burns.

Officials said Johnson allegedly attacked Ellis with the pan that contained the grease.

Johnson reportedly fled the apartment but was arrested when she returned.

She was booked into the Lubbock County Jail and released May 3 on bond.

Joe Louis Landin
Joe Louis Landin, 53, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of exploiting the elderly.

Lubbock County sheriff’s investigators believe Landin tricked an 85-year-old neighbor into paying him about $10,000 for subpar home repairs.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Landin in June after the victim’s son reported the exploitation.

Landin remains at the Lubbock County Jail, where he is also booked on felony charges including theft and fraud.

His bond is set at $5,000 for the exploitation charge, according to jail records.

Full Article & Source:
3 indicted on separate charges of exploitation, injury to a child, retaliation

Sunday, July 12, 2015

T.S. Radio: Another Florida Scandal

Sunday July 12th TS Radio Hosted By Marti Oakley & Debbie Dahmer 6:00 PM CT

Debbie Dahmer talks about the latest scandal involving her fathers death as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. In a case that appers to have no end in sight when it comes to corruption, the death of George Dahmer continues to stun those involved. A recent court decision regarding a settlement, which should have gone to Mrs. Dahmer (Debbie's mother) is being siphoned off by attorneys and a forced, massive contribution to a bogus state agency supposedly existing to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect.

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Zsa Zsa Gabor's Contentious Conservatorship Put to Rest

The socialite only requires a general conservatorship to be established over her estate

Following a long and arduous battle between Zsa Zsa Gabor’s ninth husband Frederic Prinz von Anhalt and the actress’s recently deceased daughter Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton, the results of Gabor’s conservatorship case are in and the results publicly affirmed. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein has officially terminated von Anhalt’s ephemeral oversight of his wife’s finances and medical care, purporting that the socialite only requires a general conservatorship to be established over her estate. Her medical needs as well will be purveyed through an advanced health care directive.

In March 2012 Hilton, the socialite’s only daughter, contended that her mother needed a conservator, and explicated that von Anhalt was not a suitable choice for the position. She argued that von Anhalt kept her ill mother “increasingly isolated” and “heavily sedated” while Gabor’s Bel Air estate was in default concerning several missed mortgage payments. Nonetheless, following von Anhalt’s multiple refutations, alleging that he deserved access to his wife’s finances and could serve as a reputable conservator, a court later appointed him conservator with several stipulations. First, he was required to send all financial records to Hilton’s attorney on a monthly basis, and, second, Hilton was allowed weekly visits to see her mother without von Anhalt present.

Until January 5, von Anhalt served as the transitory conservator responsible for his wife’s financial personhood. When Hilton passed away that day after suffering a stroke, her death catalyzed von Anhalt’s complete retainment of the conservator position and eradicated all doubts pertaining to his competence. Von Anhalt was soon in charge of selling the couple’s $11 million home and handling the media coverage of the quarrel he experienced with Gabor’s daughter. Following the June 2015 ruling, however, Gabor’s husband will no longer head his wife’s estate or medical needs. The termination of his conservator status signifies an end all to a decade long dispute and a conclusion to Gabor’s personal financial crisis. 

Full Article & Source:
Zsa Zsa Gabor's Contentious Conservatorship Put to Rest

'I don't want to die alone' plea prompts Texas woman to help the elderly

Waco, Texas (CNN)Inez Russell grew up believing that everyone had someone to care for them. But in 1989, she learned that was not the case.

While visiting her father in the hospital, Russell heard a woman screaming. 

"I found this lady who was close to 90, and she was crying," Russell said. "She grabbed my arm and said, 'I'm dying, and I don't want to die alone. Please don't leave me.'"

That encounter led to another, then another. Russell began seeing firsthand the countless struggles faced by elders living alone. 

One woman lived in the dark because she had no one to change the light bulbs. Another couldn't remember the last time she had a meal. And Russell said many were taken advantage of financially, losing their money and their homes.

In the United States, more than 11 million senior citizens live alone. 

The elderly are often invisible and forgotten, especially with so many in nursing homes or living alone in their own homes. 

And it's a population that is growing fast. By 2030, one in five U.S. citizens will be 65 or older, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections. 

To help this frail and vulnerable population, Russell started Friends for Life. The nonprofit enlists advocates and friends for seniors in Texas who need a helping hand.

Since 1986, Russell and her group have helped 22,000 people navigate a variety of difficulties.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
'I don't want to die alone' plea prompts Texas woman to help the elderly

The Milestone Moments In Every Boomer's Life

Image result for free clipart music

If you were asked to select a song that defined your youth, what song would you pick? If you said Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" (1958) or The Beatles' "Hey Jude" (1968), you'd probably be a member of Boomers I or the Leading-Edge Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1955). Now if you picked Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" (1975) or Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" (1975), you'd probably be included in Boomers II or Trailing-Edge Baby Boomers (born 1956-1964).

Yes, the baby boomer generation is large enough to command two cohort groups. As a whole, baby boomers came of age during the early 1950s through the late 1970s. Let's take a glance at boomers' lives through a kaleidoscope of defining social moments.

The Golden Age (The 1950s)

In America, the 1950s was a period of unflagging optimism and economic robustness, following the dark days of the Great Depression and World War II. During this time, older boomers were youngsters and tweeners, most of whom were raised with traditional family values "as American as apple pie" and lived in family suburban homes with the proverbial white picket fence.

As kids, these boomers frequently congregated at a local soda fountain often housed in a drugstore like Walgreens. Going to the drive-in theater was a popular family pastime. The admission price was about one dollar per car, and popcorn sold for only 25 cents. Boomer kids were also transfixed by popular television programs of the day, such as Adventures of Superman, Lassie, and The Lone Ranger, which they watched on black-and-white TVs.

The Decade of Discontent (The 1960s)

You probably remember the 1967 movie The Graduate that captured boomers' zeitgeist of the time. In it, Dustin Hoffman played Ben, a rudderless college graduate. At Ben's graduation party, Mr. McGuire, a buttoned-down, middle-aged family friend, advises Ben on his future. Mr. McGuire said, "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Plastics." "Plastics" was a trigger word for Ben and boomers like him: it spoke to the phoniness in American society.

Many older boomers felt the same way as Ben. "Selling out" to the military-industrial complex, a broad term to include corporations and institutions that supported America's war machine, was not a future they could comfortably envision. Still, many dyed-in-the-wool hippies traded in their tunics for oxford cloth shirts and, ultimately, took jobs in Corporate America.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
The Milestone Moments In Every Boomer's Life