Saturday, January 7, 2017

Keep Your Brain Healthy, Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s

More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, incurable condition that robs them of their memory and often changes their very personality.

A new documentary airing on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Jan. 25 examines the disease and what will be needed to confront it.

Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, produced by Twin Cities PBS (the parent of Next Avenue), features interviews with doctors, researchers and caregivers. The focus is on the urgent need for more research, especially as the large boomer generation ages.

One of those interviewed is Dr. Rudolph Tanzi of Harvard Medical School, a longtime Alzheimer’s researcher.

The video below consists of special footage that does not appear in the documentary. Its creators have provided Next Avenue with this exclusive clip. Watch as Tanzi shares his advice to encourage brain health — and possibly decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s. No. 2 on his list of top tips will surprise you.

Full Article & Source:
Keep Your Brain Healthy, Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s

New Tennessee law focuses on combatting vulnerable adult abuse

Sullivan County District Attorney Barry Staubus hopes that a new Tennessee law going into effect on Jan. 1 will be the key to combating vulnerable adult abuse similar to the progress that has been made in fighting child abuse.

Vulnerable adults are defined in the law as anyone over the age of 18 who because of a mental or physical disability cannot manage their resources, perform daily tasks or protect themselves from abusive situations.

“For years it was embarrassing to report it,” Staubus said of child abuse. “We’ve seen a tremendous transition where more and more people will report child abuse so that we can help children and hold the wrong-doers accountable. We’re hoping the same process will happen with vulnerable adults.”

The new law requires all Tennessee district attorneys to establish a multi-disciplinary vulnerable adult protective investigative team, or VAPIT, to coordinate investigation of cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults.

“This law is based on some tried and true techniques and foundations that are used in child abuse cases,” Staubus said. “We want people to know that this team exists, that this process exists, that these resources exist and if they know of any adults they suspect are being abused sexually or physically or being neglected or financially being taken advantage of to report that.”

Reports can be made by calling Tennessee’s Adult Protective Services hotline at 1-888-277-8366 or by visiting Anyone that reports to APS is kept anonymous under the law but if they’re a witness to a crime or criminal activity they could be called as a witness.

“I’ve got some pending [cases] now in which people have almost literally been starved to death,” said Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Amy Hinkle. “There’s actually been several of those reported in the last month.”

The law will provide more outreach and awareness, better trained officers to detect vulnerable adult abuse, and more resources to help victims.

Sullivan County’s VAPIT has already met and team members have attended training. Staubus said officials have learned that outreach and awareness is an important part of cases being reported and prosecuted.

Exploitation of vulnerable adults is on the rise in Sullivan County, especially of the elderly, according to Staubus. The population of adults that are 65 years or older is also increasing, which means there are more people to take advantage of, he said.

“Many of these cases are driven by people that need drugs or need money,” Staubus said. “So they turn to their grandmother, their elderly aunt, or their neighbor they’re supposed to be taking care of and what they end up doing is stealing their [prescription] drugs or stealing their money.”

While more people are beginning to report cases of exploitation, Hinkle said, neglect of vulnerable adults - especially the elderly - is also on the rise in the county, she said.

There have been several cases of people being left in their homes with no food or medication and in filthy environments, including in urine and feces. In one case, Hinkle said, a woman fell out of her bed and laid there for 12 hours before someone arrived to help her.

The team will also reinforce the goal of the future Sullivan County Family Justice Center, Staubus said. The center will be a one-stop location for victims of domestic violence to receive help from law enforcement, the Department of Children’s Services, legal services, the Children’s Advocacy Center and Abuse Alternatives.

“We want to make more of the public aware that we’re making a concentrated effort to protect vulnerable adults,” Staubus said. “We want to help these folks and the people that perpetrate the crimes; we want to do everything that the law allows us to do to punish them for what they’ve done.”

Staubus expects more programs will be developed in the future and awareness of vulnerable adult abuse will improve. The goal, Staubus said, is not only to prosecute cases but to prevent the crimes from occurring.

Full Article & Source:
New Tennessee law focuses on combatting vulnerable adult abuse

Pseudodementia is Often Curable

Pseudodementia walks and talks like dementia, but it often responds positively, with treatment permanently improving cognition. Learn how recognizing the difference can change one's life.

Pseudodementia was first coined in 1961 by psychiatrist Leslie Kiloh. Dr. Kiloh noticed patients with cognitive symptoms consistent with dementia who improved with treatment, a pattern inconsistent with the progressive neurodegenerative nature of dementia.



Pseudodementia can be caused by a large variety of underlying disorders, but most commonly, it is depression masquerading as dementia.

Depressed elderly patients may exhibit substantial cognitive deficits. To further complicate the clinician's task, people with dementia are often depressed. For example, 20% to 40% of Alzheimer's patients have major depression (Brown, 2005). This makes the relationship between depression and dementia very complicated. So the question is how to differentiate the two.

Pseudodementia can sometimes be the result of causes that are “not real” and even “fake”. Pseudodementia can be the result of psychological tension that is not caused by a physical illness. Notwithstanding, it is more likely that it is caused by a real brain pathology.

