Saturday, June 18, 2016

NY lawmakers OK "Peter Falk's Law" for death notification

Legislation in New York named after the late actor Peter Falk aims to ensure that the relatives of people in guardianship are notified when their loved one dies.

ALBANY, N.Y. - Legislation in New York named after the late actor Peter Falk aims to ensure that the relatives of people in guardianship are notified when their loved one dies.

The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports ( ) that the bill would change state guardianship law to require the identification of those loved ones who need to be notified about a person's death or burial. The identification would occur when the guardian is appointed.

Falk, the star of the television detective show Columbo, died in 2011. His children did not learn about his funeral arrangements, however, because they were not notified by Falk's second wife, who had been appointed his guardian.

The bill passed the Senate Tuesday after passing the Assembly earlier this month. It now heads to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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NY lawmakers OK "Peter Falk's Law" for death notification

NC Nursing Home Resident Suffers Stage IV Bedsore Due to Proper Treatment Delayed




PLEASE NOTE: The following text is only a portion of the full report/survey submitted by DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES. The full report/survey can be found here.


Based on observation, physician interview, physician assistant interview, staff interview, and record review the facility failed to avoid delays in obtaining an order to test for [MEDICAL CONDITION] (C. diff), in changing pressure sore treatments for wounds which were not healing, in providing protein supplementation to promote healing, in scheduling a consult with the wound clinic for debridement, in re-culturing for [DIAGNOSES REDACTED], and in addressing leakage around a rectal tube for 1 of 2 sampled residents (Resident #346) reviewed for pressure ulcers.

Before the facility provided Resident #346 with wound clinic consultation/debridement on 01/15/16 the resident’s sacral pressure ulcer deteriorated from a stage I to a stage IV pressure ulcer, and the resident’s gluteal crease/buttock deep tissue injury (DTI) opened and deteriorated/enlarged into two stage III pressure ulcers to the bilateral buttocks.

At 1:57 PM on 01/29/16 the DON reported she observed all wounds greater than a stage II weekly even though it might not be with the Treatment Nurse. She stated there was a quick decline in Resident #346’s wounds. According to the DON, zinc barrier cream to the edges and surrounding tissue of stage III and IV wounds would be appropriate, but if there was slough in the wound bed, she would expect there to be a [MEDICATION NAME] agent used on it. She stated even though she observed Resident #346’s wounds she had not observed the Treatment Nurse perform wound care on the resident. The DON also commented even though it was unusual to find DTIs to the buttocks, they could form anywhere. The DON reported she could not explain why it took so long to collect a stool sample and check for [DIAGNOSES REDACTED] or why a stool re-culture was not collected as ordered on [DATE]. She commented the referral was made to the wound clinic because Resident #346’s wounds were not healing. She remarked when a physician order [REDACTED]. She stated she was not notified that there was any trouble getting the resident an appointment at the wound clinic. The DON reported every wound was different so it could be two days to two weeks before changing treatments if wounds were not healing. According to the DON, she was not notified that the rectal tube was leaking/seeping until 01/27/16 when the surveyor was making her wound treatment observation.

Personal Note from NHA-Advocates: NHAA shares with all the families of loved ones who are confined to nursing homes the pain and anguish of putting them in the care of someone else. We expect our loved ones to be treated with dignity and honor in the homes we place them. We cannot emphasize enough to family members of nursing home residents; frequent visits are essential to our loved ones’ well-being and safety. This nursing home and many others across the country are cited for abuse and neglect.

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See Also:
Nursing Home Abuse Advocates

Texas Denies Medicaid Coverage for an Autism Therapy

Photo by Braulio De La Cruz
Like many parents of children with autism, Braulio De La Cruz sought an expensive therapy called applied behavioral analysis — or ABA – when his son Noah Leonardo was diagnosed last year.

Noah, now 3 years old, qualifies for Medicaid coverage because he had been approved for Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and his neurologist sent paperwork to get the state to cover the therapy. But Medicaid officials rejected the request. Braulio De La Cruz appealed the decision, but that effort hit a major roadblock last fall when the state suddenly said the Medicaid program would not cover behavioral therapy.

Now De La Cruz and other parents — who say their children with autism are legally entitled to such treatment — are butting heads with Texas officials. And without Medicaid coverage, they must either forgo the therapy or find a way to pay for individual insurance plans that help pick up the costs.

De La Cruz has turned to an individual Humana plan to cover his son’s therapy. But it costs him $198 a month, a small fortune when he is watching expenses closely while preparing to go back to school to study nursing. And the cost goes beyond just the premium.

"The most difficult part is the deductible," he said. "It’s $6,500 – it’s pretty outrageous that you have to pay that before anything is covered.”

In addition, the effects of the Texas rejection of ABA coverage were compounded for many families by a controversial state decision to cut back on Medicaid payments for other home-based therapy services for children, including many that youngsters with autism might use.

Representatives for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission declined to comment for this story, except to say that Texas, like other states, is reviewing guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on this issue. Texas Sens. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, chair of the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee; Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, vice chair of that committee; and Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, also declined to comment.

Dan Unumb, executive director of the Legal Resource Center at Autism Speaks, a national advocacy group for families, said if federal officials don't weigh in, Texas families may have to turn to litigation to convince the state not to resist covering behavioral analysis. De La Cruz says he is considering a suit if the state doesn’t change it course.

“I don’t know if they’ll continue to draw a line in the sand, and I don’t know what steps CMS may be taking,” Unumb says. “My sense is that there’s many layers to things in Texas.”

A Federal Directive

In 2014, CMS advised states that they must cover medically necessary care for Medicaid-eligible children with autism up to age 21. Advocates say that includes therapies a doctor deems necessary for a child, including behavioral analysis, which uses positive reinforcement to encourage behavioral modification and can run from $60 to $150 an hour.

Some states – California, Virginia and Maine, for example – needed very little prodding to put policies in place. Others, including Ohio and Florida, did so only after being hit with court suits.

But Texas responded slowly. One of the advocates at the center of the debate is Shylo Bundy. When her daughter, who also qualified for Medicaid through the SSI program, was diagnosed with autism at 15 months of age, the toddler’s doctor prescribed 30 to 40 hours a week of behavioral therapy.

Medicaid officials denied the coverage. Bundy, an attorney, immediately put her law skills to work, spending months appealing, making phone calls and contacting legislators until she eventually got the state to reverse the decision. Bundy and her husband have traded off not working so that someone can be home to take care of their daughter. (Continue Reading)

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Texas Denies Medicaid Coverage for an Autism Therapy

Friday, June 17, 2016

Opening Our Eyes to Elder Abuse

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and Next Avenue joins in the effort to shine a light on this pervasive problem. 

