Saturday, November 19, 2016

Caregiving Costly to Family Caregivers

The rewards of caring for a loved one who needs our help can be substantial. It’s an opportunity to pay something back, to offer a return on the loving investment someone once made in us. It’s a chance to help preserve a quality life for an individual who has a tough time completing life’s daily tasks. It’s the joy of knowing that we are easing someone’s way, lifting burdens and making sure they are not alone.

Family caregivers lovingly offer their help free of charge, contributing their time, their energy and often their own well-being. What they do is of incalculable emotional value and of enormous social worth.

In the past, AARP has tallied what society would be paying for the labor that family caregivers so willingly donate: In 2013, about 40 million family caregivers provided 37 billion hours of care worth an estimated $470 billion to their parents, spouses, partners and other adult loved ones.

The total estimated economic value of uncompensated care provided by family caregivers in 2013 surpassed total Medicaid spending ($449 billion) and nearly equaled the annual sales ($469 billion) of the four largest U.S. tech companies combined (Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Microsoft).

What we haven’t included in the calculations before is the significant amount of money family caregivers often spend out of their own pockets as part of their contribution. A new AARP study, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report, estimates that family caregivers spend an average of $6,954 on out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving, nearly 20 percent of their annual income.

Out-of-pocket spending is even higher among Hispanic/Latino caregivers ($9,022 annually, representing 44 percent of their income). African American caregivers report costs similar to white caregivers, but that amounts to a much greater percentage of income — 34 percent vs. 14 percent.

To cover the extra expense, many family caregivers have to pare back their own spending. They cut back on saving for retirement, leisure spending, eating out and vacations, and many have dipped into personal or retirement savings. See the full report at

Clearly, family caregivers could use a break. The bipartisan Credit for Caring Act would help give them some of the financial breathing room they need, with a federal tax credit of up to $3,000 for those who are eligible. AARP and other national organizations are supporting this bill.

Each of us has the opportunity to give caregivers other measures of relief — by making a meal, doing the laundry, running an errand, raking leaves … any warm, friendly assistance that shortens their endless to-do lists.

They deserve — and appreciate — everything we can give them.

Full Article & Source:
Caregiving Costly to Family Caregivers

Caring for the Caregiver

Caregiving can take a toll on all those who love and care for the older loved one in need of help. Perhaps those who are quickly forgotten are the spouses, children and friends of the caregiver who find themselves having to change their lives almost as much as the caregiver herself or himself. Suddenly that pivotal person in their lives is really, really busy. Our day-to-day life changes and we stretch ourselves to do more for us and other family members. So how do we make the most out of this challenging situation? I truly believe you need to become a partner in the caregiving process and be a strong supporter of the main caregiver.

Lay Those Bad Feelings Down

It would take a saint not to feel some resentment when that significant other, mom, spouse or best friend is suddenly missing from your life. Now is not the time to wallow in resentment or frustration. Now is the time to put on your big girl or big boy pants and step up. Do what it takes to support the important person in your life. Be the cheerleader, the coach when approached, the back-up player whenever needed. Once you walk a mile in those moccasins you will have a lot more compassion for what your loved one is going through.

Where Can You Help and What Can You Do?

First realize that this is probably going to be a short season of life. Caring for an older loved one does not last forever. Life is full of changes and they will come. Secondly, look for the stressors your loved one has been facing as the primary caregiver. Usually they just need a little time off but everyone is different.
  1. Bring a meal over.
  2. Run to the store for needed items.
  3. Mom-sit or Dad-sit.
  4. Give that caregiver a full weekend off.
  5. Pay for a little in-home care.
  6. Take them to lunch and arrange for a temporary caregiver.
  7. Call them often but keep conversations short.
  8. Let them vent without trying to fix the problem.
  9. Let their other friends know they are needed.
Do not take their absence personally. They are struggling through a very tough time and doing a very important job. Love them. Feed them when you can. Let them take a nap when you can help. Treat them to a manicure or buy them some of their favorite music. Make them feel your love. Small acts say a million “I love you’s.” When in doubt, ask them what you can do to make it better. Tell them often how wonderful they are for doing an amazing and important job. Kudos never hurt!

Full Article & Source:
Caring for the Caregiver

Dementia and Alzheimer's leading cause of death in England and Wales

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have replaced ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales for the first time.

Last year, 61,686 (11.6%) out of a total of 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales were attributable to dementia, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The statisticians said an ageing population, better diagnosis, and lifestyle and treatment advances with respect to other illnesses were among the factors that had pushed dementia to the top of the list.

The mortality rate for dementia, which was the second leading cause of death for the previous four years, has more than doubled since 2010, while that of ischaemic heart disease declined sharply over the same period.

Martina Kane, senior policy officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Today’s news that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the leading cause of death in England and Wales is a stark reminder that dementia remains a growing concern across the country. While the news represents improvements in diagnosis rates, general awareness and the accuracy of reporting, it also reflects that there are rising numbers of people with dementia.

“While there remains no cure for the condition, everyone who develops it will sadly still have the disease when they die. It is therefore essential that people have access to the right support and services to help them live well with dementia and that research into better care, treatments and eventually a cure remain high on the agenda.”

Ischaemic heart diseases were responsible for 11.5% of deaths last year, although it was still the leading cause of death for men, accounting for 14.3% of male deaths. Dementia, the leading cause of death for women, was responsible for 15.2% of all female deaths, up from 13.4% in 2014.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the figures “call attention to the uncomfortable reality that currently, no-one survives a diagnosis of dementia”. He added: “With growing numbers of people living with dementia, we urgently need treatments that can stop or slow the diseases that drive this devastating condition.”

The ONS said there was likely to have been an increased reporting of dementia on death certificates because of dementia diagnosis incentives paid to GPs (which have since been scrapped), the prime minister’s challenge to improve dementia care and an agreed ambition that two-thirds of the estimated number of people with dementia in England should have a diagnosis.