Telling Depression & Dementia Apart

In contrast to the gradual onset of dementia, pseudodemented depression comes on rapidly. Furthermore, whereas the pseudodemented patient appears distressed and may express fear of losing his mind, the person with true dementia often seems relatively unconcerned and tends to minimize his problem.

Continued below table...

Source: Clinical Concerns

The truly demented patient is usually inattentive and has greater impairment of recent than remote memory. In contrast, the depressed patient, though attentive, will complain of both kinds of memory loss and then test better than what he describes. He is also more likely to have had previous similar episodes.

While a demented person may cooperate and try to bluff his way through the testing, the pseudodemented person is often uncooperative, insisting that he cannot do it. This should not be confused with malingering but seen more as a reflection of the feeling of inadequacy that goes along with serious depression.

Treating Pseudodementia

When treated (as depression), in contrast to true dementia, pseudodementia often responds positively. While the depression may be treatable, treatment rarely achieves a full reversal of the cognitive impairment that made the doctor suspect dementia.

Risk Factors

Unfortunately, recent studies suggest pseudodementia carries an increased risk for the subsequent development of true dementia (Brown, 2005). It may turn out that depression in the elderly, at least in some cases, is an early signal of dementia. Still, if at the initial presentation the problem is mainly depression, it is important that it be recognized and treated accordingly.

Clinical Suspicion is Essential

In summary, psychiatric symptoms that bring on dementia-like deficits in the elderly result from a host of conditions. Many of them are readily treatable, if properly recognized. The term "pseudodementia" provides a "starting" language that offers a useful step in getting to a more accurate diagnosis and treatment. A high index of clinical suspicion is essential.

Full Article & Source:
Pseudodementia is Often Curable

Friday, January 6, 2017

Las Vegas lawyer accused of stealing millions from clients arrested

Embattled probate lawyer Robert Graham was arrested Wednesday after being indicted by a Clark County grand jury in connection with the theft of $2.1 million from clients.

He faces three felony counts each of theft and exploitation of an older/vulnerable person, and two gross misdemeanor counts of destroying evidence.

Chief Deputy District Attorney J.P. Raman said in court Wednesday that Graham may have stolen more than $15 million from his clients.

Records show that Graham was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on $5 million bail.
District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a news release that the investigation is ongoing and he expects to file more charges.

“We felt it was necessary to quickly seek an indictment on this case to ensure that evidence was preserved and that Mr. Graham was unable to cause any further financial damage to families in our community,” Wolfson said. ”Attorneys are held to a high ethical standard, which evokes a certain level of trust from their clients, and the violation of that trust is unacceptable.”

The State Bar of Nevada filed a complaint against Graham last month alleging that he stole millions of dollars from dozens of clients before abruptly closing his Lawyers West office in Summerlin on Dec. 2.

Las Vegas police and the FBI have been jointly investigating the disappearance of the funds.

The indictment alleges Graham stole $2.1 million from clients in three of his cases between July 9, 2013, and Dec. 2, 2016. Two of the cases involved elderly victims and one involved a “vulnerable” victim, according to the indictment.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Raman said. “There will be many, many more victims and much more monetary theft.”

While Graham shuttered his firm, he logged into a corporate “Dropbox” account and deleted nearly 3,000 files that related to clients, wire transfers and operations, according to the prosecutor.
“He’s facing extremely serious criminal charges — not only what we have on him today, but what we’ll be bringing in the future,” Raman said. “He will obviously be facing significant punishment when he answers to the full scope of the crimes committed.”

Deputy Public Defender Bryan Cox, representing Graham in the criminal case, said late Wednesday that he has had “ongoing dialogue” with prosecutors and provided them with documents.
Asked about deleted files, Cox said, “We strongly disagree with, and we deny that allegation.” He added that Graham may have moved files to a hard drive “for preservation.”

“It’s our contention that no files have been deleted or erased,” Cox said.

The defense attorney also said he planned to address Graham’s custody status at a future court hearing, though no date has been set.

“We don’t believe he’s a flight risk,” Cox said.

The indictment alleges that Graham stole $1.1 million from the estate of Michael Macknin, $595,596 from the estate of Lois Lee and $471,585 from the special needs trust of Thane Parton.

One of the Macknin family lawyers, Joseph Kistler, hailed the district attorney’s pursuit of the indictment.

“Mr. Wolfson is an honorable, ethical attorney who undoubtedly shares the community’s dismay caused by these events,” Kistler said in an email. “My client joins with the other former clients of Lawyers West and Robert Graham, LTD in trusting that justice will be done for themselves and the State of Nevada.”

Kistler has been waging a separate fight in Clark County District Court to obtain the $1.1 million Graham had held for the Macknin estate.

The estate is among several former clients who joined forces to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Graham’s law practice last month to recover their missing money.

Graham, a prominent figure in the probate legal community before his temporary suspension in December, operated his law practice under three separate entities, including Lawyers West. He also once maintained offices in Utah and Colorado.

Just days after shutting down his office, Graham turned over possession of a $1 million home in Fort Collins, Colorado, to his wife.

Records show that Linda Graham filed for bankruptcy in Colorado on Dec. 31.

She estimated in the bankruptcy petition that her assets were worth $1 million to $10 million, but that her financial liabilities were between $10 million and $50 million.