An estimated 5 million older Americans are abused, neglected or exploited every year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. That’s a conservative number, the organization says: for every one case that’s reported, as many as 23 are not.

“Elder mistreatment is a serious public health issue, and merits the same level of response as child abuse or domestic abuse,” says Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., president of  The John A. Hartford Foundation and a researcher and authority on elder mistreatment and abuse, in a statement last week.

She urged all of us to increase our vigilance.

“In particular, health care, emergency services, social service, and law enforcement professionals, who are on the front lines, should use every interaction with an older person to screen for possible mistreatment,” she says. “One simple yet powerful way to do this is by asking the question: ‘Are you safe at home?’

That’s especially important with older adults who may be cognitively impaired or rarely outside of the presence of a potential abuser, Fulmer says.

Manifestations of Abuse

Elder abuse comes in many forms, including physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse.

Last month, Next Avenue published a series on abuse in the guardianship and conservatorship systems, finding that, despite decades of efforts, pernicious patterns have endured.

As the boomer population ages, the numbers of people affected by guardianship and conservatorship will rise tremendously, experts predict. With the stroke of a judge’s pen, an older adult can see his or her most basic rights stripped away. A family member or even a stranger appointed by the court will decide where they will live, how their money will be spent, what health care they will get, when they will go out and whom they are allowed to see.

Educating Ourselves

We urge everyone to learn about elder abuse and know the signs that someone may be being abused. 

We also urge the presidential candidates to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and offer their ideas on how to address the disturbing reality many older adults live with every day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is organized by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

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Opening Our Eyes to Elder Abuse

New law requires guardians to have guide

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine praised a new law that will put the Ohio Attorney General’s Ohio Guardianship Guide into the hands of all guardians overseeing adult and minor wards in the state.

House Bill 50, approved by the Ohio General Assembly last month, was signed into law by Governor John Kasich on Monday.

The law requires clerks of Ohio’s probate courts to give new and current guardians a copy of the guardianship guide, which was created by Attorney General DeWine in 2014 to reduce confusion surrounding guardianship in Ohio so that individuals are better equipped to serve as guardians or protect relatives under guardianship.

“The role of a guardian is very complex, which is why we created the Ohio Guardianship Guide,” DeWine said. “Those placed in guardianship are especially vulnerable and deserve quality care, and this manual helps guardians fully understand their roles and responsibilities.”

“Thanks to House Bill 50, all guardians will receive a copy of this guide in an effort to help protect Ohio’s families,” he added.

A copy of the Ohio Guardianship Guide can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) and Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City), also raises the maximum age for foster care and adoption assistance to age 21.

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New law requires guardians to have guide

Pennsylvania Stands United Against Elder Abuse

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack joined Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne, and Deputy Secretary of Banking and Securities Brian LaForme in a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event in the Capitol calling on all Pennsylvanians to stand united with communities around the globe to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

They were joined by Representative Hennessey, Majority Chair of the House Aging and Older Adults Services Committee; Karen Buck, Executive Director of the SeniorLAW Center; and Liana Walters, Executive Director of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee on behalf of Senator Art Haywood; along with protective service investigators from counties throughout the commonwealth who were recognized for the critical role they play in protecting older Pennsylvanians in their local community from all types of abuse.

"Elder abuse is a global societal issue which impacts the health and human rights of millions of older adults around the world," said Lieutenant Governor Stack. "Preventing elder abuse must not only be a part of the national conversation about how we care for older Americans, but it must also be a part of the commonwealth's plan to support and protect older Pennsylvanians." 

"Older Pennsylvanians have worked hard to raise their families, build our communities and defend our country in times of crisis," said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne.  "For their many contributions, they deserve to have access to a protective service system that is equipped with the tools needed to keep them safe from harm and neglect."

Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect. Signs of abuse can include unexplained bruises, burns or broken bones, lack of basic hygiene, access to adequate food, clean or appropriate clothing, unexplained weight loss, social isolation, changes in banking habits, or giving away assets without an apparent reason.

Anyone can report elder abuse by calling the 24-hour statewide elder abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505, or by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging. Pennsylvania law protects those who report suspected abuse from retaliation and civil or criminal liability; all calls are free and confidential.

Last year, over 22,000 cases of suspected abuse and neglect were reported to the Department of Aging's protective services program, which works with investigators from the state's 52 Area Agencies on Aging to protect older Pennsylvanians. Protective services are mandated by the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), which safeguards the rights of older adults.

For more information on how to prevent and report elder abuse, visit

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Pennsylvania Stands United Against Elder Abuse

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Judges find accounting irregularities, prompting review at Public Guardian.

 Monterey County resident James Green is what’s known as a “dependent adult,” someone with a medical condition along the lines of dementia or Alzheimer’s that renders him unable to handle his own needs. He is under the care of the Monterey County Public Guardian’s Office, the agency tasked with caring for those adults who through mental illness or medical issues are unable to care for themselves. Many of these people have no families, or families who are unable or unwilling to step up. The deputy public guardians tasked with looking after Green and those like him are supposed to ensure the client receives adequate medical care, food and shelter, and that nobody’s mistreating or taking advantage of them.

Green’s case was one of several recently flagged by a pair of Monterey County Superior Court judges who are questioning whether the Public Guardian’s office is doing its job, or just failing to do the strict accounting and paperwork required as a routine part of the job.

It’s resulted in an internal investigation at the Public Guardian’s office in which cases are being examined, accounting practices questioned and new checks and balances are being put into place.

In Green’s case, Judge Efren Iglesia issued an order on April 15 noting the Public Guardian had made errors in requesting fees. But he also noted the Public Guardian had only spent 4.5 hours on Green’s case over a two-year period.

One insider tells me 4.5 hours isn’t enough time to deal with Green’s bills, much less make sure he has proper care.

“The court wonders if the conservatee has been visited at all,” Iglesia wrote, “and finds this is not acceptable.”

Iglesia ordered more frequent visits, and plans to review the case in six months to make sure that’s happening.

But what launched the internal investigation began in February, when Judge Thomas Wills issued an order in the case of Richard Stanley Fleming, a successful agriculture inspector who was stricken by dementia and became unable to care for his own needs. Fleming was placed under conservatorship in 2005. Because Fleming had financial resources, the Public Guardian billed his estate for its time. (If he didn’t have resources, the office would charge a nominal fee at taxpayer expense.)

Fleming died in 2011. His case was still under review when Wills noted the accounting from Fleming’s deputy public guardian was seriously inaccurate.

