Saturday, October 15, 2016

Citing Observer Report, Senators Vow Stronger Protection for Texans Under Guardianship

Rosamond Bradley
Texas House of Representatives
Rosamond Bradley testifies before the Senate State Affairs committee about her difficulty getting her guardianship case reviewed in Lubbock County. Office of Court Administration director David Slayton, right, asked lawmakers for more funding to examine guardianship records across Texas.

Hearing seeks solutions for courts’ weak safeguards for vulnerable Texans.

In the July issue, the Observer featured the story of Rosamond Bradley, a Dallas woman whisked away to Lubbock by her sons and placed under a court-ordered guardianship. Her son got the legal right to determine where she lived, who she saw and how she spent her money. Bradley had suffered a mental health crisis that prompted her sons to intervene. After recovering, she found herself unable to get the order lifted and her rights restored.

As in the vast majority of Texas counties, Lubbock has no staff dedicated to overseeing guardians to ensure they aren’t abusing or neglecting people in their care, or to check whether a guardianship is still necessary. For years, Bradley’s letters asking the judge to restore her rights went unanswered, and she remained under guardianship, even getting married secretly in Dallas in case the Lubbock court found the union invalid.

On Wednesday morning, Bradley recounted her story to a Texas Senate committee considering how it could keep people like Bradley from slipping through the cracks.

“The judge in Lubbock wouldn’t do anything about it,” she said.

Simply beginning to address this problem would cost Texas millions each year, but the senators sounded ready to spend it.

Over the past few months, auditors with the state Office of Court Administration (OCA) have been reviewing guardianships in seven counties to gauge the severity of the problem. The results, OCA director David Slayton told lawmakers Wednesday, have been “a little bit troubling.”

One-third of the cases they’ve reviewed are missing required annual reports on the condition of the person under guardianship. Nearly half of the cases are missing annual reports on how the guardian is spending the money entrusted to them. Forty-five percent are missing initial financial reports — without which it’s impossible to know whether the guardian went on to steal money later. In a quarter of the cases, Slayton said, judges waived the requirement that a guardian post a bond to guarantee they won’t run off with the money entrusted to them — even though waiving the bond is against state law.

In one case they reviewed, Slayton said, an initial inventory of the estate included an airplane but no longer does.

“How do you lose an airplane?” wondered State Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

“There’s no record of where that is now,” Slayton said.

In another case Slayton recalled, a woman living in New York was brought to Texas by her nephew, who secured a guardianship order over her, placed her in a nursing home and — according to his own filings with the court — began spending her money on truck payments, a refrigerator, gifts for family members and payments on two separate credit cards. The last report was filed seven years ago, Slayton said, and the guardian has since moved to Florida, where he has not been returning inquiries from the court.

The OCA review was part of a pilot program approved by the Legislature in 2015. Slayton told lawmakers it would cost around $3 million a year to expand the audit statewide and provide ongoing support for local judges. “What we’re finding is not that the judges don’t want to do this,” Slayton said, “they just don’t have the resources.”

Montgomery County Court at Law Judge Claudia Laird, one of the judges participating in the state audit, told senators there’s just no way she could keep track of the guardianships in her court and follow up in cases of fraud or abuse. “I can’t convince my commissioners to give me the staff that I need,” she said. “What you are asking the judge to do is to be a judge, to be an accountant, to be a social worker and to be a police officer.”

Even with the multimillion-dollar price tag, senators sounded ready to expand the OCA audit statewide. They discussed a draft of a bill from Zaffirini to do just that, and the only remaining question seemed to be whether counties’ participation in the audit should be voluntary or mandatory.

Committee chair Joan Huffman, R-Houston, figured it should be required. “We’re going to all be in agreement on that,” she predicted.

Slayton told lawmakers that only one county so far has refused to open its files to state auditors, though he declined to name it in the hearing and no lawmakers pressed him to do so. “Most places so far have voluntarily participated,” he said.

State Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, seemed especially riled by counties refusing to participate. “I want to make sure that every judge in this state understands that that court does not belong to them,” he said. “It is not up to them to say, ‘You do not get to come in.’”

Patrick Michels Rosamond Bradley with her husband, Jim Bithas. Bradley spent years trying to break free from a guardianship in Lubbock County, even after experts said she was fit to make her own decisions. After Bradley shared her story, lawmakers turned their questions to how capably Lubbock County has overseen the guardianships in its courts. What was the response, senators wondered, to Bradley’s letter-writing campaign?

“They ignored it,” she told them.

Bradley told senators that she credited Lubbock’s Office of Dispute Resolution and its director, Gene Valentini, with rescuing her case from limbo. “That’s where it all started,” she said.

As the Observer reported in July, Lubbock County had hired a court investigator, working in the county’s Office of Dispute Resolution, to review guardianship case files and coordinate in-person visits. The county cut that funding in 2013. Two days after the Observer’s story ran online, Lubbock County’s board of judges unanimously agreed “that Gene Valentini and [dispute resolution] personnel should not be involved in any form of guardianship activities or cases” unless ordered by the court, according to minutes from the meeting.

Asked why the panel made that decision, Lubbock County Court Administration Director Dean Stanzione explained in an email to the Observer that oversight authority rests with the judges, not Valentini’s office. “They were never given permission from the Board of Judges to oversee guardianship,” he wrote. Stanzione has yet to respond to a follow-up question about what prompted the judges’ decision in July.

On Wednesday, Zaffirini asked Slayton whether Lubbock County was also part of his audit.

“We’re working with Lubbock County right now to try to get in to assist,” he said. “We’ve reached out to them a couple of times. Currently we don’t have any agreement with them to go there, but that’s something we’d like to get.”

“I’d like to send them a message right now,” Huffman said, “that they need to let you come and look at their system. They can either do it on their own, or we can specifically mandate it to them through legislation.”