Among her listed potential creditors are many of her husband’s former clients.

Linda Graham, who also is a lawyer, said in the petition she is now suing him for divorce in Colorado.

She also said there is a $713,146 mortgage on the home and that she owes the IRS $111,727.
The Grahams bought the 4,247-square-foot home together in Colorado in July 2014 for $955,000, records in that state show. But on Dec. 5, amid allegations that his clients’ money was missing, Graham filed a new deed turning over the home to his wife.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month, Graham described his law practice as a 20-year business failure. He declined, however, to explain what had happened to the missing funds.

Full Article & Source:
Las Vegas lawyer accused of stealing millions from clients arrested

S.C. Rep. Corley indicted on two felony charges; suspended from legislature

This Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 photo provided by the Aiken County Detention Center, S.C., shows South Carolina Rep. Chris Corley, who authorities said attacked his wife in their Graniteville home. He was charged with first-degree domestic violence. (Aiken County Detention Center via AP)

South Carolina state Rep. Chris Corley has been indicted on one count of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and one count pointing and presenting a firearm, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

As a result, he has been suspended from the state legislature, according to the state House Speaker’s Office.

“The Aiken County Grand Jury has indicted Representative Chris Corley on multiple felony charges. Pursuant to state law, he has been suspended effective immediately from the South Carolina House of Representatives,” Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) said in a statement.

The Aiken County Grand Jury returned the indictments Wednesday, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office. The indictment accuses Corley of causing physical harm to his wife on Dec. 26 in the presence of minors with a gun.

Domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Pointing and presenting a firearm is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine.

According to a police incident report, an Aiken County sheriff’s deputy arrested Corley on accusations of punching his wife in the face and head and threatening to kill her while pointing a Smith & Wesson handgun at her. The report stated that the incident happened in front of the couple’s 8- and 2-year-old children.

Corley, 36, told the officer that his wife tried to hit him in the face and that he pushed her away.

Corley was first elected to the South Carolina House in 2014, according to previous reports. He was a fierce opponent of the governor’s push to remove the Rebel flag from the state Capitol last year and caused a stir by mailing Christmas cards last year that featured the flag with a caption that read, in part, “happier times when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand up for what is right.”

The flag was removed in response to avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof’s slaying of nine black church members in Charleston.

Bond for Corley was set Dec. 27 at $10,000 on each of the two charges. Conditions of Corley’s bond prohibit him from having any contact with his wife – in person, by email, over the phone or through a third party. He must stay at least 500 feet away from her, the judge ordered.

He also may not possess any firearm. Corley requested and was granted permission to travel to Augusta for work, where he is a lawyer.

Corley’s lawyer told the judge that Corley had never been arrested before, and Capt. Eric Abdullah said the sheriff’s office had no prior calls to the Corley residence.

Upcoming hearings in Corley’s case have been set for Feb. 10 and May 5.

Full Article & Source:
S.C. Rep. Corley indicted on two felony charges; suspended from legislature

Caregiving Costly For Special Needs Families

Families of children with special needs provide billions of dollars in unpaid medical care each year, researchers say, significantly compromising their own ability to earn a living.

Data collected from more than 40,000 parents or guardians of those with special needs across the country suggests that about half of these kids — some 5.6 million children — need assistance at home with managing everything from feeding to breathing equipment and physical therapy.

“If parents did not provide this care at home, children would need to stay in the hospital longer, professionals would need to come to the home or children might not get the care that their physicians prescribe,” said Mark Schuster, chief of general pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and a senior investigator on the study which was published recently in the journal Pediatrics.

“Parents want to do everything they can for their children, but it can be a real challenge to juggle their ill child, their other children and sometimes their job,” he said.

All told, families provide nearly $36 billion worth of care annually, the study found. On average, kids with special needs received 5.1 hours of medical care from family members each week, but that figure grew to 11.2 hours weekly for those with intellectual disability and 14.4 hours for those with cerebral palsy.

These estimates don’t factor time families spend helping with daily activities like bathing and dressing, researchers said.

The findings come from an analysis of data collected through the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.

Families lose out on an estimated $3,200 in earnings per year related to their medical caregiving responsibilities for each child, the study found, or over $17 billion collectively. If they were to hire aides to provide medical care, it would run between $2,100 and $6,400 annually per child, costs that researchers said can be prohibitive for many families.

Beyond the financial toll, those behind that study noted that the added responsibilities of providing medical care for a child can also bring emotional stress.

“We need to do a better job of training family caregivers in how to take care of their children at home, and we need better supports for them,” Schuster said.

Full Article & Source:
Caregiving Costly For Special Needs Families

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Safeguarding Guardianship: An Interbranch Approach

by Lisa McKinney

The Texas Legislature passed 10 bills in 2015 reforming the legal framework governing guardianship in the state, a feat that Texas state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, who sponsored or co-sponsored all of the bills, attributes to cooperation and communication between the Legislature, which creates guidelines that govern the process; the courts, which are primarily responsible for establishing and overseeing guardianships; and executive agencies that provide public guardianship services for those who do not have appropriate family members to serve as guardians.