What happened, apparently, is the deputy assigned to Fleming copied and pasted months of time records, typos included, as if they were new. There’s no implication of nefarious intent – just serious sloppiness that, at least in part, the Public Guardian attributes to a confusing change in software.

“The court finds this is a very serious matter,” Wills wrote. He ordered the Public Guardian to show why it shouldn’t have to return fees in the Fleming case.

Wills ordered that hearing to take place on May 13. Monterey County Director of Health Ray Bullick, who also acts as chief public guardian, filed a declaration and agreed to waive attorney and guardian fees in the Fleming case totaling $5,235.

Bullick revealed the Public Guardian’s office had launched the investigation, including an audit of time entries of all deputies. Each deputy carries upwards of 100 cases; the audit sampled 20 clients per deputy. Based on the audit results, Bullick said he was confident the accounting of other deputies happened properly.

Wills asked questions, listened attentively and then asked Bullick and Deputy County Counsel Cathleen Giovannini if they had their pencils ready.

Then he rattled off the names and numbers of five other cases, including Green’s, court investigators found that contained similar accounting errors.

Bullick tells me, “It’s basically a great reminder that as public fiduciaries, we need to have absolute accountability,” he said.

James Green, Iglesia noted, is unable to fill out a voter registration card. For those like him under guardianship, that accountability is the most important thing of all.

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Judges find accounting irregularities, prompting review at Public Guardian.

U.S. Attorney's Office announces new elder-abuse task force

 FRANKFORT, Ky. —The U.S. Attorney's Office unveiled a new task force Wednesday to protect seniors.

The announcement builds on the Kentucky attorney general's reporting of and protection from abuse.

The new effort will give prosecutors the opportunity to go after the strictest penalty for abusers.

"We are seeing a hidden epidemic," said John Kuhn Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

To combat the exploitation of seniors, Kuhn announced the Elder Justice Task Force in Frankfort on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Kentucky will be one of only 10 states with such a task force consisting of agencies like the inspector general, FBI and Health and Human Services, as well as the Attorney General's and U.S. Attorney's offices.

It's about more than just opening lines of communication.

"I'm greatly looking forward to it, because they may get information that's more of a civil case nature where we can bring that hammer down," Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said.

"Because we all have different tools. The state can bring, for example, recoupment actions, but they don't have a tool like the false claims act like the feds have," Kuhn said.

In March, Beshear expanded the elder-abuse hotline, taking calls around the clock.

Since that time, 65 cases have been or are being vetted, compared to just 56 all of last year.

He also instituted a scam alert email and texting system.

With more than 12,500 elder abuse and exploitation calls last year to adult protection services alone, the attorney general says more must be done.

"So what people can expect out of this partnership is that we will better protect and there will be greater consequences than we've ever seen," Beshear said.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear pushed through pieces of legislation during his time in office regarding abuse.

Andy Beshear said he intends to the same in the future, trying to close any legal loopholes.

To report elder abuse, call 1-877-ABUSE-TIP or text the words "KYOAG Scam" to GOV311.

To sign up for scam alerts through the Attorney General's Office click here.

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U.S. Attorney's Office announces new elder-abuse task force

Betting on Older Workers

Some organizations are recognizing the business benefits of attracting and retaining older workers, and are going out of their ways to hire and engage them, and make use of all they bring.

 Leaving her native Michigan was a nerve-wracking proposition for Peggy Wilson. She loved her job as executive assistant to the dean of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. But her husband had accepted a new position that required the couple to move to Richmond, Va.

It was the early 1980s, and the country was in the midst of a deep recession, so Wilson resigned herself to accepting any suitable job that became available.

On March 1, 1983, Wilson assumed the position of executive assistant to the executive director at St. John's Hospital, a small drug and rehabilitation facility run by Marriottsville, Md.-based Bon Secours Health System Inc. Within five years, she had worked her way up to director of human resources, but the hospital closed due to insurance-reimbursement issues after that, once again leaving her without a job.

Having grown to love the business of healthcare, Wilson accepted a position in the marketing department at St. Mary's Hospital, another Bon Secours facility in Richmond. Soon after, she moved into the organization's foundation office, handling community relations, including groundbreakings and grand openings of new facilities. Thirty-three years later, Wilson is still there, serving as director of donor relations and special events for the Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation. She loves her job and, at age 69, has no immediate plans to retire.

Wilson is hardly an anomaly. More than one-third of Bon Secours' 22,000 employees are 50 and older, and 244 of them are over 70. The not-for-profit Catholic health system has earned a place on the AARP "Best Employers for Workers over 50" list every year since 2003, and its leaders have shared best practices on the subject of working past the traditional retirement age with the National Governors Association, the World Aging Conference and others.

In June 2015, Jim Godwin, vice president of human resources for Bon Secours Virginia Health System, testified at a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing, examining the challenges and opportunities facing older Americans. He spoke about the importance of attracting and retaining older workers, and shared the stories of 89-year-old Virginia Abbott, who came to work for Bon Secours at age 60, and 81-year-old Nettie Coleman who, after nearly six decades with the health system, still works part-time, conducting physicals, drawing blood, and helping new employees. According to Godwin, Coleman "tried retirement for a few months, but her respect and her passion for her work drew her back."

Bon Secours is far from the only organization with an ample supply of older workers, but it's still woefully in the minority -- a problem compounded by demographics and a reluctance by employers to recognize the bottom-line benefits of this particular sector, says Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor professor of management and director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Indeed, demographic trends and survey data point to a definite graying of the workforce with no signs of letting up. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 55-and-older age group is the fastest-growing segment of the workforce. By 2020, the BLS projects, these seasoned individuals will make up roughly 29 percent of the population with a labor-force participation rate of 43 percent. By 2024, BLS projects, that group will comprise 24.8 percent of the civilian labor force, compared to 21.7 in 2014. Meanwhile, a 2015 Federal Reserve study finds 27 percent of Americans plan to "keep working as long as possible," while another 12 percent say they don't plan to retire at all.

"We tend to think this phenomenon of the aging of the population is a blip in the pyramid due to the baby boomers, but it's a global phenomenon that's not going away," says Ruth Finkelstein, assistant professor of health policy and management and associate director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University in New York. "Those employers [that] recognize this incredibly skilled, experienced, resourceful and dedicated [segment of the] workforce will be better equipped to deal" with future workforce demographics in general.

Given that older employees will comprise an increasing share of the workforce, employers must find new and innovative ways to retain and engage them, put their vast knowledge and expertise to good use, and help them prepare to make a graceful exit when the time is right. A few savvy employers have taken significant steps in that direction.