Full Article & Source:
Citing Observer Report, Senators Vow Stronger Protection for Texans Under Guardianship

See the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs Hearing of September 2016

8 Conditions Often Confused with Alzheimer’s Disease

There are few diseases more devastating than Alzheimer’s disease, a menacing condition that causes the slow deterioration of brain functionality and ends, inevitably, in death. Far too many people have already watched as their loves ones wither away and perish as a result of this hated disease.
However, it’s not the only condition that affects brain functionality. In fact, Harvard researchers point out that more than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It’s a potentially dangerous mixup that can be avoided by knowing more about these other conditions, so let’s take a look…

1. Several Infections

A number of different types of infection—most of them painful and annoying but rarely fatal—can be confused with Alzheimer’s disease. This includes urinary tract infections, skin infections, and lung infections like pneumonia. 

The problem is that all of these conditions can reduce physical functionality during the day and night, causing the sufferer to feel overwhelmingly exhausted and groggy. In certain circumstances this can lead observers to believe that the individual is suffering from some kind of mental deficiency or a condition like Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Medications

It’s no mystery that many of today’s most popular medications come with some significant side effects. These medications can affect both our mental and physical well-being in both positive and negative ways. Unfortunately, many medications—and particularly those meant to treat mental disorders, such as depression—often come with serious side effects that can make patients appear tired, both mentally and physically.

According to research from Harvard University, that’s why so many people often suspect that individuals taking powerful medications are suffering from some kind of brain disorder, such as Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why it’s important for close family members to be aware of the medications their loved ones are taking.

3. Dehydration

The key to beating the summer heat—aside from staying inside a place that’s air conditioned—is staying hydrated. Experts typically recommend that we drink more water during the hot summer months to ensure we don’t feel run down and unable to perform our normal daily activities.

That’s why dehydration is so often confused with dementia and disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, according to research from the Alzheimer’s Association. Dehydration can significantly reduce normal body functionality and can also negatively affect cognitive functionality. To prevent confusion, drink lots of water, particularly during the long, hot summer.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
8 Conditions Often Confused with Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, October 14, 2016

Elderly Couple Reunited After Forced to Live in Separate Nursing Homes for Months

An elderly Canadian couple has finally been reunited after being forced to live in separate nursing homes for more than eight months, according to their granddaughter.

The reunion, which was filled with "tears of joy," came after Wolfram Gottschalk, 83, and Anita Gottschalk, 81, were photographed crying in late August during a visitation a few months after they were first separated, according to their granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik.

"This is the saddest photo I have ever taken," Bartyik, 29, captioned the photo posted to Facebook.

At the time, Bartyik told ABC News she and her family had been pleading with Fraser Health Authority, which manages the assisted living residences, to allow her grandparents, who had been married for over 62 years, to live together.

Bartyik added that that she was worried her grandparents' heartbreak and stress "could literally kill them."

Fraser Health previously said that it had been working to get the couple together but space was unavailable.
"We certainly understand how heartbreaking this is for the family," Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma told ABC News partner CTV News at the time. "It’s upsetting for us as well."

But nearly a month later -- and after the heartbreaking photo of Wolfram and Anita had been shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook -- the couple's wishes have been finally granted, Bartyik announced on social media last week.

Wolfram was moved into the same facility as Anita on Thursday, Sept. 22, and the two were captured smiling, kissing and embracing in heartwarming photos and video Bartyik posted to Facebook.

"They can now be under the same roof for their remaining years, and we couldn’t be more grateful," Bartyik wrote in her post on Facebook. "They would like to thank Fraser Health for this reunion, and also the media for helping to get their story heard. They also wish to thank everyone around the world that liked, shared, or discussed their story."

The 29-year-old added that though her grandparents were now reunited, "the story isn't over" and that she would continue advocating for other couples separated by the health system in the British Columbia area.

Fraser Health cared "deeply about reuniting couples in long-term care as quickly as possible," Juma told ABC News in a statement today, adding that the health authority was happy to be able to reunite Wolfram and Anita.

Juma explained that Fraser Health had been working with Bartyik's family "for some time to ensure we were able to reunite their loved ones as quickly as possible." She added that health authority had "presented the family with options for reunification and they chose the option that suited them best until a bed became available at their preferred site."

"Couple reunification is a priority for us," she said. "This can sometimes take longer when individuals need different levels of care, and especially when families have a preference for a particular site. Still, we do everything in our power to bring couples together quickly."

Bartyik did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for additional comment today.

Full Article & Source:
Elderly Couple Reunited After Forced to Live in Separate Nursing Homes for Months

Boy with special needs poured in gasoline, set on fire

A young Texas boy is fighting to stay alive after being set on fire.

Kayden has special needs. The boy's mother says he was playing in a field with two other children, when one boy poured gas on him and another set him on fire.

Kayden has burns on more than 20 percent of his body.

The family plans to press criminal charges against the people they think are responsible for the fire.

Full Article & Source:
Boy with special needs poured in gasoline, set on fire

New Jersey Police to Be Trained on Elder Law Prevention

New Jersey Police are now being trained in elder law prevention, and over 140 officers in law enforcement from a variety of departments throughout the state were able to attend a two-day conference that was designed to teach them how to protect, as well as assist, elderly citizens in their communities. The hope is that elder law attorneys, such as those at Garcia Law, will be needed much less often for cases of abuse of seniors. 

What Was Taught?

The two-day conference that so many NJ law enforcement officers throughout the state attended was designed to effectively teach them how to easily and quickly recognize the various signs that are associated with the abuse of seniors. These include not only physical signs of abuse, but also psychological signs of abuse, and the signs of financial abuse of the elderly

The Conference

The conference, which is called the Elder Abuse and Exploitation Conference, was sponsored by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and it was held in early September at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville. 

Andrew C. Carey, who is the Middlesex County Prosecutor, stated that law enforcement officers from every one of the 28 police agencies throughout his county, as well as police officers from the Piscataway Police Department, attended the conference to learn what they could do to keep the elderly safe and to recognize signs of elder abuse. 

A Variety of Speakers to Learn From

There were over 20 guest speakers at the Elder Abuse and Exploitation Conference, and they were able to discuss a wide range of important topics that were designed to assist police officers and law enforcement officials in their ability to recognize abuse and help senior citizens. The goal of every talk was to teach the officers the many ways that seniors can be abused, from physically to financially, by the caretakers that they should be able to trust. 

Even though there were many talented speakers at this special event, the keynote speaker for the conference was Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood. He is from the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, and he is the leader of that particular agency’s own Elder Abuse Protection Unit, so he has a lot of knowledge to share to NJ officers who want to follow suit. 