Elizabeth McLaren, from the vital statistics outputs branch at ONS, said: “In 2015, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease became the leading cause of death in part because people are simply living longer but also because of improved detection and diagnosis. An updating of the international rules for determining the underlying cause of death is also a factor, with the increase in cases attributed to these conditions accompanied by falls in other causes.”

The most common causes of death last year after dementia and ischaemic heart disease were cerebrovascular diseases, such as strokes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

There was wide variation by age group. Dementia was the leading cause of death for people over 80 but it was the fourth leading cause of death for women aged 65 to 79 and not in the top five leading causes of death for men aged within that age group. Among men aged 35 to 49 suicide and injury/poisoning of undetermined intent was responsible for the most deaths, while for women of the same age group the leading cause of death was breast cancer.

If all cancers are grouped together, it was the most common cause of death, accounting for 27.9% of all deaths last year, compared with 26.2% caused by circulatory diseases, such as heart diseases and strokes.

Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there will be a million people with dementia in the UK by 2025, although research published earlier this year suggests that the number of new cases in recent years has been fewer than previously predicted.

Full Article & Source:
Dementia and Alzheimer's leading cause of death in England and Wales

Friday, November 18, 2016

Loneliness is bad for your health. This new campaign aims to curb isolation

A new national campaign rolling out on Wednesday aims to raise awareness of a hidden but devastating complication of aging: loneliness.

Tens of millions of adults are chronically lonely. And a growing body of research has linked that isolation to disability, cognitive decline, and early death.

The first-of-its kind campaign, organized by the AARP Foundation and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, aims to help seniors assess their social connectedness and suggest practical ways they can forge bonds with other people.

“This is a public health issue of growing concern,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation.

Addressing stigma will be a priority. “Who wants to admit that, ‘I’m isolated and I’m lonely?’” said Dallas Jamison, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. “It’s a source of shame and embarrassment.”

Her organization represents 622 agencies across the country that provide meals, transportation, in-home help, and other support to seniors. They’ll take the lead in identifying older adults who are isolated and linking them to resources, in part through the federal government’s Eldercare Locator
The campaign will also encourage families to talk about these issues during the holidays.

These efforts come as research highlights the physical and emotional toll of isolation in later life.

A seminal study of more than 1,600 seniors age 60 and older found that lonely people were far more likely have difficulties with walking, bathing, dressing, and climbing stairs than those who were not. They were also 45 percent more likely to die during the six years that researchers tracked them, from 2002 to 2008.

Some 43 percent of seniors interviewed for that study said they were lonely — a subjective feeling of not being meaningfully connected to other people. Based on a separate analysis, AARP estimates that 42.6 million adults age 45 and older are chronically lonely.

That feeling of isolation sounds an “I’m not safe; all is not well” alarm in seniors, raising blood pressure, sparking inflammation, inspiring stress, and interfering with the immune system’s response.

“If you’re lonely, you feel there aren’t adequate people around to support you and that means you have to surveil your environment continuously for every kind of threat,” said Linda Waite, director of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project and a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago.

“This consumes cognitive, physical, and psychological resources,” Waite said, “and makes it harder for you to do other things that might be beneficial to your health.”
Social isolation may mean that you rarely get out of the house and lack a support system of people who will notice when you’re feeling sick, bring over chicken soup, go out and get a decongestant, or take you to the doctor. About one in five seniors reports being isolated, Jamison said.

Still another line of research suggests that loneliness and isolation doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults by inducing changes in the brain that are not yet well understood.

“Humans evolved to live in social groups, and we’re most comfortable when we feel part of a group — more relaxed, happier, with lower blood pressure and cortisol levels,” Waite said.

Along with the coming campaign, the AARP Foundation plans an initiative called Connect2Affect that will highlight research on loneliness and innovative attempts to address the issue.

Full Article & Source:
Loneliness is bad for your health. This new campaign aims to curb isolation

Burns & Levinson Wins Important Elder Abuse Case on Appeal

Appeals Court of Massachusetts affirms key decisions of lower court; awards attorneys' fees

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2016) - Burns & Levinson partner Robert J. O'Regan won a major appellate victory as the conservator for Alice Migell whose nearly $5 million estate was pilfered by one of her sons. The November 2, 2016 decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld judgments from Middlesex Probate and Family Court, that returned real estate and approximate sale proceeds that the son kept after selling real estate from a trust. The decision also upheld criminal contempt convictions against the son and his wife, Andrew and Kai Sun Migell, for their transferring assets to put them out of reach to satisfy what was owed. The Appeals Court will also require the son and his wife to pay O'Regan's legal fees.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2009 after O'Regan was appointed as Alice Migell's guardian.

O'Regan recovered real estate valued in excess of $2 million in addition to approximately $400,000 that Andrew Migell kept from selling the trust's real estate. The returned property included a vacation home in Hull, a house in Wayland, and rental property. An investigation revealed, and an earlier judgment against them determined that Andrew and Kai Sun Migell worked to take for themselves virtually all of the assets that Mrs. Migell had, either in her own name or as her inheritance following the death of her husband to whom she had been married for over 40 years.

The Probate and Family Court ruled in 2013 that Andrew and Kai Sun Migell had orchestrated a "continuous, willful campaign of fraudulent, obstructionist behavior designed to separate Mrs. Migell from her assets which should have been available to cover the costs of her 24-hour care necessary for the preservation of her mental and physical well-being."

In 2013, the Probate and Family Court also ordered Andrew and Kai Sun Migell to pay $512,680 in attorneys' costs that Mrs. Migell incurred to recover her own property and to defend against their attempts to impoverish her after they "set out on a ruthless campaign to totally and utterly deprive his elderly, ailing and recently widowed mother of her entire estate." The Appeals Court had upheld this decision in 2014.