Exception-al Employers

While Bon Secours and other companies have been recognized for their efforts to keep older employees engaged in the workforce, they are the exception rather than the norm, Cappelli reiterates. In large part, he says, that's because companies are so focused on younger workers, they've become oblivious to what older workers bring to the table.

"Employers and HR people are so fixated on the question of millennials and how to court them that they are ignoring this other, bigger group of folks who actually are better suited to what they say they want, which are skills and experience, the right work attitude and the ability to communicate with people," says Cappelli, also co-author, with Bill Novelli, of Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order. "Older workers have all those things."

That fact hasn't escaped management at CVS Health, which endeavors to recruit and retain 50-plus-year-old colleagues through its mature-work program titled "Talent is Ageless." Currently, 24 percent of its workforce falls into that age bracket. Since the mid-2000s, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based drugstore chain has run a successful "snowbirds" program, giving pharmacists who spend winters in Florida and other Southern states the opportunity to temporarily work in a CVS pharmacy close to their winter home.

Such programs are intended to help retain highly experienced staff, who "play an integral role in the culture at CVS Health," says David Casey, vice president of workforce strategies and chief diversity officer. However, they are also part of a calculated strategy to staff CVS stores with employees who mirror their increasingly older customer base.

"We are committed to having a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers," says Casey. "As we see the baby boomer generation age, having staff in our stores [who] can personally relate to these customers is a differentiator for us."

According to Godwin, it's not a coincidence that nearly half of AARP's list of "Top Employers for People over 50" have the word "health" or "hospital" in their names. A vast and growing aging populace, coupled with a shortage of qualified workers, particularly in the nursing field, have created a situation in which holding on to more seasoned employees isn't just about accommodating workers, it's about survival.

"It's a matter of necessity in order to be able to staff my hospitals properly," says Godwin.

With Age Comes Wisdom

Organizations are not merely turning to older employees out of desperation, but for the deep breadth of knowledge and expertise several decades in the workforce have given them.

"One of the biggest and most enduring reasons companies want to hold on to certain older workers is they have institutional knowledge that is very difficult to train [for in] someone," says Tay McNamara, co-director of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. "They know how to get things done, they know what channels to go through, and they seem to have this magic way with people because they've built up relationships over time."

Nowhere is that more evident than at the Bethesda, Md.-based National Institutes of Health, where 52 percent of the organization's nearly 19,000 employees are over 50. Its oldest employee is a 95-year-old biomedical researcher with a 70-plus-year tenure. Although the federal government allows early retirement after 25 years of service, just 6 percent of NIH staff choose to retire in their first or second year of eligibility. According to Beth Chandler, director of the workforce-relations division in the office of human resources, NIH staff "stay on well past eligibility," typically by "about six or seven years." That's good news for an organization in which people truly are the experts at what they do.

"We have some people who are so specialized, they may be the only person who does X, Y, or Z," says Chandler. "Across NIH, we've been working toward a better knowledge-management program, seeking to understand what they do, why they do it so well, and how they do it, so we can prepare for when they may depart."

Some of that preparation comes in the form of formal and informal mentoring through which senior employees not only impart their specialized knowledge and expertise to younger colleagues, but also demonstrate "being a professional in a professional environment," says Chandler.

At NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, more than one-third of its 17,000-person workforce is age 55 or older. Nearly 1,000 of them have been there at least a quarter-century and some are approaching a half-century with the academic medical center. The opportunity to draw upon their experience is not only key to educating the next generation of healthcare workers, it's a critical part of keeping older employees engaged, says Nancy Sanchez, senior vice president and vice dean of human resources and organizational development and learning.

"They are an important part of the workforce and we want to make them feel as though they are a valued member of the workforce by giving them opportunities to impart their knowledge to those who are new to the profession," says Sanchez. "Oftentimes, not only do they have the experience, but they have a level of maturity that sets a great example for how to deal with circumstances that may not be textbook."   (Continue Reading)

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Betting on Older Workers

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

NCEA: 12 Things That Anyone Can Do to Prevent Elder Abuse

Elderly Abuse: In Nursing Homes, It May Not Be The Nurses But The Residents That Commit The Act

Elderly abuse in nursing homes and other health care settings is a recognized problem, but it’s not as well understood as other types of abuse, such as domestic and child abuse. Tracking this type of abuse is especially difficult because the age of the victims and the prevalence of physical and mental disabilities makes it harder for them to report it. An estimated five million older Americans suffer from abuse, neglect, or exploitation each year. In order to solve this growing concern, experts are working on effective prevention strategies that require a better understanding of victims and perpetrators.

In a recent study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers set out to determine the prevalence of resident-to-resident mistreatment in nursing homes. Their findings show that one out of every five elderly people in these settings fall victim to abuse perpetrated by one of their fellow residents. The research team collected data from five urban and five suburban New York state nursing homes over the course of one month via resident and staff interviews, shift coupons, observation, chart reviews, and accident and incident reports.

The National Center on Elder Abuse outlines six common types of elder mistreatment: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Researchers from this study classified mistreatment as "negative and aggressive physical, sexual, or verbal interaction between long-term care residents that in a community setting would likely be construed as unwelcome and have high potential to cause physical or psychological distress in the recipient."

Around 20 percent of nursing home residents experienced some type of abuse at the hands of a fellow resident. Although verbal abuse was the most common form of mistreatment, there was also a high rate of physical aggression and even several cases of sexual aggression. While resident-on-resident abuse has received attention in the past, the authors say studies to determine its prevalence are few and far between. They hope this research will aid in the development of effective prevention strategies.

Because victims cannot always report elder mistreatment themselves, the brunt of surveillance relies on witness testimony and that means knowing the warning signs: Bruises, broken bones, abrasions, and burns are all obvious signs of abuse. Withdrawal from normal activities, changes in mood and alertness, and sudden depression could indicate emotional abuse. Bedsores, worsening medical conditions, poor hygiene, and weight loss may be the result of neglect.

Calling 911 is an obvious outlet for reporting elder abuse. Another option would be calling the Eldercare Locator, a public health service provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging. Not only does it provide an easy and effective method for reporting abuse, but it also helps older people and their families find trustworthy services.

Full Article & Source:
Elderly Abuse: In Nursing Homes, It May Not Be The Nurses But The Residents That Commit The Act

Group wants Vegas judge sanctioned for handcuffing lawyer

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A defense attorneys’ group wants a judicial oversight panel to discipline a Las Vegas judge for ordering a public defender handcuffed in court last month when she wouldn’t stop arguing to keep a client out of jail.

Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice accuses Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen of violating judicial rules of conduct and of demeaning and humiliating attorney Zohra Bakhtary during the May 23 encounter.