A Twofold Approach

To combat elder abuse, and to tackle the financial exploitation of the elderly, police officers need to have two main goals in mind. The first would be to provide support, as well as identify the resources that are available to senior citizens and their caretakers. The second goal would be to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the individuals who commit illegal acts against the elderly when there are signs of crimes being committed. 

Ultimately, this conference was an engaging and educational one, and it is proof that New Jersey police officers will now be able to detect the signs of elder abuse much more easily and help senior citizens throughout the state get the help that they need and deserve.

Full Article & Source:
New Jersey Police to Be Trained on Elder Law Prevention 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Keeping a closer eye on PA nursing homes

Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pa. - The State Health Department released recommendations on Tuesday, aimed at improving the oversight of nursing homes in Pennsylvania.

The  department says past state regulations were designed to evaluate the quality of the nursing home facility, but did not fully account for the quality of life of the residents.The new recommendations call for changes in regulations and inspections to focus on the  residents' quality of life.

They also propose  more comprehensive and consistent surveys in order to evaluate the quality of life in nurse homes.

Health Secretary Dr Karen Murphy says the state will increase its use of fines as a way to improve care in nursing homes. They'll be based on several factors including the level of harm  to residents.

Full Article & Source:
Keeping a closer eye on PA nursing homes

Your Family: Abuse of Elders

Click for Video
CHAMPAIGN,Ill - Our family expert, Sheryl Bautch stops in to talk about elder abuse and the statistics behind it.

It is estimated that about 100,000 seniors in Illinois are elder abuse victims. Sometimes the abuse is intentional, while other times it occurs when a caregiver becomes overwhelmed. Anyone can report suspected elder abuse and services are available in our community to help.

Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an adult age 60 or older living in a domestic setting.  It can involve financial exploitation; physical, sexual or emotional abuse; or neglect (not providing for essential needs).

It is important to know that elder abuse can happen to anyone, and that anyone can be an abuser: It is not limited to any geographic area, or race, or income level.  However, statistically, most victims of elder abuse are women, over age 75, and with some physical or mental impairment.  And 80% of abusers are family members of the victim, most commonly those serving as the victim’s primary caregiver.

There are many causes, but a few of the most common include:

Caregiver stress: Many times a well-meaning family caregiver simply becomes overwhelmed or lacks the resources and skills necessary to provide the care.  Often these situations can be improved by arranging for in-home services, respite care and training.

Domestic violence grown old: Some couples have had abusive interactions for decades, and the abuse simply continues as the couple ages.

Dysfunctional abuser: Abusers may have a substance abuse or mental health problem and for that or other reasons are still financially dependent on the victim, which can often lead to financial exploitation.

Professionals are required by law to report suspected abuse within 24 hours if they believe the senior cannot make a report themselves. But anyone can make a report.

The identity of the reporter is always kept confidential. If the victim is 60 years of age or older, a trained professional will investigate the situation and will offer to intervene and provide assistance if that is needed. However, the senior has the right to accept or reject that offered assistance.

Where can people call for more information or to report suspected elder abuse?

They can call the state hotline at 1-866-800-1409 or, in Champaign and Piatt counties, they can call us at family service at 352-5100.

Full Article, Video & Source:
Your Family: Abuse of Elders

Transparency and protecting seniors from fraud

Based on a question in July from a reader about how to keep her elderly mother from getting scammed, I started a series on elder finances. In that July column, I emphasized the importance of transparency within “Mom’s team,” a group of family/friends and professionals selected by mom, ideally.

Transparency is the state in which team members can see what is going on with mom’s money in an appropriate manner. Duplicate statements can be sent on mom’s accounts to team members, for instance. These days secure, online access can be granted on a view-only basis. This is a handy way to allow team members to see what is going on but not exercise transactions.

View-only is a good step when mom wants someone to help her out by keeping tabs on things but wants to maintain decision making independently. When it is time for someone else to make decisions on mom’s behalf, transactional permissions can be granted.

Online access in general has a lot of appeal because geographically separated team members can get the information they need in a more timely and efficient manner than waiting for statements in the mail. If mom starts to engage in odd transactions like hitting the ATM more often or for more cash than normal, questions can be raised.

Everyone on the team doesn’t need to see everything and the attorney/client privilege is an important safeguard that must be respected but everyone’s activities should be subject to some level of review. Sadly, family members are actually the most common perpetrators of financial exploitation of the elderly.

Bernie Madoff was able to pull off his massive fraud largely because he controlled the supply of information. Had his clients’ assets been held by a third party that reported to clients independently, the odds he would have been much lower. He may not even have tried it.

It has been said that reputation comes from what people see you do but character reflects what you do when no one is watching. One sign mom has a good team is if its members welcome transparency or better yet, insist on it.

Full Article & Source:
Transparency and protecting seniors from fraud

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Haven Probate Court Postpones Decision Regarding Medical Information

A group of DDS clients and state employees
A court decision on whether the state or the mother of a disabled son should have control of the 51-year-old’s medical information was postponed Monday until a judge can decide whether the proceedings should be public.

The Department of Developmental Services filed a motion Monday in New Haven Probate Court to block the public and the media from the ongoing hearings and proceedings involving the care of George Griffin.

A new state law, which took effect October 1, says that guardianship issues are not public information.

New Haven Probate Judge John A. Keyes said he will rule on the motion to keep Griffin’s medical records private “as soon as I can.’’

Lindsay Mathews, Griffin’s mother, is fighting the state’s attempt to share her son’s medical information with a private company that’s coming in to run what had been a state-run group home.

Mathews’ son currently resides in state care at Brook Street group home in Hamden. Griffin has cerebral palsy and suffers profound intellectual impairments.

After Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and DDS announced plans to privatize the group home that Griffin lived in for decades Mathews objected to the change in care.

Mathews filed an injunction against the state in Superior Court looking to prevent them from giving her son private care or transferring his private medical information to the new owners of the group home. That lawsuit is separate from the Probate Court proceedings where the state is seeking to obtain her son’s medical information.

Keyes postponed Monday’s hearing until he could make a ruling on public access to the probate proceedings.

Members of the media and state workers who care for Griffin were in courtroom during Monday’s hearing.