"This was one of the worst cases of elder abuse that I have seen in over 30 years of practicing law. Alice Migell was 83 years old and suffering from dementia when we went to trial to regain control of the assets she needs to live the rest of her time with dignity and comfort," said O'Regan. "I feel fortunate to have been able to serve the Court and to help Mrs. Migell recover her funds and property.

I hope this case sends a message that exploitation of the elderly and infirm will not be tolerated. Anyone who takes advantage of the most vulnerable people in society should be held accountable for the harm they cause. That is what this Appeals Court decision stands for."

Full Article & Source:
Burns & Levinson Wins Important Elder Abuse Case on Appeal

Long-term use of opioid patches common among persons with Alzheimer's disease

Approximately seven per cent of persons with Alzheimer's disease use strong pain medicines, opioids, for non-cancer pain for a period longer than six months, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. One third of people initiating opioid use became long-term users, and long-term use was heavily associated with transdermal opioid patches. The results were published in PAIN.

The researchers found that long-term use of opioids was approximately as common among persons with Alzheimer's disease as it was among those without it. However, long-term use of transdermal patches was twice as common among persons with Alzheimer's disease, while tablet form opioids were more common among those without Alzheimer's disease. In addition, long-term opioid use together with benzodiazepines was common, which is worrying as both medicines cause drowsiness.

The use of opioids was studied from the date of Alzheimer's disease diagnosis until death or admission into a long-term care facility. Those with active cancer treatment were excluded from the analysis.

Long-term opioid use is a problematic practice for non-cancer pain. Evidence of its benefits is limited, and the risk of adverse effects is increased compared to short-term treatment. Further, research on the benefits and adverse effects of long-term opioid use is very scarce among older adults and especially those with dementia. Changing doses and stopping medication when using patch-form opioids requires more time and thus, entails more careful monitoring. Pain, the need for analgesics, and possible adverse effects related to analgesics should be assessed regularly among persons with dementia.

The study is part of the MEDALZ cohort, which included 67,215 persons with Alzheimer's disease diagnosed during 2005-2011, of whom 13,111 initiated opioid use. Each person with the disease was matched with a comparison person without Alzheimer's disease of the same age, gender and region of residence. Data for the study were derived from Finnish nationwide registers.

Full Article & Source:
Long-term use of opioid patches common among persons with Alzheimer's disease

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Who Makes the Decisions for Your Elderly Loved Ones?

Many aging loved ones have plans for when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves, but are those plans legally binding??

Advance directives -- legal documents like living wills and power of attorney -- tell your family, doctors and the court your plans for end of life care.

But Channel 2's Dave Huddleston spoke with families who said they lost custody of their loved ones because those advanced directives weren't honored in probate court.

“My mother made it clear who she wanted to take care of her and where she was going to live for the rest of her life,” Doug Franks told Huddleston.

In his mother’s advanced directives, 94-year-old Ernestine Franks said she wanted to stay in her Pensacola, Florida, home, and have her son, Doug, be her guardian when she could no longer make decisions for herself.

Doug Franks, who lives in Austell, already had power of attorney.

But after Ernestine Franks was confronted by a scammer while home alone, older brother, Charles Franks, wanted mom to move near his home in New Orleans. He said he contacted his mother's trust who suggested a private guardianship company step in.

“He stated this was the biggest mistake he's made in his life,” Doug Franks said.

Charles Franks also spoke to Channel 2 and explained his regret about the decision.

The brothers' dispute landed in court.

In August 2012, a Florida probate judge said Doug Franks was unsuitable and unfit to act as guardian because of the dispute.

"We got in trouble because we wanted the best and we had different opinions what was the best for our mom," Doug Franks said.

Ernestine Franks' advanced directives, which included declaring Doug Franks durable power of attorney, designated healthcare surrogate and future guardian, were voided.

A private guardianship company, Gulf Coast Caring Solutions, took control of Ernestine Franks' well-being, and Synovus Bank controlled millions of dollars in her trust.

“It was sad,” Doug Franks said. “The entire way, I drove back thinking I let my mother down, and she's never let me down.”

According to court records, the sons' visits with their mother were limited, and mostly supervised.

Gulf Coast Solutions asked the Franks brothers to not contact their mother three weeks after the guardianship was finalized so Ernestine Franks could establish a routine and bond with her caregivers.

Gulf Coast Solutions and Synovus gave up their rights to the Franks’ estate and Ernestine Franks in November 2014, citing a challenging relationship with the Franks brothers.

A Florida Judge appointed CPA J. Alan Kohr as her guardian and conservator. According to court transcripts, Kohr had been court appointed to serve as guardian or trustee in Escambia County, Florida, 46 previous times.

Doug Franks said guardians spent thousands from Ernestine Franks' trust on food, personal care and fighting the brothers in court.

“It's a dark cloud that's over us all the time,” Doug Franks told Huddleston.

According to Escambia County Court system, guardianship cases are not handled solely at the discretion of the judges.

“Like all other cases in the judicial system, there are statutes, rules and other legal authority that apply and judges use their discretion and judgment within the parameters of the legal authority,” Susan A. Woolf, general counsel for Escambia Courts, told Channel 2 by email.

“Yes, they can override the advance directives,” elder attorney Danielle Humphrey said.

Humphrey said Georgia probate judges rarely void advance directives, and private guardianship is nonexistent in Georgia, but can effect Georgians with loved ones in other states.

In places with a high retirement population -- like Florida -- adult guardianship is big business.

“Possession is nine-tenths of the law and unfortunately, once they become under guardianship, they're like your child,” Humphrey said.

When a loved one lives out of state, it puts them at risk.

She said private guardianship companies, and individuals, can take advantage of an isolated elder.

"They're in it for the money. It's a business, so they're going to treat your mother, or your father, like a business," Humphrey said.