It also cites two other cases since December in which Hafen declared people appearing before him in misdemeanor contempt.

“Appropriate sanctions are required,” the organization said in its May 27 complaint to the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. “Punishing a public defender for simply doing what is required of her demonstrates a callous disregard for the defense function, the dignity of defense counsel and the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

Paul Deyhle, commission executive, confirmed receipt of the complaint, but said he couldn’t comment about it. He said it could take several months to investigate and report to the commission, which meets quarterly.

Hafen, a former prosecutor in the Nevada state attorney general’s office, was elected to the bench in 2010. He is up for re-election this year. Justices of the peace in Nevada hear misdemeanor cases and hold preliminary hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to move felony cases to state courts for trial.

Neither the judge nor attorney Lance Hendron, president of the 150-member attorneys’ group, responded last week to messages from The Associated Press.

Bakhtary referred questions to her attorney, Dominic Gentile, who said he intends “to set the record straight and to show that Zohra should not have been held in contempt.”

“I’m not out to get a judge,” said Gentile, a prominent Nevada criminal defense and constitutional lawyer and adjunct law school professor. He said he wasn’t a party to the commission complaint.

“The complaint is more than Zohra,” Gentile said. “It’s not in the best interest of Zohra or our firm to become part of the larger picture.”

A public hearing about the conduct of a sitting judge is rare in Nevada. Commission action can range from dismissal of charges to a public reprimand to banishment. Proceedings can take years. In March, the commission prohibited a former Las Vegas-area family court judge already convicted and imprisoned in a federal fraud case from ever returning to the bench.

Hafen has said he ordered Bakhtary taken into custody to teach her a lesson about courtroom decorum and etiquette.

Bakhtary said at the time that she was trying to get the judge to consider her argument before jailing her client.

A court transcript showed Bakhtary kept talking and the judge warned her several times that she faced being held in contempt for interrupting while he tried to rule in her client’s probation violation case.

With Bakhtary handcuffed and sitting with defendants in the courtroom, the man was sentenced to six months in jail. Hafen then ordered Bakhtary released from custody and told her to resume the court calendar.

“I think she’s learned a lesson,” the judge said.

The attorneys’ complaint notes that Hafen denied Bakhtary’s request after she was freed to summon her supervisor to the courtroom.

In December, Hafen ordered a man representing himself in a casino trespassing case taken into custody when he tried to invoke a 14th Amendment guarantee of due-process rights while questioning a witness, according to a transcript of that case. The man was released later that day.

In April, the judge ordered a woman who had been arrested on a bench warrant and held as a material witness jailed after an unspecified outburst in the courtroom. The woman was released two weeks later, when the defendant in the original case waived a preliminary hearing.

The commission complaint concerning Hafen is separate from a May 25 public protest signed by 12 board members of the 105-member Clark County Defenders Union.

It called handcuffing a public defender in Nevada unreasonable, unprecedented and improper.

Full Article & Source:
Group wants Vegas judge sanctioned for handcuffing lawyer

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BIG WIN! Judge Orders Investigation of Joliet Area Community Hospice in Matter of Chester Siniawski!

The family of Chester Siniawski caught a big break on 6/8/16, when a judge in Will County ordered that a new interim guardian be appointed for Chester to investigate what has been done to him at the Joliet Area Community Hospice. The judge, thus, removed Chester’s wife Marian as guardian and revoked her power of attorney. The judge then selected a guardian with experience investigating cases where older people or the disabled are abused. That new guardian is now on a fact-finding mission to get to the bottom of what has been done to this poor man.

The new interim guardian will speak with the Siniawski family and address their allegations against the Joliet Area Community Hospice. More importantly, the guardian is bringing in a new team of doctors to give second opinions and investigate why Chester has been administered death cocktails and why he has been starved while in the hospice. They are going to be reviewing all the charts, running new tests, and determining how to make Chester healthy (and not kill him). The Siniawski family hopes that the new guardian will remove Chester from that horrible facility entirely and take him to a hospital, where he will be fed and nourished and nursed back to health…instead of him being murdered, which is what was happening at the Joliet Area Community Hospice.

Court watchers report that the judge was very angry with both Marian and the hospice because neither of them could produce any records or documents explaining why Chester was being deprived of food and why he was being given a death cocktail to euthanize him. They stood there with no documents whatsoever that could support the positions they have taken that Chester should be starved to death and denied food because that’s just what Marian wants (and she doesn’t want him to be in a wheelchair, so death is better).

None of this “death is better” hooey sat well with the judge, who acted fast to bring in the interim guardian who will suss out the situation before a final decision is made on who will be in charge of Chester’s recovery once he is removed from the house of horrors that is the Joliet Area Community Hospice.

Chester is not out of the woods yet, but this is the first break that the Siniawski family has caught. With luck and prayer, Chester can be evaluated by new doctors and he should be taken to a hospital where Marian and others who hoped to starve Chester will not be able to harm him any longer. No doubt, the ghouls in that awful hospice are gnashing their teeth and clawing at the air, enraged they will not be able to snuff out Chester’s life as they had planned. Not today, Satan, not today.

Please continue to spread the word about Chester’s plight and also pray that the death cocktails that the Joliet Area Community Hospice have administered to Chester do not destroy his liver and kill him as they are intended to do. Chester needs to survive and have those toxic chemicals leave his body so he can speak and tell the doctors what the hospice and Marian were doing to him. Chester needs to get well enough to point fingers at the people who were trying to kill him and hopefully law enforcement will eventually listen. He needs to be able to once again say that he wants to live, just as he was able to do until 6/5/16 when the death cocktails started being pumped into this man to silence him.

Once Chester is on the mend, I hope and pray that the Siniawski family looks into holding the Joliet Area Community Hospice and Marian accountable for what they have done to Chester since April. No one should be starved to death deliberately in America just because a selfish person does not want to have to deal with him being in a wheelchair (and hospice staff are ghouls who allow such a thing).

Please keep praying for Chester. I firmly believe it is your prayers that brought this big win…and will bring other big wins in days ahead.

Full Article & Source:
BIG WIN! Judge Orders Investigation of Joliet Area Community Hospice in Matter of Chester Siniawski!

New Indiana Electronic Records Law

The Indiana General Assembly updated several Indiana laws into the digital age during the 2016 legislative session. The legislature updated existing laws in the Indiana Probate Code, guardianship statutes, the Indiana Trust Code, and the Power of Attorney Act to allow trustees, decedent's personal representatives, incapacitated people's guardians, and attorneys in fact appointed under powers of attorney to access and manage digital assets for the people they serve. The legislature also added a chapter to the Indiana Code to adopt the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. The whole piece of legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2016, and can be found online at:
If you think that you have no valuable digital assets, take a moment to think about what happens when you lose your cell phone or you have to replace or clean a computer that has crashed or been hacked. We are all becoming more dependent upon web and mobile applications to order prescription medicines, shop for Christmas gifts, and communicate with family and friends around the world. That dependence will only grow more comprehensively as we become more comfortable and familiar with cloud storage and online communications.