“I am my son’s mother and I know what is best for him,’’ Mathews said. “The Department of Developmental Services is not listening to parents and DDS’ actions will harm our children. It’s heartbreaking to feel so powerless about the future of your child. I hope DDS reconsiders their bullying tactics.”

The decision to convert from state to private operators for residential services for state residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities was made in August when DDS Commissioner Morna Murray submitted a plan to Malloy’s budget office. The plan is expected to save the agency $42 million in 2017 and nearly $70 million in 2018.

Under the plan, 30 group homes will be converted to private operation by Jan. 1, 2017. In March, it announced the closure of two regional centers in Meriden and Stratford. Those facilities will close by October and several other day programs also will be transitioned to the private sector.

“The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) provides funding for supports and services to 16,724 individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout Connecticut. Less than six percent receive services from public run programs,” Nicole Cadovius, public information officer for DDS, said Monday. “Ninety-four percent receive a range of programs from qualified community-based providers who have created opportunities for individuals to participate in residential, employment, recreational, and social opportunities in their communities.”

She said she knows these changes are difficult for individuals, families and staff, but “they are necessary for us to maintain critical supports.”

She said they are required to maintain privacy and Monday’s guardianship matter was a “confidential legal process.”

Full Article & Source:
New Haven Probate Court Postpones Decision Regarding Medical Information

Alabama man jailed on 102 charges in theft of $10,000 from 84-year-old

Brent Stovall
A north Alabama man is accused of stealing about $10,000 from his 84-year-old neighbor by illegally obtaining the elderly man's personal information and opening two credit cards in his name.

Brent Stovall, 54, is charged with 98 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, two counts of third-degree possession of a forged instrument, and one count each of first-degree theft and first-degree financial exploitation of the elderly. Stovall is being held in the Lauderdale County Jail with bail set at $103,500.

Authorities said Stovall was renting a house from the victim in the Rogersville community, and volunteered to bring the 84-year-old neighbor his mail.

"Then the victim noticed he wasn't receiving his bank statements and contacted his bank," said Lauderdale County Chief Deputy Richard Richey. "He discovered several checks had been written and withdraws had been made without his knowledge. Then, he received statements from two credit card companies he hadn't applied with."

The theft, which included fraudulent purchases at Wal-Mart stores in Florence and Muscle Shoals, reportedly occurred for about four months, beginning in April, Richey said. It was reported to the Sheriff's Office in August.

"He was able to get all of the man's personal information from stealing the mail," Richey said.

Cases of theft involving the elderly aren't uncommon because those adults often are the most vulnerable to exploitation, said Barry Spear, spokesman for the Department of Human Resources.

DHR has an Adult Services Division that investigates crimes against the elderly alongside local law enforcement agencies as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"It's easier for somebody to take advantage of someone who isn't seen by the public a lot and spends a lot of time at home," Spear said. "We've had people who had their life savings taken from them. You have people saving and setting themselves up for their whole life financially, and then somebody comes in and takes it all from them.

"We had one case in Elmore County where one lady was exploited to the point $1 million was taken, and it's something that can't be recovered."

Richey said everyone, particularly the elderly, should always contact their bank or other financial institutions anytime they aren't getting mail they were expecting.

"Or, if you can keep a check on those things online, that's good, too," he said. "You can also do a credit report check online to see if there are any accounts in your name you don't know about."

If anyone suspects an elderly person is being exploited, it's important to report it to DHR's hotline at 1-800-458-7214 or by contacting the local office, Spear said. A report also can be filed via email.

"A lot of times, you have adults being cared for by family members or friends and they're afraid to report it because they believe they won't have anyone to help them," Spear said. "We help in those situations by involving other nonprofit organizations or groups that can help with things like getting groceries or work around the house."

Jail records list Stovall's permanent residence as Russellville in Franklin County.

If convicted, Stovall faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the two Class B felony charges: first-degree theft and exploitation. The other 100 charges are Class D felonies, punishable by one to five years on probation or community corrections.

Full Article & Source:
Alabama man jailed on 102 charges in theft of $10,000 from 84-year-old

New Webinar: Financial Elder Abuse – Detection, Intervention & Prevention

Thursday, Oct 13 at 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT

This webinar is completely free and registrants will receive a recorded video of the presentation!

Financial Elder Abuse refers to a broad range of behaviors, including: taking money or property, forging an older person’s signature, coercing or unduly influencing an older person to sign a financial document and defrauding/pulling scams to obtain money from an older person.

As the country’s population ages, the need to recognize and prevent financial exploitation of your older clients and family members increases.

Studies suggest between $1.5- $2.9 billion are stolen each year from older adults. Elder abuse remains a hidden problem with studies indicating only 1 in 44 cases of financial elder abuse is ever reported to authorities.

Join us to Learn

Attend this webinar featuring guest speaker Art Mason, LCSW to learn…
  • The different types of financial abuse.
  • The most frequent perpetrators.
  • The most frequent case scenarios.
  • How to identify possible cases of financial exploitation.
  • The most effective interventions.
  • How and who to refer cases of elder financial abuse.
  • What to expect in terms of outcomes.
If you are unable to attend or would like to receive a recording, please proceed to register for the webinar and you will receive a recording via email the following day.

Guest Speaker

Art Mason, LCSW


Art Mason, LCSW is the Director of Lifespan’s Elder Abuse Prevention Program and has worked in the field for 26+ years.

 Art is past president of the National Adult Protective Services Association. He is also a member of the NYS Elder Abuse Coalition and provides trainings across the country to law enforcement, social service professionals and a variety of organizations.

Full Article & Source:
New Webinar: Financial Elder Abuse – Detection, Intervention & Prevention

Harris County receives grant to combat abuse, neglect of growing senior population

About 3.8 million people in Texas are age 60 and over, a number that's expected to more than triple to 12 million by 2050. It's regarded as one of the state's fastest growing populations.

That rapidly booming population is also highly vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation, potentially setting the stage for a spike in such crimes. State lawmakers have made financial exploitation and abuse one of their top priorities.

Locally, Harris County is adopting a model used in California and New York to bring together health care representatives, city and county government officials under one roof to better understand and fight cases of exploitation, abuse and neglect.