“The guardian is a very powerful person, so the courts have tremendous power,” said Zaffirini. She said she understood this most vividly when while a visiting nursing home, a resident named James Ryan requested to see her. He was almost entirely paralyzed due to a stroke, but was able to communicate via a specially-equipped computer.

“He wrote me a letter using his computer, which then read it to me, thanking me for my work,” she said. “I was so moved. To this day my staff and I work with James Ryan.” At his request, Zaffirini and her staff had Ryan transferred out of the nursing home and arranged for a family member to be paid to care for him.

“His mind is clear as it can be, but he felt he had no power—he said he couldn’t even commit suicide if he wanted to,” she said. “You don’t know what is going on in a person’s mind.”

The process for placing an adult under guardianship varies by state, but each branch of government plays a role in ensuring guardianship is a safe and effective mechanism for protecting individuals who can no longer make or communicate sound decisions about themselves and their property, or have become vulnerable to abuse, fraud or undue influence.

“My staff has been instructed to reach out to everyone who is interested in the topic and invite everyone—no matter how deep their disagreement—or whether they support our priorities or oppose them, to come to the table and help us pass even better legislation than we passed last time,” said Zaffirini.

Texas’ Guardianship Compliance Project was born out of this cooperative approach. The pilot project, which is funded by the Legislature and implemented by the Office of Court Administration, was launched in November 2015 to provide additional resources to courts handling guardianship cases. The goal of the project is to help courts make sound decisions in guardianship cases by reviewing current guardianships to identify reporting deficiencies, auditing annual accountings and reporting findings back to the court, and working with courts to develop best practices in managing guardianship cases.

“They have been so successful in investigating the problem (in the pilot counties) that we are going to ask for $3 million to go statewide when the Legislature convenes in January,” said Zaffirini.

In Texas, all guardians are required to obtain bonds—a sort of insurance policy that protects the person in guardianship should the guardian mishandle assets. In one county, the Compliance Project found about 40 percent of cases had guardianship bonds waived, even though there is no statutory authority for waiving bonds. “We realize it is not just a matter of passing good laws, but also enforcing the laws we have,” said Zaffirini. “For example, what good does it do us to pass a law on bonds of a guardian if a judge is going to, without authority, waive that bond? So we have to be vigilant and ensure that the laws that we pass are good laws but that we also pass any additional laws that we need to prevent and identify any abuse in the system.”

They also found numerous cases of guardians mishandling or misusing assets.

“In many cases there is no annual report, there is no initial inventory, there are questionable expenditures and there are missing assets including—listen to this—an airplane,” said Zaffirini. “How do you lose an airplane?”

Zaffirini also engages with the judiciary and other stakeholders through her appointment to the Texas Judicial Council’s Elders and Mental Health committees. The council consists of judges from all levels of the judiciary, legislators and citizen representatives. The Elders Committee makes recommendations to the Texas Judicial Council, and the Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders, or WINGS, makes legislative recommendations, which Zaffirini and other engaged legislators can carry to the Legislature.

“It is direct engagement,” said Zaffirini.

WINGS, created by the National Guardianship Network, is a partnership between court and community guardianship stakeholders to help states improve judicial processes, protect individual rights and meet needs, address insufficient funding, and ensure guardian accountability and fiduciary standards. In 2013, the program was piloted in four states—New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah. In 2015, it was expanded to Indiana; Minnesota; Mississippi; Washington; Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

"WINGS-MN brings together many stakeholders in our state,” said Judge Jamie Anderson of Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Court. “There are approximately a dozen local WINGS groups across the country, so we can learn from each other and avoid recreating the wheel.”

“We work together to brainstorm ways to improve guardianship, work with the community and develop options for avoiding guardianship, when that's appropriate," Anderson said.

Participants in Minnesota include representatives from the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, the state Department of Human Services’ Adult Protective Services, and the Minnesota Association for Guardianship & Conservatorship, as well as the state court administrator and attorneys. Anderson said the group acknowledges the need for guardianship, while also partnering with all the different players involved in the process to improve guardianship and create less restrictive alternatives to full legal guardianship.

Anderson is collaborating with WINGS in Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District to provide online and in-person training for guardians and conservators prior to appointment. Guardians may be required to retake the training if there are issues with timeliness and quality of annual reporting.

Although interbranch cooperation often leads to improved outcomes for those under guardianship, the three branches don’t always agree on the course of action.

“I am in Cook County and the Cook County public guardian had concerns that a number of the pieces of legislation were going too far in taking power away from (his office),” said Illinois state Rep. David Harris, who sponsored a bill clarifying that a temporary guardian’s powers and duties are limited to what is enumerated in a court order. “House Bill 2504 dealt with length of temporary guardianship. I was going to shorten from 120 to 90 days, but the public guardian felt that wasn’t enough time for courts to review.”

Harris said engaging with the public guardian helped him understand what they were willing to compromise on. “You need to get that interaction to make sure the legislation has support to pass,” he said.

Safeguarding Guardianships:  An Interbranch Approach

See Also:

FBI investigating attorney Paul Hansmeier's disability-access lawsuits

Paul Hansmeier, the Minnesota lawyer indicted this month for allegedly operating a fraudulent multimillion-dollar porn-trolling scheme, is also under investigation by the FBI in relation to his practice of filing scores of disability-access lawsuits, according to documents filed Wednesday in federal court.