Humphrey, and other experts, said living far from an aging loved one puts them at great risk. They also said an interfamily dispute often leaves probate judges at a loss as to how to deal with the aging relative.

According to the National Guardianship Association, nearly 3,000 jurisdictions regulate guardianship nationwide and everyone is different.

While they stressed there is a great need for guardians and many do a great service, but not a lot of information on guardians nationwide aren’t tracked, so abusive practices, even the number of guardians, is unknown.

Channel 2 spoke to other families who say their loved ones' advanced directives were voided by probate judges, but most guardianship records are closed so it is hard to know why a judge thought a company would be a better guardian than the family member named in the advance directive.

After a four-year fight, the Franks brothers said the guardianship company gave up, because the cash dried up. It was nearly $2 million.

The case went to mediation and the brothers were given guardianship of Ernestine Franks.

They consider it a blessing to have their mother back.

“I was lucky, I was lucky as hell,” Doug Franks said. “We're going to get her back. The key is to help other people, too, so this doesn't happen to them.”

Doug Franks has been working with legislators in Florida and families across the county to strengthen guardianship and probate legislation.

He told Huddleston he is now in the process of moving to Pensacola to be closer to Ernestine Franks.

Who Makes The Decisions for Your Elderly Loves Ones?

CLICK this link to see the news video

See Also:
NASGA - Ernestine Franks, FL Victim

Judicial Tenure Commission recommends 30 days misconduct suspension for Judge Lisa Gorcyca

(WXYZ) - Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca is facing a 30 days suspension and censure over her conduct in overseeing a divorce case.

A Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission report recommended the sentence because she committed judicial misconduct when she held three children in contempt and sent them to Children's Village.
According to the report:
The Commission concludes that Respondent committed judicial misconduct by abusing her judicial powers of contempt on June 24, 2015 in ordering three children to be confined at the Oakland County Children's Village for declining to engage in visitation with their father, abusing her contempt powers out of frustration at being unable to convince them to visit with their father, and by using insulting, demeaning, and humiliating language directed at the three children during proceedings in open court. For these acts of misconduct, the Commission recommends that Respondent be publicly censured and suspended from office without pay for a period of thirty days.
Earlier this year, the JTC ruled that Judge Gorcyca violated judicial conduct rules, including acting inappropriately on the bench, and making disparaging comments to children, who were part of a custody case she presided over.

This stems from a JTC hearing that centered around a contentious divorce and custody dispute in the Tsimhoni case. Gorcyca presided over the case for approximately five-years. Three children were involved in the case.

Gorcyca found the siblings in contempt and sent them to juvenile detention for refusing to have lunch with their father. After national media attention, the children were released.

The JTC report also says Gorcyca violated her contempt powers and failed to act in a dignified manner on the bench.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Judicial Tenure Commission recommends 30 days misconduct suspension for Judge Lisa Gorcyca

Family member charged with stealing $200K from Libertyville woman

Jacqueline M. Henry
A woman charged with stealing over $200,000 from an elderly family member is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 29.

An 86-year-old woman was living in a facility for senior citizens in Libertyville when in January 2015 administrators said her rent was not being paid, according to Sgt. Chad Roszkowiak of the Libertyville police department.

Jacqueline M. Henry, 53, of the 1600 block of Belle Haven Drive, Grayslake, had power of attorney over the elderly woman and joint access to bank accounts, Roszkowiak said.

"This relative oversaw the finances, and part of that was to make sure the lease payments were being made," Roszkowiak said. "When that stopped happening, the victim went to the bank to find out what was happening and discovered that her money was pretty much gone."

Over nearly two years, Roszkowiak said he and others have subpoenaed financial documents and found unjust financial activity dating as far back as 2010 that totaled over $200,000.

After showing evidence to a judge, police say they were granted a warrant and Henry was taken into custody at her home on Oct. 21. Documents show Henry was charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person, money laundering, and theft.

Attempts to reach Henry for comment were unsuccessful.

Roszkowiak said officers were not able to recover any money. He said a judge could order restitution if Henry is found guilty.

The 86-year-old woman was in a facility with provided meals and programming for socializing, but Roszkowiak said she's now alone in an apartment that she is paying for through public assistance.

"I go around and give presentations to our senior community about lottery scams and people calling claiming to be their grandkids, and the decoy burglaries schemes where people pretend to work for ComEd or some other company," Roszkowiak said, noting that he's Libertyville's lead officer on crimes against seniors. "Unfortunately, this type of abuse by family is another risk the elderly need to be conscious of."

Generally speaking, Roszkowiak said people who give power of attorney should create checks and balances by choosing more than one person, setting up review sessions, and setting a limit on how much money can be moved at one time or per month.

"Is this the first time we've investigated a crime against a senior citizen? Unfortunately no," Roszkowiak said. "Every community deals with this issue."

Roszkowiak said groups of people make a living and have turf wars over pretending to be repairmen and robbing people of jewelry and cash. He said seniors should always call the company or family who ordered the service before letting anyone inside the house.

But for this 86-year-old Libertyville woman, Roszkowiak said everything happened without her knowledge and Henry is not part of any organized crime group or larger conspiracy.

"The elderly are often seen as easy targets because they've let their guard down after getting through the rigors of life," Roszkowiak said. "We should all make time to check in on our loved ones and neighbors."

Full Article & Source:
Family member charged with stealing $200K from Libertyville woman

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Attorney Indicted for Allegedly Impersonating Judge, Wins Judgeship

The winner of a judicial election may not get to serve — because she once allegedly impersonated a judge. Rhonda Crawford is currently facing an indictment and a suspended law license for pretending to be a judge and hearing cases.

Illinois’ highest court had already blocked Crawford from being sworn in before the election took place, but that didn’t stop her from getting more votes than her opponent, sitting judge Maryam Ahmad, who staged a write-in campaign. Ahmad was not pleased with the results. “She’s not the winner,” she told The Chicago Sun-Times. “She can’t take the bench. She’s just the person who got the most votes.”