The Houston Chronicle published a report about the county's effort to combat abuse and neglect of the fast-growing senior population in June. In September, the federal government granted Harris County more than $350,000 to start the Senior Justice Assessment Center.

County commissioners are expected to accept the grant at their next meeting on Oct. 11.

Full Article & Source:
Harris County receives grant to combat abuse, neglect of growing senior population

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Con Artists Have Snowbirds In Their Sights

Snowbird season kicks off this month, as millions of retirees migrate to warm-temperature states like Florida and Arizona. But while escaping the cold, they also weather more risks—at both locales.

"There's a definite increase in scams against snowbirds, many by organized outfits that specifically focus on older, seasonal residents," says Joe Roubicek, who spent 30 years investigating scams as a Fort Lauderdale police detective and investigator for the Florida State Attorney's Office.

Before Leaving


Secure your house. Set up timers for your lights. Ask a friend to stop by occasionally to ensure that everything is well lit and your driveway isn't covered with snow or littered with penny-saver newspapers that aren't held or forwarded by the post office.

Enlist a "What-If" contact. Roubicek suggests making a list of what could possibly go wrong—and whom you would call when it does. "What if you're in an accident, are robbed at a rest stop or need medication?" he asks.

"The biggest mistake made by snowbirds is not proactively arranging for a back-home contact to help in emergencies." Share your designee's contact information with the local police department, plus your doctors, pharmacy and family members. To reduce the chance that you'll need to call on the person, pack copies of prescriptions, important medical records and financial account numbers (all personal data should be stored in a safe place).

Call your insurer. Before you take off, find out if you'll need to take certain precautions to ensure full homeowner coverage—such as maintaining heat in your home at a specific temperature or shutting off the water supply and draining water from pipes and appliances. The good news: You might warrant a discount on auto insurance if you leave a car at home.

Notify payment-card providers as to when you will be leaving, where you are going and how long you'll be away. This helps fraud departments stop bogus charges and reduces the risk of legitimate transactions being declined due to mistaken suspicion of unusual activity.

After You Arrive


Stick with one credit card. This makes account monitoring easier, which is important when waiters physically handle your plastic and can capture card numbers with cellphone cameras or write them down with pen and paper. If fraudulent charges are made, you're liable for only $50, but your card's details could be used with other information to open new accounts under your identity.

Use Wi-Fi wisely. Public hot spots at libraries and coffee shops are no place to do online shopping or banking, or to check your investment portfolio. Unlike at home, where transmissions are encrypted between your computer and router, hot-spot hackers may be able to access log-in credentials, financial accounts and other sensitive data.

Know the most common snowbird scams


Repair rip-offs These reign supreme, notes Roubicek, author of Financial Abuse of the Elderly: A Detective's Case Files of Exploitation Crimes. Saying "the condo association sent me," fraudulent contractors and utility workers show up at your door. If you let them in, they may perform shoddy, overpriced repairs or scout a burglary. Beware of teams—one worker diverts you as the other steals—or exterminators who "accidentally" spray pesticide on you and, as you clean up, clean you out. Unless you initiate contact or the condo association gives prior notice, never let a stranger inside.

Parking lot ploys Crooks search for unlocked cars with out-of-state licenses plates and disable wires under the hood or flatten tires. When you return, they offer "help" for a ridiculous price.

Full Article & Source:
Con Artists Have Snowbirds In Their Sights

Lawyer accused of stealing from church trust fund

A local lawyer has been arrested on the allegations that he stole nearly $140,000 from a church trust fund in his care.

Larry D. Cantrell, 65, of Riceville, was indicted last month by the McMinn County Grand Jury and arrested Monday on charges of theft of property $60,000-$250,000 and tampering with evidence.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Cantrell is accused of having stolen a total of $139,325.98 from a fund designated for the Jones Chapel United Methodist Church and Cemetery that he was entrusted with overseeing. The alleged thefts reportedly took place over a seven-year period from March 2009 to September 2016.

The TBI first began investigating the issue in 2014 at the direction of then-10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Bebb, who asked the agency to look into a suspicious matter. The investigation started on May 13, 2014, and Cantrell was indicted by the grand jury during the September 2016 session.

At some point during the course of the investigation, Cantrell allegedly falsified documents with the intent to "affect the course or outcome of the investigation."As a result, the charge of tampering with evidence was added on.

Cantrell was booked into the McMinn County Justice Center Monday and was released on $10,000 bond. His arraignment in McMinn County Criminal Court is set for Friday.

Cantrell is a longtime member of the McMinn County School Board.

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Lawyer accused of stealing from church trust fund

Trail date set for woman charged with financially exploiting elderly man

Attorney Andrew Maier & Mary Williams
PRINCETON — A trial date was set Monday for a Lerona woman who has been charged with financially exploiting an elderly Mercer County man she had been hired to care for.

Mary H. Williams, 75, came before Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope for a pretrial hearing. Williams was scheduled on July 28 to be sentenced in a best interest plea on a charge of financially exploiting an elderly person. Swope rejected the plea after Williams spoke during the sentencing hearing and said she did nothing wrong.

Swope then stated that he had no choice but to send the case to trial. Williams had entered the best interest plea, which carried a possible sentence of one to 10 years plus restitution, in April. The case involved a Princeton resident, the late Harold DeWeese.

Williams was hired by DeWeese’s family to care for him and his wife when he was 88 years old.

DeWeese’s wife was eventually placed in an assisted living facility and during that time she noticed that money was missing from the couple’s account, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kelli Harshbarger said during the July hearing. Evidence would show that DeWeese divorced his wife and received approximately $400,000 from the division of martial assets. It was thought that DeWeese may have been suffering from dementia.

DeWeese died in 2013, and Harshbarger said at the July hearing that the state’s evidence would show that he died and was buried on Williams’ property without his family’s knowledge, and he was listed as having no assets.

An investigation was started more than two years ago by State Police Sgt. Mark Haynes. Williams was indicted in October 2015.

“The focus of the investigation was on a bank account that had over $160,000,” Harshbarger said.

“From that they were able to trace the purchase of a doublewide” that was placed on Williams’ property.”

Swope set a trial date for Feb. 7, 2017. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Dec. 20.