An attorney representing Hansmeier’s former client Eric Wong, of Minneapolis, revealed the new allegations in a motion to oppose a legal settlement in a disability-access case. Wong, through his attorney, alleged that his fellow plaintiff and one-time finance director of the nonprofit Disability Support Alliance (DSA), Scott Smith, had cut him out of negotiations in a 2015 lawsuit that Smith had settled with CCRE, which runs Cedar Cliff Shopping Center in Eagan.

Jennifer L. Urban, an attorney for DSA, said in court filings that the nonprofit was a victim of a crime perpetrated by Smith and Hansmeier, his former attorney.

Urban wrote that the DSA filed criminal complaints with the Burnsville Police Department against Smith and another former DSA director, Aaron Dalton, over a series of cash withdrawals earlier this year. A Burnsville detective helped DSA retrieve $4,400 that Dalton was captured on camera taking out of an ATM but was unable to recover $6,900 withdrawn by Smith, Urban said.

The FBI, meanwhile, notified Urban in October that DSA was a possible victim of a federal crime. She wrote Wednesday that DSA is “cooperating with the ongoing federal criminal investigation/prosecution of Paul Hansmeier.”

A grand jury indicted Hansmeier and his former Prenda Law colleague John Steele earlier this month in a multimillion-fraud and extortion conspiracy that allegedly involved hundreds of fraudulent porn copyright-trolling lawsuits. According to charges, the pair and other unnamed co-conspirators even recorded their own porn films and later made them available on file-sharing websites only to later target users for litigation.

The controversies surrounding the porn trolling cases led Hansmeier to drop that line of business. Instead, he began suing mostly small businesses for allegedly failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility rules. He filed more than 100 such lawsuits in Minnesota, reaping minor settlements from defendants who said it would cost too much to fight in court.

The Minnesota Supreme Court suspended Hansmeier’s law license in September over ethics violations related to the porn-trolling scheme and his attempts to deceive the courts. His wife, Padraigin Browne, picked up his pending disability access lawsuits — including the CCRE federal suit — and has since filed a number of her own. Browne declined to comment Wednesday for this story.

DSA Board Chair Eric Wong hired Urban’s firm late last year, partly to investigate suspected internal theft. The investigation revealed the theft by Smith and Dalton but also that Hansmeier helped four DSA directors — Smith, Dalton, Zachary Hillesheim and Melanie Davis — steal settlement proceeds from litigation efforts, according to Urban.

She said the investigation also revealed that Hansmeier got $312,218 — more than 70 percent of the revenue generated by DSA litigation — from July 2014 to June 2016 despite never litigating a case to a verdict and being awarded attorney’s fees or invoicing DSA for payment.

“DSA is a nonprofit corporation that has a legitimate and charitable purpose to benefit the community,” Urban said. “However, it is incredibly unfortunate that the acts of five people have polluted its name and good works, and have ransacked and pillaged the nonprofit’s assets for personal gain.”

Attorneys for Smith and CCRE LLC are scheduled to present their motion to dismiss the case at a Feb. 9 hearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis.

Full Article & Source:
FBI investigating attorney Paul Hansmeier's disability-access lawsuits

Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation (Title VII-A3)

Authorizing Legislation: Section 721 of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended

The Purpose of the Program and How it Works

In 1987 AoA established the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation program. Through the program, AoA provides federal leadership in strengthening elder justice strategic planning and direction for programs, activities, and research related to elder abuse awareness and prevention. This program trains law enforcement officers, health care providers, and other professionals on how to recognize and respond to elder abuse; supports outreach and education campaigns to increase public awareness of elder abuse and how to prevent it; and supports the efforts of state and local elder abuse prevention coalitions and multidisciplinary teams.

AoA allocates grants under this program by formula to states and territories based on their share of the population aged 60 and over. States and territories have the discretion to allocate funding among the various activities authorized under the program. They also may choose to distribute the funds to area agencies on aging and local service providers.

To support this important program, AoA provides funding for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). The NCEA serves as a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment, and provides relevant information, materials, and support to enhance state and local efforts to prevent and address elder mistreatment. For an overview of this program, please visit the National Center on Elder Abuse section of the website, or you may go directly to the NCEA website.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation (Title VII-A3)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Human Trafficking: Hunting the elderly, children and disabled for profit in America

By Marti Oakley

What is euphemistically called our “judicial system” has become the weapon of choice for estate theft, child trafficking, and the destruction of the family unit. The creation of administrative tribunals no longer alluded to as a system of laws applied equally to everyone, has been twisted into an ugly and dangerous system of corruption, persecution and prosecution of those who refuse to submit to organized and criminal government organizations, agencies and political interests. Money talks in this system, even if it is stolen from the estate of a targeted elder victim, received as a result of child trafficking through CPS, or, from the disabled who might have a trust account or who could be used as an Medicare/Medicaid ATM..

Across the country families are fighting one of the most insidious and corrupt systems ever devised; a system of human trafficking under the guise of protection and care. If you have ever wondered who really is destroying the family unit in this country, you need look no further than the agencies and tribunals that work daily to kidnap and isolate the elderly with the intent of stealing their assets under the guise of guardianship. And when it comes to our children, Child Protective Services is predicated upon wrenching as many children as possible away from their families with or without cause.
Children are worth an absolute fortune in the CPS system. The disabled are equally vulnerable to this system.