Crawford’s scandalous misdeed took place last August, when she was clerking for Circuit Judge Valarie Turner. Turner gave her robe to Crawford, and allegedly let her preside over three traffic cases. When it was discovered that Crawford wasn’t the real judge, the cases had to be dismissed.

Chief Judge Timonty Evans, who hired Crawford for her position with the 1st Judicial Subcircuit, which includes Chicago’s South Side, fired her immediately. Judge Turner was relegated to administrative duty, but went on medical leave soon after.

Crawford said at a September press conference that she did not decide any cases or make any judgments. “I did not tell anyone I was the judge,” she claimed, saying she had been shadowing Turner, who instructed her to take the bench.

Despite winning, Crawford will not be able to serve as a judge if she permanently loses her law license or is convicted of a felony, according to the Sun-Times. She is scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing that will determine the fate of her bar status, and has been charged with one felony count of official misconduct and one misdemeanor count of false impersonation. If Crawford is disqualified from serving, the state Supreme Court can fill the position with someone else, who would serve until the 2018 election.

Full Article & Source:
Attorney Indicted for Allegedly Impersonating Judge, Wins Judgeship

SNF fined $100,000 after residents overdose on heroin

An Illinois skilled nursing facility is facing more than $100,000 in state and federal penalties after five of its residents overdosed on heroin in February, according to local reports.

The five residents of Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation in Chicago were hospitalized and recovered following the overdoses, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday. Two residents then allegedly used heroin within hours of returning to the facility, with one overdosing again.

A sixth overdose that reportedly occurred at the facility in September 2015 is also under investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services imposed a $76,000 civil monetary penalty on Continental for the February overdose incidents. Continental, which cares for a mix of older adults and younger residents with mental illness, said in a plan of corrections accepted by CMS in April that it has “ceased admitting any residents with active substance abuse.”

Continental is also fighting a $25,000 fine from the Department of Public Health that claims facility officials failed to monitor and treat residents with drug addictions. Police were also reportedly called to the facility in October 2015 after residents told staff about incidents of drug abuse. Workers searched the facility and found items used to cook and inject drugs, which were turned over to the police.

The facility has also had 60 police reports of alleged batteries filed between 2011 and 2015, and is currently the focus of a lawsuit filed by the family of a resident who broke his hips after falling from a 4th-floor window he was trying to rappel out of using bed sheets, according to the Tribune report.

"If you look at our company historically, we generally give good care," Continental co-owner Moishe Gubin told the Tribune. Gubin said he was not aware of the heroin overdoses or any other issues at the facility.

If the reported overdose incidents did occur, “it goes against what our mission has been," Gubin said.

The facility's administrator, Jonathan Dixon, echoed Gubin's sentiments in an email to the newspaper, saying, “We consistently strive to provide the highest quality of care, in a safe environment."

Full Article & Source:
SNF fined $100,000 after residents overdose on heroin

Woman dies by euthanasia, may only have had a bladder infection.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I received an email from a person, whose Aunt died by euthanasia, even though she might only have a bladder infection. This email letter proves out that the supposed safeguards in Canada's euthanasia law are ineffective and ignored by euthanasia doctors who are deciding who lives and who dies. 

The letter is edited for privacy:
My Aunt ... was just Euthanized today Nov 9, 2016 by Lethal injection at ... Retirement Home ... in BC. We were called to a meeting at ... Hospice on Nov 7, 2016 to be told for the first time that our ... Aunt had requested to be Euthanized. We were told it would take at least 10 days. My sister and I argued that our Aunt appears to only have a severe Bladder infection. The Hospice Doctor said he would look into having her urine tested for this before they proceed with Euthanasia. 
The same day we were sent over to our Aunts apartment to witness the doctor (that is going to give our Aunt the Lethal injection) having our Aunt sign the document to give her the permission to do the euthansia. After the Doctor read out the document to My Aunt; the doctor went and got a woman that works in the kitchen to initial all the questions for my Aunt. The Doctor brought two people to be witnesses into the room that had been witnesses for other Euthanizations. 
When we mentioned the urine tests we had asked to be done; the euthanizing Doctor said it would make no difference because my Aunt has already signed permission for her euthania. The euthanizing Doctor said she is going to put a rush on the Euthania. To my even more shock the Doctor gave My Aunt the lethal injection today. It all took less than three days from start to finish. The Doctor did the three Doctor visits to my Aunt in three consecutive days. I am so upset. 
This was so wrong ... name withheld.
This letter indicates that the euthanasia doctor was not concerned that the woman may only have a bladder infection and the legally suggested 10 day waiting period was simply ignored so that the lethal injection occurred within 3 days before the woman could change her mind.

Sadly this letter proves that EPC's assessment of euthanasia Bill C-14 was correct

Bill C-14 required a 10 day waiting period unless the doctor waived the waiting period, meaning it was a false safeguard. 

Bill C-14 required the person's natural death to be reasonably forseeable, but at the same time the bill stated that the doctor or nurse practitioner who does the lethal injection must only be "of the opinion" that the person fit the criteria of the law. In other words, the law provided legal cover when a physician or nurse practitioner mistakenly kills someone.

The Aunt is dead and now it is too late to suggest that after 10 days her bladder infection may have cleared up and her request for lethal injection may have passed.

For more information read: New assisted dying law will claim unintended victims.

Full Article & Source:
Woman dies by euthanasia, may only have had a bladder infection.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Family Affair: Five Ways To Foil Family Financial Abuse

I know family members are responsible for elder financial abuse because I’ve seen it happen. It occurs more often than you think.

The scenario goes like this: A sibling “takes over the management” of Mom or Dad’s finance. They obtain power of attorney and start fleecing their own parents. I wish I could say this is a rare scenario, but it isn’t.