The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act says, "'digital asset' means an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest." The Act says, "'electronic' means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities." Thinking broadly about such matters, and imaginative person can expect digital assets to include photos, videos, records, and information contained in desktop computers, mobile phones, computer tablets, cloud storage, and every kind of social media website or application. Digital assets can include whimsical things like Facebook posts and more serious matters like banking records and medical records.

It would be easy for someone to assume that an attorney-in-fact, a trustee, a court-appointed guardian of an incapacitated person or a court-appointed personal representative of a decedent's estate would be able to access digital assets of the incapacitated person or deceased person. However, the right to access someone else's digital information is such a sensitive topic, that representatives of many national and international digital media companies like Facebook, twitter, and Google negotiated with Indiana lawyers and legislators during the legislation drafting process. The legislation will undoubtedly require revision and updates as problems in application of the legislation arise, but it is an important step to make digital assets more manageable and useful for everyone.

The part of the new legislation relating to the Indiana Power of Attorney Act as a whole new set of powers with respect to digital assets that attorneys can include in Indiana powers of attorney. Is important to update existing powers of attorney to incorporate the new language because a power of attorney that does not include the new digital asset powers may not be sufficient to allow an attorney-in-fact to manage digital assets effectively.

The new legislative changes to the Indiana Probate Code and Trust Code extend power to personal Representatives and trustees to manage digital assets. Those changes make it important to update wills and trusts to include language about digital assets.

As we began updating our wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to include new about digital assets, we found opportunities to refine our documents and make them much clearer and effective this spring. We encourage everyone to review their estate plans with experienced estate planning lawyers to make sure that their plans include all the latest language. We specifically encourage people to make sure that their powers of attorney reflect current and emerging issues in their lives as we recommended in our recent blog article entitled "Puny Powers of Attorney." Sure, existing plans may be good enough to do many things, but when you say "good enough," are not you usually trying to convince yourself of something that really isn't true?

Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers and Jeff is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator and was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.

Full Article & Source:
New Indiana Electronic Records Law

Wagoner County Man Arrested For Elder Abuse, Cruelty To Animals

TULSA, Oklahoma - A Wagoner County man has been arrested for elder abuse and cruelty to animals, officials say.

Michael Dean Sloan, 58, was taken into custody on Wednesday at the Days Inn in Wagoner.

Sloan’s arrest comes after his 79-year-old father, Robert Sloan, was transported by ambulance when he was found to be in poor health, living with 30 animals and unable to care for himself.

Sergeant James Carver said a neighbor called the department on Saturday, asking for someone to check on the elderly man. When deputies arrived at the home west of Wagoner, they found the man on the ground, barely moving.

An animal rescue brought in volunteers to care for the animals. Volunteers said they vomited when they approached the house.

"There was feces on the wall, the furniture, there's cockroaches and bugs everywhere, maggots everywhere," said Kadi Edwards, chairperson of WAGS. "It's a horror story."

In an affidavit of probable cause, police say Mike Sloan told them his father had been living in the house with all the animals for probably over a year. Sloan received a settlement check and moved out of the house and into a hotel with his daughter, leaving his father in the home, according to court records.

Robert Sloan was taken to a nursing home by adult protective services, the affidavit states.

Full Article & Source:
Wagoner County Man Arrested For Elder Abuse, Cruelty To Animals

Monday, June 13, 2016

Guardianship reform set to pass state Legislature, sponsors say

This is how it starts: An aging mother slides into dementia. Her adult children face mounting medical costs and difficult choices. They descend into bitter arguments over how to care for her. The siblings hurl accusations of mishandled money and abuse. Suddenly, the state court steps in and deems the children unfit to care for her – and declares the mother incapable of caring for herself.

In a matter of weeks, the court appoints an independent guardian. This person can control the mother’s life, finances and even medical decisions. The family has no control, no right to visit and no right to know what is happening with their mother. Under current New York law, her assets could be sold off, she could be removed from her home, placed in a nursing home, die, be cremated and buried – all without notifying the family.

If this scenario sounds like a nightmare, advocates of guardianship reform say it can be reality.

“These guardians are given total control over people who … are incompetent to defend themselves.

And nobody is watching,” said Elaine Renoire, president of the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse.

But advocates like Renoire are hopeful that changes are coming soon.

As New York’s legislators rush to pass their bills before the end of the session, advocates say they aim to send a reform bill through both state Assembly and Senate before the last legislative session day on June 16, amending guardianship law to provide notice and visitation rights to family members.

"I was really taken aback by the idea that somebody would be buried and their children wouldn't even have notice of the burial,” said Assemblyman William Magnarelli, a sponsor for the bill. “To me, you should at least be able to pay your last respects to your mother or father.”

While Renoire is careful to note that “most guardianship is working how it is supposed to,” reports of mismanagement, neglect and fraud by guardians have made it clear that there is a need for reform.
“We still don’t know what the percentage (of abuse) is, but one guardian can do a lot of damage,” she said.

The National Center for State Courts estimates that there are between one and three million adults in guardianship nationwide. Despite courts’ duties to keep careful tabs on guardians, a lack of funding and outdated court filing systems has resulted in spotty record keeping – leaving the door open for malfeasance, said NCSC lead researcher Brenda Uekert.

Advocates for reform say major flaws in the state legal system block some families from visiting their elderly loved ones. Aging New Yorkers deemed “incapacitated persons” by the court can be placed into the form of protective custody known as guardianship, which gives the guardian control over that person’s life and finances with the express purpose of protecting them. While guardians are required to file periodic accounts of their actions to the court, in practice, experts and reform advocates say, there is very little oversight or accountability.

There are two bills proposing to reform guardianship in the state Legislature at the moment. In a curious coincidence, each is backed by a daughter of a different American entertainment icon: Catherine Falk is advocating for “Peter Falk’s law,” named for her father, best known for his long-running television role as detective Columbo; and Kerri Kasem is advocating for the “Kasem Cares law,” named for her father Casey Kasem, the signature voice of music radio countdown programs for decades. Both women found themselves barred from visiting their elderly fathers due to restrictions they hope guardianship reform will remove.