We have been battling this legalized racketeering for several years. The entire system was set up intentionally to allow for the wholesale theft of estates under the protection of a probate tribunal. These are NOT courts of law. If in fact a person does need a guardian, being deemed a “ward of the state” should not mean being stripped of all your rights and liberties. If a person is actually so vulnerable that they need a protector, would their rights not also need to be reinforced and protected to secure their safety and equal protection under the law?

Causing the civil death via probate, of a living human being needs to be called what it is. Modern day slavery……and the new slave owner now possesses everything the new age slave acquired over a lifetime. Taking their possessions is bad enough, but when you deprive them of their life, their families, their religion and most especially their freedom, you have created a new class of slaves.

This is human trafficking for profit. We just haven’t gotten to the point where we openly auction them off to the highest bidder, although in some instances we have found one state “loaning” another state wards to ensure they fill their targeted quotas for the quarter.

It is not safe in America for the elderly, children or the disabled

The greatest transfer of wealth in the U.S., is the transfer of the wealth of a targeted elderly victim who committed the new age crime of aging with assets, and securing those assets in the name of and the accounts of, a predatory guardian who enjoys the protection of these kangaroo tribunals. It is estimated that 3-5 billion is stolen annually from families through this system.

It is disingenuous to say that judges, lawyers or politicians don’t know about the trafficking of human beings through this arbitrary system of tribunals called , “family court, divorce court, probate court or any of the other unconstitutional constructs used to prey on the public at large.. They all know, whether they feign ignorance of these issues or not.

Bouncing advocates, activists, and families back and forth between the judiciary and the legislative branches, each claiming they cannot intervene due to separation of powers, neither will tell you that the door you need to be knocking on is, the governors (or president’s). Administrative tribunals are executive cabinet and agency appointments and creations and are under the direct control of the executive branch whether state or federal. All tribunals are associated with these executive offices, and ultimately responsible to the executive.

All administrative tribunals that deal with individuals or families, operate under a state operated umbrella agency such as social service, for example. These are cabinet agencies under the direct control of the governor. That state agency has contracted with a similar federal agency and receives funding from that federal agency as part of the agreement to implement the business plan laid out in the memorandum of understanding and the formal contract that follows that was struck between the state agency and the federal agency.. In the case of specially created statutes and regulations, state agencies are paid to to capture as many families and individuals as possible during a specified quarter.

There are exceptions to the umbrella agency construct, such as Illinois which has somehow secured the probate system under the supervision of the district courts. Not that this arbitrary attachment provides any benefit to those caught in the web of human trafficking regularly taking place in Illinois; it does not.   (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Human Trafficking: Hunting the elderly, children and disabled for profit in America

Ithaca lawyer indicted for perjury, planting evidence

An Ithaca attorney was indicted last week for perjury and planting evidence in a Tompkins County legislator's vehicle according to documents from Ithaca City Court.

Jeffrey W. Butcher, 53, is charged with first-degree perjury and tampering with evidence — both felony charges.

According to the felony complaints, Butcher is accused of falsely stating in May in Tompkins County Family Court he did not place a call to the Tompkins County 911 Center on February and report he observed drugs inside a vehicle. He is also accused of planting the evidence in the vehicle, which was previously identified as belonging to Tompkins County legislator Michael Sigler. The complaint also alleges Butcher falsely stated he did not use a TracFone to make the call to the 911 Center and falsely stated he was not at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport when the observation of the drugs was made.

Included in the complaint is a deposition from a party to a family court matter, recorded phone calls placed by Butcher to the Tompkins County 911 Center in February and June, and a recorded phone call between Butcher and New York State Police in July 2016.

Butcher pleaded not guilty in Ithaca City Court in October.

Full Article & Source:
Ithaca lawyer indicted for perjury, planting evidence

Why Disabled People Are Pushing for the Right to Community-Based Services

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
There is perhaps no greater stakeholder in the conversation about health care in the United States than the disability community. And with uncertain policy changes ahead, many disabled people are worried. They’re also trying to take action while they can to protect themselves from threats to their lives and well-being.

That’s one reason why some disabled people are pushing Congress to pass the Disability Integration Act (DIA), a law that would codify the right to community-based services for disabled people and provide a clear mechanism for enforcement to keep them out of institutions. If they succeed, the law could be a powerful tool for civil rights in the coming years—but it likely has a slim chance of passing, considering the incoming administration and Congress.

Many nondisabled people are not familiar with the fight for deinstitutionalization and the push for community-based living. Well through the 1970s, nondisabled people broadly viewed institutions as the most appropriate place for disabled people in need of long-term support services, whether they needed mental health care or medical treatment for physical impairments. In theory, they offered secure and safe housing along with trained personnel to help people with activities of daily living (like bathing and dressing) as well as sometimes complex health-care needs, which might include feeding tubes, dressing changes, and other types of skilled nursing care. In practice, however, institutions often had an isolating effect, locking disabled people out of society and exposing them to the risk of physical and sexual abuse from indifferent or hostile caregivers.