In one piece that I wrote, I came across a son who had robbed his 103-year-old mother. She had to go to court to stop the exploitation.

According to the SIFMA Senior Investor Protection Resource Center, of the $3 billion in elder financial fraud, more than half of the crimes are committed by family members or caregivers.

“In cases where such exploitation is discovered, it is often only after large, questionable requests or aggressive power of attorney tactics,” the SIFMA Center notes.

“On top of this, senior investors are also heavily targeted by fraudsters who often utilize common schemes such as the Jamaican Lottery Scam, Nigerian Letter Fraud, Sweetheart Scams, Granny Scams, Contest Scams, and the Sale of Non-Existent Investment Products.

Moreover, it is estimated that only 1 in 44 instances of senior financial exploitation is ever reported.”

How can you protect your family members from fraud? Here are what financial watchdogs recommend:

– Have a responsible family member monitor and pay bills. More than two family members should be involved. That way you can spot any large charges, withdrawals or changes in account ownership.

– Financial (durable) power of attorney should be granted to the most responsible, financially savvy siblings. That way, in the event of cognitive decline, a family trustee can take over. Siblings who’ve had financial setbacks or suddenly move in with Mom or Dad should be monitored closely.

– Keep in touch with all financial professionals in your parents’ lives. You should have access to their lawyer, accountant, financial planner and broker. Are they making any major moves such as cashing out accounts or buying new investments? Talk to them every week.

-- Know your recourse. If there’s fraud involved, you can always involve your state attorney general’s office. You can also file for arbitration against brokers.

– Communicate with your elders. Have they met a “new friend” who just happens to be selling insurance, brokerage products or real estate? Are they going to “free” lunches sponsored by brokers?

There are lots of scams out there. You can’t be on top of every one, but you can certainly be vigilant with your relatives.

For more on how to prevent financial abuse, click here.

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A Family Affair: Five Ways To Foil Family Financial Abuse

Beechview attorney, county clerk face charges in alleged estate scheme

A Beechview-based attorney and an employee of Allegheny County's Department of Court Records Wills/​Orphans’ Court Division have been charged criminally today in relation to the filing of an estate that was later voided.

Attorney Thomas O’Neill, 75, of Beechview and county probate clerk Thomas Halligan, 58, of Wilkins both face charges of securing execution of documents by deception, false swearing, tampering with public records and obstructing administration of law.

According to an affidavit by detective Jackelyn Weibel, of the Allegheny County Office of the District Attorney, the two worked together in August on the million-dollar estate of doctor John D. Wargo, who died in July. A friend of his who lives in Virginia sought to open an estate as the executrix, but had only a copy of the will, not the original.

The friend had initially contacted another local attorney, who told her about the difficult process of determining whether there is an available, original will. She later called that attorney, according to the affidavit, and said “she had decided to go down another road.” The other attorney later reached out to investigators.

The affidavit describes the “other road” as a winding one featuring the two charged men and a suspicious signature.

Video surveillance of the wills office showed that on Aug. 11, Mr. O’Neill approached the counter at which Mr. Halligan worked, and “slowly and painstakingly signed” an estate document, according to the affidavit. Mr. Halligan then put it into a counter drawer, according to the affidavit. The executrix was not present, but the investigation later showed that her name was on one of the signature lines.

According to the affidavit, Mr. Halligan sought two weeks later to “reverse” the estate — an act which the affidavit described as “very unusual.”

According to the affidavit, when detectives later interviewed Mr. Halligan, he “stated that he made a mistake in judgment,” and voided everything. He told detectives he “did not watch O'Neill sign the forms” but confirmed that he “doesn't know how else they would have gotten signed.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in September reported the existence of an investigation into Mr. O’Neill and the office. Four people who had filed estates with the office said they had been steered by staff to Mr. O’Neill.

Such recommendations are at odds with county policies, under which members of the public with legal questions must be referred to the Allegheny County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service.

Mr. Halligan was suspended from his $47,590-a-year job at the time.

Full Article & Source:
Beechview attorney, county clerk face charges in alleged estate scheme

“I Feel Like I’m Not Well-Balanced on the Earth”

A video diary of my dementia.

In 2010, Gerda Saunders learned she had cerebral microvascular disease, a precursor to dementia. A writer and academic, she began to keep a journal of how her diagnosis and the advancing disease altered her life and identity. At 61, with startling clarity and intellectual might, she set out to chronicle her own decline.

In 2014, Slate published an essay by Saunders, “My Dementia,” that captured some of this project and enthralled readers. Now VideoWest, from Utah NPR affiliate KUER, is bringing an arresting new dimension to Saunders’ diary: an ongoing docuseries featuring her and her family as they work through the changes and decisions ahead. Watch the first episode above. Slate will continue to publish this occasional series in the months ahead.

Full Article, Video & Source:
“I Feel Like I’m Not Well-Balanced on the Earth”

Monday, November 14, 2016

Kenny Chesney - While He Still Knows Who I Am - An Alzheimer's Tribute

Source: Kenny Chesney - While He Still Knows Who I Am - An Alzheimer's Tribute

Law Society insurance covers theft by lawyers, not by their employees

Lawyer Hong Guo
A number of Chinese investors are facing big losses that a Law Society spokesperson says are unlikely to be covered by trust fund insurance after $7.5 million disappeared from a Richmond lawyer’s accounts.

Hong Guo, a prominent immigration and real estate lawyer in Richmond, has alleged in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit that two former employees conspired with accomplices to steal $7.5 million from her trust fund.

The B.C. Law Society says that after Guo reported the trust fund shortage this summer, the society took control of the fund and related client files and is investigating.

The Law Society has a trust fund insurance program to cover money lost from legal trusts. But Guo’s clients may not be eligible. The Society’s insurance fund rules say clients are only eligible to recover trust fund losses if the lawyer steals the funds.