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Trail date set for woman charged with financially exploiting elderly man

Harris County judge backpedals under pressure on psychiatric care issue

Changed course after Attorney General's office agreed to review matter

Harris County Judge Rory Olsen is now accepting involuntary psychiatric commitment requests signed by doctors of osteopathic medicine, a reversal of his position that health care leaders complained aggravated the area's already limited access to mental health care.

Olsen on Friday changed his policy to only grant the requests from medical doctors following Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's decision to review whether osteopathic doctors have the legal authority to certify an individual is mentally ill, dangerous and in need of commitment.

"I consider this the equivalent of a case on appeal," said Olsen, a Republican in his 18th year as a mental health probate judge. "It's pretty standard that when a case is under appeal, you freeze everything."

Olsen said medical providers have been informed DO-signed commitment requests will be granted until Paxton issues an opinion and after if he sides with osteopathic doctors.

The controversy arose in early September, when Olsen rejected a commitment request that included an osteopathic doctor's signature, arguing that an "ambiguous" provision of Texas law suggests only medical doctors can sign medical examination forms. He subsequently directed his staff to reject DO-signed applications. He was the only judge in the state thought to be rejecting such requests.

The change in policy upset many in the medical community, as the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week. Leaders of numerous societies, including the nearly 50,000-member Texas Medical Association, wrote him trying to clarify that MDs and DOs are equal under state law and expressing concern about the likely effect on the county's already undermanned psychiatric force.

Such leaders Friday expressed great relief at Olsen's reversal. Dr. Don Read, TMA's president, said Olsen "made the correct decision" and Stephen Glazier, chief operating officer of UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center, called it a "positive development for patient welfare."

Olsen said the issue has been "blown out of proportion," claiming there aren't many hospitals in Harris County who have osteopathic doctors signing psychiatric patient orders. He called Paxton's decision to render an opinion "a good compromise."

Paxton's review was solicited by state senators Charles Schwertner and Joan Huffman. In a statement Thursday night, Schwertner referred to Olsen's "altogether puzzling decision that seems to defy decades of established legal and medical precedent" and said he is asking the attorney general to issue a legal opinion "affirming the right of doctors of osteopathy to practice medicine in Texas."

"The simple fact is, Judge Olsen doesn't have the authority to decide which physicians he does or does not want to listen to," said Schwertner, R-Georgetown, chairman of the health and human services committee and also a medical doctor. "Regardless of this man's opinion, the law governing the practice of medicine is exceedingly clear: DOs — just like MDs — are fully-trained, licensed, and accredited physicians with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Period."

Earlier Thursday, leaders of professional medical organizations and hospitals had met about the matter, concerned about "possible downstream effects." Officials in attendance said the conversation explored all possible solutions, including a lawsuit.

Osteopathic doctors, whose specialties include psychiatry, represent about 10 percent of the Texas physician workforce. More hands-on and prevention-oriented, osteopathic medicine was developed in the second half of the 19th century as a rejection of the then-prevailing system of medical thought before gradually moving into the mainstream in the 20th century.

DOs ultimately achieved the same practice rights as MDs in all 50 states. All told, more than 96,000 osteopathic doctors now practice in the U.S.

Texas medical leaders were mystified by Olsen's September action because previous DO-signed applications had sailed through his court. Olsen said last week he hadn't noticed any before.

He cited a section of the state health and safety code that says, "a physician shall examine the person" and defines a physician as "a person licensed to practice medicine in this state."He said that to him, the term physician implies a medical doctor and rejected arguments that the law already clearly establishes physicians either can be medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine because a "specific" provision in the code trumps a more "general" one.

The judge wrote doctors last week that he was open to persuasion, but suggested it would take a citation of an appellate court or an opinion from Paxton's office. Olsen said the best solution would be for the Legislature to clarify the law.

Dr. David Garza, president of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association, Friday expressed gratitude to Schwertner and Huffman for requesting the attorney general's opinion but remained troubled by Olsen's original, "baffling" directive, which he said caused "a trying month for many DOs."

Dismissing the call for a legislative solution, he added that "this is clearly a case of one judge who chose not to follow the law as written."

Others seemed more focused on the outcome. Dr. George Santos, medical director of Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital and a former president of the Houston Psychiatric Society, called Olsen's new policy "a more reasoned approach that does not disrupt patient care while the Attorney General considers his opinion." He said it will restore psychiatric care to more people in need.

It is unclear how quickly Paxton will issue an opinion on the matter. Kayleigh Lovvorn, his spokeswoman, said Friday that most opinions are issued within 180 days of the request, though the amount of time required may vary depending on the volume of research required and the number and length of commentaries and briefs received.

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Harris County judge backpedals under pressure on psychiatric care issue

Monday, October 10, 2016

Camera Records What An Elderly Woman Does At Home Alone And It Is Heartbreaking

Mary Tony has lived for 98 years and still has her health and can walk on her own. The touching video below shows just how often she struggles with loneliness. Mary lives alone and is without the benefit of having other people around her like other people her age who live in retirement homes.

The Voyager film crew followed Mary through her daily routine to gain insight on what it is like for the elderly who live alone. Mary does visit the senior center, and it is her lifeline. At the center, she can socialize with other people and it is something she cherishes. After watching, you will appreciate what it is like to grow older and how important having people in your life is.

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Camera Records What An Elderly Woman Does At Home Alone And It Is Heartbreaking

Medical Researchers Release List Of Common OTC Drugs That Lead To Early Onset Dementia

It’s no surprise that certain drugs cause certain side effects. When reading any over-the-counter drug label and prescribed drugs, there is always a list of side effects. For years, doctors and researchers have been trying to detect what exactly causes dementia in older adults. The disease has proven to be more common nowadays, which could be a result of the longer lifespans that are a result of advanced medical research, or it could be a result of common drugs that nearly half the population takes on a daily basis. While doctors were in the midst of researching causes of dementia, they came across a scary observation.

Medications that fall under the umbrella of Anticholinergic drugs have been proven to increase the risk of dementia. Some of these very popular drugs include: Benadryl, Dramamine, Paxil and Demerol. All of these drugs are used for different treatments. Benadryl is for allergy and itch relief, Dramamine is used for motion sickness, Paxil is known to treat anxiety and depression and Demerol is a pain medication that is considered an opiod.