The resurgence of the disability rights movement in the 1980s pushed for a shift in the way nondisabled society viewed institutions, building up support for deinstitutionalization that culminated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The law strongly encouraged giving disabled people the tools to live in their own communities, including robust anti-discrimination protections.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Why Disabled People Are Pushing for the Right to Community-Based Services

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Common Dementia Condition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Martha T.S. Laham
When you think back on the life of the late Robin Williams, you may remember him as being a brilliant comic, versatile actor, and generous humanitarian. You probably wouldn’t think of Williams, who tragically died at the age of 63 from an apparent suicide, as a dementia sufferer. Williams was struggling with a neurological condition known as Lewy body dementia (LBD), also called dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), according to a coroner’s report.

As we age, dementia can cast a dark shadow on our lives. The reality is that dementia will somehow touch us all: You’ve probably met someone with dementia or have a family member who may be a dementia sufferer. A loved one may start having difficulty with short-term memory, losing things, forgetting to pay bills, refusing to bathe, forgetting to eat, getting easily agitated or confused, or developing faulty perceptions, all of which are common signs of dementia.

First, let’s describe dementia, and then take a look at LBD.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, dementia is “the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain,” says the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Various diseases, infections, strokes, head injuries, drugs, and nutritional deficiencies are frequently cited as primary causes of dementia.

About 47.5 million people worldwide are currently living with dementia. This figure is expected to double every 20 years, climbing to 74.7 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050, according to an Alzheimer’s Disease International report. Startlingly, every four seconds a new case of dementia is diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Vascular dementia is commonly thought of as the second most frequent type of dementia, followed by LBD. As a degenerative disease, dementia in most of its forms is irreversible, although prescription drugs on the market can slow its progression or minimize its symptoms.

What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

As a general term, LBD can be divided into two related forms: Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Whereas early symptoms of these two conditions differ, the fundamental brain changes are the same. “Over time, people with both diagnoses will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep, and behavioral symptoms,” says the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA).

Lewy bodies are abnormal deposits or clumps of protein that develop inside neurons (nerve cells) in specific regions of the brain. When deposits build up, they damage and eventually destroy brain cells, which can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood.

How Is Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosed?

About 1.4 million Americans are afflicted with LBD, representing 10 to 25 percent of all dementia cases. Despite its prevalence, LBD is the most misdiagnosed dementia, often missed entirely.

As with other types of dementia, no conclusive laboratory test for LBD exists. Currently a clinical diagnosis of LBD is made chiefly through a full dementia evaluation. Only a brain autopsy can confirm a diagnosis of LBD.

Robin Williams’ autopsy report showed the presence of diffuse Lewy body disease. An ABC News article stated: “Robin Williams had a common but difficult to diagnose condition known as Lewy Body Dementia and this may have contributed to his decision to commit suicide last August [2014], according to documents included in his autopsy report.”

What Are the Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia?

LBD is characterized by a progressive decline in a person’s mental abilities. Mayo Clinic provides a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms of LBD, including visual hallucinations; cognitive issues, such as problems with confusion, alertness, thinking, and memory; movement problems, such as slowed movement, tremors, a shuffling walk, or falls; and depression, anxiety, and apathy.

In an ABC News interview, Susan Williams, Robin Williams’ widow, spoke movingly about her husband’s struggle with the devastating symptoms of LBD. Susan also talked about the difficulty and slowness in getting an accurate diagnosis of the disease. “Lewy body dementia is what killed Robin,” she said in the interview. “It’s what took his life, and that’s what I spent the last year trying to get to the bottom of, what took my husband’s life.”

What Are the Risk Factors for Lewy Body Dementia?

Known risk factors for LBD are gender (male) and advanced age, while a potential risk factor is a family history of dementia.

Research studies provide fresh insights into risk factors for LBD. In one study, researchers found that the interaction between genes and environmental factors may increase susceptibility to developing Lewy body pathology. Also, a case-control study concluded that depression and low caffeine intake may increase a person’s risk of developing dementia with Lewy bodies, among other factors.

Why Is It Important to Learn About Lewy Body Dementia?

As we’ve discovered, LBD is a common neurological condition, often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. LBD can have a significant impact not only on people with LBD but also on family members and caregivers, who often shoulder the burden of caring for LBD sufferers.

In a People story titled “Robin Williams and the Brain Disorder That Drove Him to Suicide: What Is Lewy Body Dementia?” Dr. Alexander Y. Pantelyat, assistant professor of neurology and director of Atypical Parkinsonism Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, remarks on the insidiousness of this illness:

“It affects your core, it affects who you are as a person. In the case of DLB and some of these other related disorders it tends to a great extent [to] affect the frontal lobe, which is really what makes us human. It’s really unbelievably devastating.”

You can learn more about Lewy body dementia by visiting the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Full Article & Source:
The Common Dementia Condition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

See Also:
The Con Game - A Failure of Trust

"A Guide to Dementia Caregivers"

Those with Alzheimer's/dementia require different approaches to care and tools for managing challenging behavior. 