“Lawyer theft from a trust account is covered by this policy — employee theft from a trust account is not,” Law Society spokeswoman Vinnie Yuen confirmed in an email. When a lawyer steals client money from a trust account, under the Law Society’s trust protection coverage, the most compensation a claimant can receive is $300,000.

In order for B.C. lawyers to insure against employee theft, lawyers must purchase special fidelity insurance not included in B.C. Law Society insurance coverage.

But this coverage is not mandatory, Yuen said.

In an interview with Postmedia this week Guo said her firm did not carry optional insurance to cover employee thefts.

Also, Yuen said professional liability insurance, which is also provided under the Law Society’s insurance fund, “covers lawyer negligence and ensures that clients receive the compensation to which they are legally entitled if a lawyer makes a mistake while providing legal services.”

“However, this insurance for negligence does not cover losses from a lawyer’s trust account in any way connected to a dishonest or fraudulent act,” Yuen said.

According to legal filings, at least five property transactions were affected in the Hong Guo trust fund case. Three Chinese citizens who hired Guo to complete their property sales allege they lost a total of $1.38 million in “holdback funds.” In real estate conveyances, the lawyer hired to transfer a property after it is sold will often keep a large portion of sale proceeds in trust until the Canadian Revenue Agency determines whether a non-resident investor tax bill will be issued.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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Law Society insurance covers theft by lawyers, not by their employees

Investigation Reveals “Epidemic” of Illegal Nursing Home Evictions

Advocates for the elderly are calling attention to nursing home evictions that violate federal law. Their complaints find support in an Associated Press investigation.

According to elder law attorneys, nursing homes are weeding out their most challenging residents, including those with dementia and severe disabilities. Nursing homes want to replace those residents with others who require less attention from staff.

About 1.4 million patients live in about 15,600 nursing homes. Both numbers have been steadily declining as children increasingly find other housing options for elderly parents, including assisted living facilities and in-home care providers. Perhaps because demand is declining, the AP investigation suggests that nursing homes are maintaining profitability by “cherry picking” the easiest patients.

AP Analysis of Nursing Home Evictions

The Associated Press examined complaints filed with the federal Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Each state has an ombudsman who attempts to resolve problems faced by residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other adult-care facilities.

The AP determined that complaints about involuntary transfers and evictions have increased by 57% since 2000. More than 11,000 discharge complaints were made to ombudsmen in 2014, making transfers and evictions the top-reported grievance that year.

An elder law attorney who directs the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative told the AP that evictions and involuntary transfers are emotionally devastating to nursing home patients, who are deprived not just of a home but of the community to which they have formed an emotional bond. Evictions separate patients from the friends and companions who provide a shield against depression.

Nursing Home Regulations

Nursing homes are permitted to discharge or involuntarily transfer patients under certain conditions. The Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 permits patients to be involuntarily transferred or discharged when:
  • the facility can no longer meet the needs of the patient’s welfare;
  • the patient no longer needs the services provided by the facility;
  • the safety or health of individuals in the facility is endangered by the patient; or
  • the patient has failed to pay for care (provided that the patient has been given 30 days’ notice of nonpayment).
Residents are presumptively entitled to 30 days’ notice if eviction is for reasons other than nonpayment. Since there are several exceptions to the 30-day notice requirement, however, the amount of notice that is required in any particular case is often unclear.

Eviction Motivations: Safety or Profitability?

Nursing homes must attempt to alleviate disruptive or aggressive behavior rather than turning to transfer or discharge as a first option. Patient advocates say that nursing homes stretch the rules, claiming (for instance) that they cannot provide adequate care for a patient with dementia even though the patient is still in the early stages of the disease, or that the patient poses a safety risk even though the patient’s behavior has been disruptive but nonthreatening. In many cases, the facility could provide adequate care but would prefer to serve patients who are less demanding.

A trade association for nursing homes takes the position that procedures are in place to assure that evictions comply with the law. The association’s senior vice president told the AP that some patients “require so much staff attention to manage them that the other residents are endangered.”

Advocates for the elderly agree that patients are evicted when nursing homes perceive them as taking too much staff time. They contend that the solution is to hire more staff, not to discharge the patients who need attention. Advocates also complain that nursing homes discharge patients whose children have made complaints about substandard care.

Managing only “easy” patients allows nursing homes to handle more patients with fewer staff members. Maintaining a balance of “easy” and “difficult” patients, on the other hand, requires nursing homes to increase staffing levels. Elder advocates argue that too many nursing homes maximize profits by operating with too few staff members.

Elder advocates also point to nursing homes that discharge patients who are on Medicaid so that beds can be made available for private-pay patients. Nursing homes make substantially more money per patient when they are not limited to the Medicaid reimbursement rate.

Poor Enforcement of Laws

Patients are entitled to appeal a discharge or transfer decision. Even when patients are aware of that right and muster the resources to pursue an appeal, nursing homes often disregard adverse decisions. A number of children told the AP about nursing homes that refused to follow orders to readmit their parents.

According to an elder law attorney with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, illegal evictions have reached epidemic levels. After reviewing nursing home violations in Philadelphia over a three-year period, the attorney could find only one instance in which an operator was actually cited for an involuntary discharge. The citation that was issued in that case carried no fine. Knowing that eviction rules have no teeth, nursing homes don’t worry about the law’s bite.

Proposed reforms range from stronger enforcement of existing laws to holding nursing home administrators personally liable for illegal evictions. Assuring that patients understand their legal rights is another option. Higher reimbursement rates for Medicare patients, particularly those with dementia who may require more staff time, might also encourage nursing homes to comply with existing laws.

Full Article & Source:
Investigation Reveals “Epidemic” of Illegal Nursing Home Evictions

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tonight on T. S. Radio: Domestic Terrorism in Nevada

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST …8:00 pm EST

Charles and Heidi Pascal join us from Nevada to report on the ongoing terrorism by professional guardians, especially the notoriously infamous Jared Shafer. Elderly? Disabled? You are a prime target for a predatory guardianship.