While doctors have long known that these drugs increase the risk of short-term memory loss, they have proven this case to be true when conducting a study at the Indiana School of Medicine. With the use of high-tech imaging equipment, researchers were able to look closely at the brains of 451 older adults. 60 of the 451 patients were regularly taking drugs that fell under the category of Anticholinergic drugs and all 60 of those patients had smaller brains than the other patients. The same 60 patients had lower brain activity as a result of low glucose metabolism rates. Alzheimer’s patients typically have lower activity in the hippocampus, and the researchers detected the lack of activity was prominent in this same portion of the brain.

When taking tests that involved cognition and short term memory, the 60 patients did worse than the other patient who were not on the drugs. They were less likely to piece together problems that involved planning and memory.

This study has certainly proven a lot in the world of progressive research and medical researchers have a lot to work with based on their findings, but they still have a way to go in order to prove why exactly these drugs are causing the memory loss that leads to dementia.

Researchers and doctors advise patients to read over-the-counter labels thoroughly before purchasing a medication, especially in older aged adults. Any drug that contains anticholinergic properties could escalate the memory loss that is already common in elderly patients.

It is extremely important that patients discuss the side effects in all drugs that are taken regularly. Sometimes the benefits of the drug’s mission outweighs the potential side effects, but other times those side effects may cause severe lifestyle changes.

Full Article & Source:
Medical Researchers Release List Of Common OTC Drugs That Lead To Early Onset Dementia

The Brandl-Crockett Alliance: Combining Forces to Advocate for Older Women

An intergenerational pairing creates a powerful collaboration in the fight for justice for older women. 

Call it a May-October match made, quite possibly, in heaven. Bonnie Brandl and Cailin Crockett, leaders in the cause to end violence and abuse against older women, may be an unlikely intergenerational pairing, but in fact they are a powerful combination whose collaboration has enriched the field of elder justice.

Bonnie Brandl
Bonnie, age 56, is an advocate and social workeris a pioneer who has worked at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin for 25 years – since Cailin was in preschool. She is the founder and director of NCALL, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life and the author of numerous publications in the field. Just this past June, NCALL and the Office on Violence Against Women published her comprehensive 42-page report, “Working with Older Survivors of Abuse: A Framework for Advocates.”

Cailin Crockett
Cailin, who earned a summa cum laude degree from UCLA and an MPhil from Oxford, is a supernova in the making. At age 28, she has already worked as a Policy Specialist for the first White House Advisor on Violence against Women in Vice President Biden’s office; been a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS); and currently wears two hats, as Special Assistant for Gender Policy and Elder Rights at HHS and as a Gender Specialist on loan from HHS to advise on aging  for the United Nations Development Program. In May 2016, the World Bank and other funders published a 33-page “Brief on Violence against Older Women,” for which Cailin was the lead writer. The document is a chapter in the Bank’s online “Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide.”

Both publications are aimed at advocates and providers, Bonnie’s nationally and Cailin’s internationally in the developing world. Both are resource-rich, with links to video, print, and online support services and information.  

These two champions for older women’s rights formed an instant friendship two years ago that has since blossomed into a fruitful collaborative relationship. They first met over the phone when Cailin, upon entering the field, was given Bonnie’s name as a sine qua non resource for her work. They bonded when it emerged that each had personally been close to older women who were survivors of domestic violence– in Cailin’s case, her grandmother. Since that first call, they have been co-authors, organized several events together at the Department of Justice and the White House, and have been each other’s advocate and sounding board.  As Cailin put it, “We are constantly in touch with each other, to keep each other posted on new ideas and developments and to get each other’s thoughts.”

It’s a coincidence that their most recent resource guides were both published in Spring 2016. Bonnie says she spent about two and half years planning and writing her guide, which was inspired by the 2014 publication of the Elder Justice Roadmap, a massive collaborative undertaking under the auspices of the US Department of Justice. Bonnie was part of the team that produced this first framework for tackling the highest-priority challenges in elder abuse prevention and prosecution. She kicked off her spinoff project with a roundtable that included Cailin. “If I’m really honest,” Bonnie says, “I’ve been planning this guide for 25 years, though there was no way I could have written it even five years ago because I’ve met so many older survivors, advocates and other experts who’ve helped me during this period. It’s really an effort by the field for the field.”  (Click to Continue)

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The Brandl-Crockett Alliance: Combining Forces to Advocate for Older Women

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Medicaid forces couple in their 80s to live apart after 63 years of marriage

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Medicaid forces couple in their 80s to live apart after 63 years of marriage

Former Darien advisor gets prison for bilking elderly client of $1.2m

A former Darien resident received a 41 month prison sentence Wednesday, after his conviction of stealing more than $1 million from an elderly Weston client.

Robert N. Tricarico, 60, ran RNT Wealth Management, which had an office in Westport, and was employed by or associated with several other firms including LPL Financial, Wells Fargo and briefly Northstar Wealth Partners. Between 2010 and 2013 Tricarico misappropriate more than $1.1 million from the late Emily Anderson by writing checks to himself or for his benefit without the authorization of his client. Tricarico also liquidated a coin collection belonging to his client, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly.

Tricarico pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud, at the time living in Milford. He was remanded to the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence and was ordered to pay full restitution.

Full Article & Source:
Former Darien advisor gets prison for bilking elderly client of $1.2m

Top 10 Myths About Hospice Care

Most myths contain a modicum of truth. What causes misinformation to endure is an unwillingness or inability to look more closely to ferret out the facts. This is especially true in understanding hospice care, which is closely allied with sickness, death, and dying—fraught topics that many avoid rather than confront head-on.

It’s estimated that nearly half of all Americans die now in hospice care each year, with that number increasing yearly. Still, many myths proliferate about what it is and how it works.

Here is a take on the top 10 myths surrounding hospice—with a nodding to the truths and a debunking of the falsehoods.

MYTH 1: Hospice is a place people go to die.


FACT: In truth, some people do receive hospice care at a “place”—one of the growing number of freestanding facilities dedicated to providing inpatient hospice care. But the great majority of hospice care is received in the place the patient calls “home”—a private residence, residential facility, or nursing home. Some patients also receive hospice care while hospitalized.