The Falk bill (A3461/S5154) is the last best hope for guardianship reform this session, as the Kasem bill would not be read before the summer recess, Kerri Kasem and a legislative staffer confirmed. Legislators expressed confidence that the Falk bill will win the votes it needs this month.

State Sen. John A. DeFrancisco, the bill’s sponsor in the upper house, is bullish on its prospects of passing soon. “I think it's going to pass,” he said. “We're working on which bills get on the floor and I can't imagine that this will not.”

Magnarelli, the bill’s sponsor in the lower house, hedged when asked about advocates’ predictions that the Falk bill could pass this week: “Yeah! Could be this week,” he said buoyantly. “Exactly when that bill goes up to the governor? It could be December,” he chuckled, before adding: “I am hopeful it will pass both houses in the next two weeks.”

The bill adds language to New York guardianship law clarifying that family members should be able to visit the their loved one, be notified of any transfer into a medical facility, and be notified of their death, funeral arrangements and burial.

"Basically, it's a bill for wards who are in guardianship and they are being isolated and have terrible restrictions,” Catherine Falk explained. “When a guardian is not allowing a loved one to see a family friend or any kind of relative, this bill says that the guardian has to have a court order to justify withholding that. They can't just isolate them.”

As Falk’s father slipped into Alzheimer’s later in life, her stepmother refused to allow her and her sister to see her father or attend his funeral by using her power of attorney. And by requesting to visit their father in probate court, Falk faced the prospect that her stepmother might become her father’s guardian and cut off visitation entirely. As it turned out, Falk was excluded from her father’s funeral.

Had “Peter Falk’s Law” been in place in California at that time, Catherine Falk would not have had to battle her father’s guardian to visit him in the last months of his life. Now she advocates for reform around the country.

“This bill is a baby step,” Falk said. “A small step toward mankind respecting the fact that wards in these type of guardianships do have rights and should have their rights preserved and respected.”

But broader changes are still needed, she said.

”We really need to focus on wards already in guardianships because they don't have a voice. To focus on people outside of guardianships is really a catch-22,” Falk said. “We’re just adding more victims in the guardianship system that really needs to get fixed. We are basically just dragging people into probate court with all sorts of family issues."

Backers of the Falk bill said they hope to see it pass this week. After that, its fate is in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hands.

Full Article & Source:
Guardianship reform set to pass state Legislature, sponsors say

NYS Senate Passes Legislation to Investigate Reports of Elder Abuse

The New York State Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would investigate reports of elder abuse and maltreatment, which primarily comes in the form of financial abuse for unsuspecting elderly individuals.

"I believe in investing in programs that work and these multidisciplinary teams have proven to be incredibly successful in the short time that they have been up and running,” Senator Susan Serino, the sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “By providing access to these programs to seniors across the state, we are taking a major step forward in bringing the issue of elder abuse to light and ensuring that our seniors have access to the resources they need to enjoy their golden years free from harm and safe from abuse.”

Financial exploitation accounts for the fastest form of elder abuse, accounting for an estimated $2.6 billion per year to people aged 60 and older.

The Elder Abuse Prevention Interventions Grant Initiative supported a pilot program that used multidisciplinary teams to prevent that sort of abuse. The pilot program has shown positive results and has seen successful prosecutions of criminal cases involving exploitation.

The multidisciplinary investigate teams include representatives from law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, bank, physicians, mental health professionals and victim advocacy personnel.

The bill has been sent to the New York State Assembly.

Full Article & Source:
NYS Senate Passes Legislation to Investigate Reports of Elder Abuse

Change needs to happen to protect seniors from being abused

It was not just the fresh bruises on the 70-year-old patient’s arms and legs that triggered the doctor’s suspicions. The elderly patient had also shut down and averted his gaze when the doctor questioned him about them. His son also refused to leave the patient’s side, which caused the doctor to suspect that it might be a case of elderly abuse.

But there was not much that the doctor could do. He could not verify his suspicions, and he realised the elderly man might not want to complain as he was reliant on his caretakers.

This is the dilemma faced by family and primary care practitioners when presented with cases of possible abuse and neglect of the elderly.

“When it comes to children or women who suffer abuse, there are clear protocols and guidelines on how doctors should respond. But when it comes to elder abuse, there are none,” says Universiti Malaya (UM)’s Medical Faculty’s Primary Care Department lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Sajaratulnisah Othman.

Doctors are trained to handle child and domestic abuse cases but have no guidelines to follow up on suspicions of elder abuse.

They know, for example, that under the Child Act 2001 they are required to report any concerns or suspicions that a child may have been abused or neglected to child protection authorities, be it the police or social welfare officers.

However, it is not mandatory to report elder abuse.

The World Health Organisation defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.

Although under-reported, a study by Dr Sajaratulnisah and her colleagues in UM reveals an alarmingly high prevalence of elder abuse in Malaysia: up to one in 10 cases in urban areas and one in 20 cases in rural communities.

The Prevent Elder Abuse and Neglect Initiative (Peace) is a multi-disciplinary study by researchers from the university’s medical and law faculties which aims to measure and document incidence of elder abuse, determine risk factors, study the consequences and formulate strategies to deal with the issue. (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Change needs to happen to protect seniors from being abused

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Day in the Digital Life of Joe Isaac

“I almost cannot exist without a computer and the internet. I feel like I’d be in a Third World country if I didn’t have it.”
Joe Isaac was 70 when he started volunteering as a tech teacher at the Central Kentucky Computer Society, a nonprofit in his hometown of Lexington. Twenty years later he’s a mainstay. Lexington’s senior tech guru, Isaac demystifies computer use for some 30 older adults who come to class or tune in to his live stream the second Tuesday of every month.

When he’s not in the classroom, Isaac writes two blogs for CKCS that offer tips and how-to’s, along with a preview of the topics he’ll be covering in class. His May class covered a variety of topics, from how to use Cortana (Windows 10’s answer to Apple’s personal assistant, Siri), and how to tell which programs are open and configure your task bar most efficiently in Windows. Isaac also serves as local tech support: Students email him when they have questions or need help and he answers every one of them. He’ll even walk you through it by phone if that’s what it takes.

Isaac’s romance with digital technology started in the mid-80s, sparked by the wonders of a program he bought to help manage payroll for the Burger Shake that he and his cousin bought in the 50s when TVs came along and ate into the family’s live-theater business.

“CKCS was already up and running, so I joined them and learned a lot” Isaac told Senior Planet. “I got interested in Windows 95, mastered it and started teaching. Let me tell you something about CKCS, everybody works for free there, and I’ve never seen so many people work so hard for free in my life!”

Digital technology has come a long way since the ’80s and ’90s — and now that he’s retired, Joe no longer has to do payroll. What’s he doing on his computer these days?