Charles tells the story of the kidnapping of his mother-in-law, Marcy Dudeck, and the subsequent theft of her estate by Jared Shafer. He also discusses the ongoing corruption in guardianship cases in Nevada that appears to be unstoppable. Jared Shafer claims to be the architect of this predatory system.

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

See Also:
NAGSA:  Marcy E. Dudeck, NV/CA

How to make a homeless veterans project hip? It takes a village of tiny houses

Their original plan was OK though much lacking in curb appeal.

Last year a few combat veterans from around Kansas City set out to find housing for dozens of their homeless comrades: Maybe raise enough funds to buy an abandoned school? Or a vacant motel?

Well intentioned. But ho-hum.

Then the group started talking about tiny houses, 12 feet by 20 feet, and created real buzz. The Veterans Community Project is now one of the hottest outreach efforts in town.

A planned village of as many as 50 “micro homes,” cuddly as could be, built to code and rent-free. Each with a bathroom, bed, desk and kitchen.

Credit swell timing: Who by now hasn’t heard of America’s tiny-house craze?

Yet back then, retired Marine Corps veteran Kevin Jamison hadn’t.

He and others searching for solutions to veteran homelessness were in the middle of their weekly brainstorms — beers at a Northland Houlihan’s — when one of the attendees, Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar, mentioned a broadcast about tiny houses that she saw on the HGTV channel.

“I’m thinking...what, like a fishing cabin?” recalled Jamison.

That was just 15 months ago.

Jamison and Army veteran Chris Stout, both who served tours in Iraq (and Afghanistan for Stout), researched a few miniature-house communities — some of them makeshift slums — in other cities.

The partners vowed to make their project one of lasting quality, a neighborhood ex-service members deserved.

They had enough of a plan to go to the news media last Veterans Day. They’ll admit now that they weren’t really sure what they were doing.

But as Veterans Day 2016 nears (Nov. 11), the first 10 tiny houses of the Veterans Community Project (VCP) are sprouting on 4.2 acres of never-developed land at Troost Avenue and 89th Street.

Human help, donated supplies and mostly private funding are the keys.

Full Article, Video & Source:
How to make a homeless veterans project hip? It takes a village of tiny houses

UTIs Cause Behavioral, Not Physical Symptoms in Elders

Denise Altman's 81-year-old mother suffers from chronic depression which often makes her sad and agitated. When her mom acted confused on the phone or had a glassy-eyed look in person, Altman and her sister, who shared in their mother's caretaking duties, figured the symptoms were just a result of their mom's depression. The confusion would last a few days and was often followed by a fever, and then their mother complained of painful urination a few days later. Finally, a doctor diagnosed Altman's mother with a urinary tract infection, or UTI. But the infection would reoccur, causing the sisters concern.

Altman's sister began charting their mother's symptoms. Each time she suffered the confusion and fever, a UTI diagnosis came just days later.

"It took us a while, several months actually, to determine that when our Mom got into these states, it wasn't just the depression," recalls Altman. "It never occurred to my sister and me that the symptoms could be a UTI."

That's because older adults often present different symptoms of a urinary tract infection, explains Amanda Smith, M.D., medical director at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute at the University of South Florida. In fact, UTI symptoms in older people are often behavioral.

What Is a UTI?

A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, most commonly the bladder. For most people, the need to urinate frequently and/or urgently are two key symptoms of a UTI. So is a burning sensation when you go, and urine that is an off color or has an odor. Sometimes, a small amount of blood in the urine is visible. But in older adults, those symptoms are often missing. Instead, older adults may suffer from unexplained incontinence, vague fatigue or significant changes their behavior and mental status.

"Older people can get markedly confused, agitated, or sleepy," says Dr. Smith. "Sometimes they can see things that aren't there, like bugs crawling on the ceiling. They can have false beliefs and become paranoid."

According to Dr. Smith, a UTI is the most common cause of a sudden increase in confusion in an older person with dementia. The medical community isn't sure why older people have these heightened behavioral symptoms, although with dementia patients, the inability to communicate may be part of the reason.

What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?

So why do people get UTIs in the first place? In younger people, urinary tract infections are sometimes related to frequent sexual activity. But in older folks, hygiene changes may come into play, either because of confusion or physical limitations – such as arthritis or suffering a stroke – which can make it difficult for a person to keep themselves clean.

UTI Warning Signs for Seniors

Caregivers play an important role in recognizing new health issues in a loved one. Dr. Smith suggests that caregivers be on the lookout for these six symptoms:
  1. The need to go to the bathroom frequently or urgently
  2. Complaints of discomfort while urinating
  3. Frequently touching themselves
  4. Cloudy, dark or foul-smelling urine
  5. A new onset of incontinence
  6. Any sudden change in mental status such as lethargy, hallucinations, restlessness, violence or yelling that was not present before

Seeking Treatment for a UTI

Dr. Smith also warns caregivers to seek medical attention as soon as possible if their loved one becomes difficult to wake up, since this can be a sign of delirium, which is considered a medical emergency.

Urinary tract infections sometimes resolve on their own, but they are easily treated with antibiotics. When left untreated, UTIs can lead to chronic incontinence. However, this infection can spread to the kidneys and cause serious damage. When that happens, patients often experience a fever and severe pain. More importantly, the infection could spread to the bloodstream and cause sepsis or even death in some cases.

Once Altman recognized the behavioral symptoms that often accompany her mother's UTIs she and her sister could be more vigilant about having their mother tested and prescribed medication. "It's nice to have that early warning," she notes. "It's well worth sending in a specimen when the symptoms become apparent, as early treatment saves our mom days of feeling bad and being more confused than usual."

Full Article & Source:
UTIs Cause Behavioral, Not Physical Symptoms in Elders