But hospice is not a place. It’s the word used to describe a philosophy of particular type of care—that which focuses on keeping a patient as comfortable, free of pain and lucid as possible rather than attempting to cure an underlying disease.

MYTH 2: Hospice care is offered only for cancer patients.


FACT: This myth probably endures because of the storied history of hospice care. Though the concept of hospice as treatment for the incurably ill probably dates back to the 11th century, the modern hospice movement is credited to Cicely Saunders, an English Anglican doctor and writer.

The idea was launched after Saunders fell in love with a terminal cancer patient, David Tasma. As they grew close, it became clear to both that a spiritual component to healthcare was essential for many patients. Tasman left Saunders a sum of money at his death, declaring he would be “a window in her home.” In 1967, she opened St. Christopher’s Hospice in London for cancer patients, sparking the modern hospice movement. Tasma’s “window” is embodied as a plain sheet of glass in the hospice’s entrance.

Saunders’ concept of holistic care was maligned by much of the medical establishment, but eventually served as the model for the first hospice care providers in America, which began in the early 1970s.

Today, just over a third of U.S. hospice patients have a diagnosis of cancer. The others have a range of chronic diseases: dementia, heart and lung disease, and stroke or coma are most prevalent.

MYTH 3: Hospice care is expensive.


FACT: By most people’s lights, all medical care is expensive.

Still, hospice care is less expensive than conventional end of life care for a number of reasons. It usually involves fewer medical tests and procedures and very little technical equipment. Care received at home is much less costly than hospital care—and there is no charge for the services that family members, friends, and volunteers help provide.

In addition, hospice patients pay for only the services they want and require—a freedom of choice often denied other patients. Medicare, Medicaid or Medi-Cal, and private insurance generally also cover much of the cost of hospice care. And finally, many hospice providers offer free or provide sliding-scale charges for those who are challenged by paying.

MYTH 4: Hospice care means giving up hope.


FACT: Signing on for hospice care often does require a shift in thinking—from attempting to cure an incurable condition to concentrating on keeping a person as comfortable and cogent as possible. For many hospice patients, this shift greatly improves the quality of life, eliminating pointless tests and painful procedures and allowing time to spend with friends and family.

MYTH 5: Choosing hospice means giving up all other care.


FACT: Hospice care does not contemplate most procedures and treatments deemed “life-saving,” such as surgery and chemotherapy.

However, one prime goal of hospice is to provide “patient-centered care” aimed at holistically improving the quality of remaining life, with pain management and other regimens tailored to the individual. To that end, some hospice services may provide treatments traditionally deemed to be curative, including radiation therapy or antibiotics, if they are provided to improve the quality of life.

In addition, hospice patients can opt at any time to stop care there or pursue conventional medical treatment; they can resume hospice care by securing a doctor’s diagnosis that their conditions may cause death within six months.

MYTH 6: Hospice is only for the elderly.


FACT: It’s true that the greatest number of hospice patients are older adults—not surprising as the average life span has increased, along with the number of people who require sustained care for chronic diseases. A recent demographic study by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization [LINK TO] found that about 2/3 of all hospice patients in the U.S. are 75 and older.

However, a growing percentage of hospice patients are younger—and most hospice programs also accept children. Several hundred providers now offer children-specific hospice, palliative, or home care services.

MYTH 7: There are no regulations or agencies to oversee the quality of care hospice provides.


FACT: Even in systems with the most iron-clad regulations and oversight, there are always scofflaws. And since hospice care is relatively new and still considered “alternative medicine” by much of the hidebound medical profession, the laws controlling it are still evolving and sometimes murkily written and difficult to interpret.

However, hospice providers must comply with federal regulations to be approved for reimbursement under Medicare, which currently accounts for about 93% of the existing hospice agencies. Hospices must also undergo periodic inspections to ensure they meet regulatory standards to maintain their licenses to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.

In addition, most states have laws governing hospice operations. The Hospice Patients Alliance maintains a searchable listing of websites for each state’s hospice administrative code and regulations.

MYTH 8: Patients must give up their regular doctors when entering hospice care.


FACT: As most people will attest, there is always room for confusion and misunderstandings when dealing with medical matters—from bollixing billing to doctors who won’t return beseeching calls. This chaos may be exacerbated by the anxiousness that often accompanies a serious illness. And not all doctors will support a patient’s decision to elect hospice care.

However, every hospice organization’s rules state that a patient’s primary care physician and some other specialists are considered essential members of the “care team.” It may take some intervention by the patients or his or her caregivers to make this cooperation work well, but is it often helpful to quote back the rules requiring it—and the desire to make it so in the interest of quality care.

MYTH 9: Hospice care shortens life.


FACT: Without splitting hairs, it may depend on how you define “life.” Those eager to try aggressive new treatments or experimental drugs that may slow a disease, or believe that feeding tubes and respirators should be put in place whenever a doctor decrees they are needed, should get the medical care they feel fits them best.

Proponents of hospice care tend to support the view that a quality life should be lived as pain-free and as peacefully as possible. Most shun medical interventions they view as “intrusive” and prize the peace of a home or homelike setting over the sterility of hospitals and clinics.

And a surprising fact: An often-repeated study of patients with terminal cancer found that those who received less “aggressive” care aimed at comfort and pain relief lived an average of three months longer than those receiving traditional medical care at the end of life.

MYTH 10: Hospice care is stressful for family members and friends.


FACT: In our death-avoiding society, many people still shy away from the realities and inevitabilities of illness and death. And since the majority of hospice care is provided in the patient’s “place of residence”—a home, residential facility, or long-term care complex, those living nearby or helping provide the care often get a more intimate view of sickness and end of life.

For many people—both patients and caregivers—this also provides an unexpected benefit. Those confronting death together are more likely to do so honestly—to have last meaningful talks, to make efforts to get their final affairs in order for survivors,

In addition, hospice providers can provide valuable training in practical aspects of caregiving such as administering medications, changing dressings, and operating medical equipment. Those who want it can also get spiritual or emotional counseling and support. And importantly, most hospice providers offer respite services, providing breaks for the regular caregivers—either directly in the residence or in a separate facility.

Full Article & Source:
Top 10 Myths About Hospice Care