We caught up with him at his home by phone on the eve of the Kentucky Derby and asked him.

How are you using your computer in your daily life?

I like to read the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper online. It saves trees and it’s magnified on my 24-inch screen, so I can read it more easily. The color is clear, the type is large. One of the things I do is when there’s an article about the University of Kentucky Wildcats, I send the article to myself, then forward it to my son in Portland, Oregon, and to students in my class who are fans of the [basketball] team.

After the paper, I read my email, and if there’s anything interesting, I’ll send it to the 20 to 30 people in my family folder. I check the weather, the latest TV news online, and I scan web cams. I love to see live scenes from different parts of the country.

Then I start working on my lesson plans. People don’t realize how much time you spend doing this. I love it, and I love to help people. When they have a problem with their computer, if I can help them it just makes me feel good.

When I get tired of brain work, I click on Spotify and listen to music — and I play online Solitaire at the same time. It relaxes me.

Any favorite sites or programs?

Spotify. It is the most fantastic program and it’s free! You get songs by whoever you like on there. My favorites are Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller and Big Band sounds. I’ve got almost 200 songs on Spotify, and I play them while I work on something else.

When I find out about new computer stuff, I tell my class about it. Like when you get on Google Maps, you can click on the three lines on the left-hand side — they call that symbol a hamburger — and then you click on Traffic and then click on Lexington. It shows me how traffic is, whether it’s heavy or not, and where accidents are. If you click on Photos in the lower-left hand corner, it will show you about 20 photos of Lexington.

There’s another program called Alarms and Clocks. You can set it so your computer alerts you at a certain time.

I also love Facebook, because that’s how I keep up with how my kids and grandkids are doing — and great-grandkids. Otherwise I’d miss half their lives. I don’t post, except to hit “like” or “love” on it. I just read what the kids are up to.

How important is digital literacy for seniors like yourself?

I think it’s so important. The main thing is, if you want to keep in touch with family — and elderly people have lots of family — you can send out an email to all of them in one batch to keep in touch with them.

Most people want to learn, and they like the computer once they get on to it. They can find out their bank balance, they keep in touch with people. There’s no disadvantages to it.

I almost cannot exist without a computer and the internet. I feel like I’d be a Third World country if I didn’t have it.
Full Article & Source:
A Day in the Digital Life of Joe Isaac

Spotting elder abuse topic of public forum in Anniston

New Calhoun Co. DHR director Sam Smith.
It can sometimes be hard to tell when the elderly are in danger from abuse or neglect, and harder still to know when to report those dangers, according to the director of Calhoun County’s Department of Human Resources.

Sam Smith, who leads the county's DHR office, which is responsible for investigating potential abuse cases, said Tuesday that to help educate the public on how to spot and report those dangers a public forum on elder abuse is to take place June 16 from 2-4 p.m. at the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources office at 415 W. 11th St. in Anniston.

“Not everybody knows that it even needs to be reported, when someone is living alone and they have no electricity, or maybe they're being exploited financially,” Smith said.

Calhoun County DHR is on track to investigate about the same number of reports of possible adult abuse, neglect or exploitation from last year to this year, according to the agency’s records.

Of the 334 investigations into potential elder abuse, neglect or exploitation last year by Calhoun County DHR 111 were deemed actual cases of abuse or neglect, according to the agency. Through April of this year the agency has investigated 38 actual elder abuse cases, just slightly more than during the same time period last year.

Statewide during the fiscal year 2015, workers investigated  8,078 reports of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation, according to Barry Spear, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Human Resources. So far this fiscal year the state agency is on track to investigate fewer such reports.

Smith said among the factors that contribute to elder abuse and neglect, poverty plays a large role, as does the continued fragmentation of modern society. Social workers often find older residents living without electricity or running water, or being exploited by those who are supposed to care for them, he said.

Years ago, Smith said, grandparents would move in with their families when it became difficult or dangerous for them to live alone, but that's happening less today, leaving those elderly to fend for themselves. Financial exploitation of elderly is a growing problem as well, Smith said, and it’s often committed not just by family members of the elderly, but by people from outside the home who may see them as vulnerable.

Smith said he hopes the public comes to the forum June 16 to learn how better to protect some of the most vulnerable among us.

"It's really sad to see them in what's supposed to be their golden years struggling that way," Smith said.

Full Article & Source:
Spotting elder abuse topic of public forum in Anniston

DHR educates citizens on Elder Abuse Awareness Day

On June 15 many businesses and individuals will don their purple ribbons in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

This is a day set aside to bring about greater visibility related to adults in need of protective services.

According to director of the Crenshaw County Department of Human Resources (DHR) Kristi Maddox, elder abuse, neglect or exploitation pertains to an adult 18 years or older who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

“A lot of people don’t think as much about elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, especially when they are thinking about DHR,” Maddox said.

“We also have a unit that is a supervisor to workers and it handles elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

Maddox also noted that many citizens are surprised to learn that most cases of elder abuse and neglect are performed by the family members of the elderly individual.

On this day, DHR asks businesses and individuals to wear their purple ribbons for recognition and community-wide awareness. In the weeks leading up to June 15, purple ribbons for business doors and individuals were distributed, t-shirts were sold and information packets were given to doctor’s offices and other establishments.

It is the hope of DHR that by educating the community of these occurrences will not only help the victims receive the help they need, but also potentially cut down on abuse cases.

Maddox also stated that at a recent elder abuse and neglect training workshop she attended, she heard that the state of Alabama is currently in the process of creating more adult foster home facilities.
“There are probably less than 20 in the entire state, but those homes are needed,” Maddox said.

“There’s a great need for that population of people to have somewhere to go when they don’t have family members to take care of them and they can’t take care of themselves.”

Last year, there were 8,078 reported cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation received in the state of Alabama. Sixteen percent of the cases reported involved abuse, 67 percent involved neglect and 17 percent involved exploitation. Maddox says that the numbers for Crenshaw County can reach about three or four reports a month.

Maddox said that the Crenshaw County DHR currently has about 45 adult protective services clients in the county. DHR assists them with needs they may have and also receives regular reports on their situations.

Some of those clients are currently enrolled in an adult daycare center, located in Rutledge and Troy, according to Maddox.

These facilities allow working individuals to maintain their everyday jobs while still providing the needed care for their family members.

Maddox hopes that more facilities like this can come to fruition in the future. DHR will be giving educational presentations at the Luverne Kiwanis Club meeting, local churches and at other local establishments up until June 15. For information on these presentations, contact Maddox at DHR at (334) 335-7000.

Full Article & Source:
DHR educates citizens on Elder Abuse Awareness Day