To give you some of those tools and approaches, Senior Care Advice offers this FREE eBook written by geropsychology expert Dr. Geoffrey W. Lane, Ph.D., ABPP

Download the free book

Monday, January 2, 2017

New rules give nursing home residents more power

WASHINGTON — About 1.4 million people living in nursing homes across the country can now be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.

The changes reflect a shift toward more ‘‘person-centered care,’’ including requirements for speedy development of care plans, more flexibility and variety in meals and snacks, greater review of a resident’s drug regimen, better security, improved grievance procedures, and scrutiny of involuntary discharges.

‘‘With proper implementation and enforcement, this could really transform a resident’s experience of a nursing home,’’ said Robyn Grant, director of public policy and advocacy for the Consumer Voice, a national group that advocates for residents’ rights.

The federal Medicare and Medicaid programs pay for most of the nation’s nursing home care — roughly $75 billion in 2014 — and in return, facilities must comply with government rules. The new regulations, proposed last year by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, take effect in three phases. The first kicked in late last month.

They allow residents and their families ‘‘to be much more engaged in the design of their care plan and the design of their discharge plans,’’ said David Gifford, a senior vice president at the American Health Care Association, which represents nearly 12,000 long-term-care facilities.

Grant goes even farther, saying the new approach puts ‘‘the consumer in the driver’s seat.’’ Until now, she noted, a person’s care has too often been decided only by the nursing home staff. ‘‘And if the resident is lucky, he or she is informed about what that care will entail, what will specifically be done, and who will do it.’’

One controversial measure prohibits nursing homes from requiring residents to agree in advance that any disputes will be settled through a privately run arbitration process instead of the court system.

The industry association has objected, contending that Medicare officials have authority only to regulate matters related to residents’ health and safety and that an individual’s right to use arbitration cannot be restricted. The ban is on hold until an association lawsuit, to force the government to drop the provision, is decided.

Health and Human Services reviewed nearly 10,000 comments on its draft proposal before finalizing changes. Here are highlights of the requirements now in effect:

■ Making the nursing home feel more like home: The regulations say that residents are entitled to ‘‘alternative meals and snacks . . . at non-traditional times or outside of scheduled meal times.’’ Residents can also choose their roommates, which may lead to siblings or same-sex couples being together. And a resident also has ‘‘a right to receive visitors of his or her choosing at the time of his or her choosing,’’ as long as it doesn’t impose on another resident’s rights.

■ Bolstering grievance procedures: Nursing homes must now appoint an official who will handle complaints and follow a strengthened grievance process. Decisions must be in writing.

■ Challenging discharges: Residents can no longer be discharged while appealing the discharge. They cannot be discharged for nonpayment if they have applied for Medicaid or other insurance, are waiting for a payment decision, or are appealing a claim denial.

If a nursing home refuses to accept a resident who wants to return from a hospital stay, the resident can appeal the decision. Also, residents who enter the hospital have a right to return to their same room, if it is available.

A state’s long-term-care ombudsman must now get copies of any involuntary discharges so the situation can be reviewed as soon as possible.

■ Expanding protection from abuse: The definition of abuse now includes financial exploitation. Nursing homes are prohibited from hiring any licensed professional who has received a disciplinary action because of abuse, neglect, mistreatment or financial exploitation of residents.

■ Ensuring a qualified staff: Consumer groups had urged federal officials to set minimum staffing levels for registered nurses and nursing staff, but the industry had opposed any mandates and none was included in the final rule. Instead, facilities must have enough skilled and competent staff to meet residents’ needs. There are specific training requirements for caring for residents with dementia and for preventing elder abuse.

‘‘Competency and staffing levels are not mutually exclusive,’’ said Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Person-centered care and other improvements ‘‘don’t mean anything if you don’t have the staff who know the residents . . . and can figure out why Mrs. Smith is screaming.’’

Full Article & Source:
New rules give nursing home residents more power

Ageing: The Bigger Picture

Source: Ageing The Bigger Picture

"Long Term Care Guide: Essential Tips for Solving the Elder Care Puzzle"

When an older adult begins to require assistance with activities of daily living, or experiences a healthcare crisis, a family may feel threatened by potential social, emotional, physical, financial, and legal challenges. Solving the long-term care puzzle is easier for a caregiver who has a guide, not only to understand a present challenge, but to foresee a potential catastrophe down the road.

This book is composed of published articles written by Elder Law attorneys and an Elder Care Coordinator, BSN with years of professional experience with the needs of older adults and their care-giving families. The practical strategies in this book will help you along with your long-term, elder care journey. Articles within each chapter discuss specific topics related to older adult advocacy including: care-giving roles dementia finances care services independence issues legal issues and more.

Available through Amazon

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Let's Start the New Year With a Smile!

Three ladies were discussing the struggles of getting older.

One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand, while standing in front of the refrigerator, and I can’t remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich.”

The second lady chimed in and said, “Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and can’t remember whether I was on my way up or on my way down.”

The third one responded, “Well, ladies, I’m glad I don’t have that problem. Knock on wood,” as she tapped her knuckles on the table. Suddenly she said, “That must be the door, I’ll get it!”

Three Ladies Getting Older...

30 Things You'll Regret When You're Older

We’d all like to live life with no regrets, and some have truly mastered that mantra. But for most, certain people and experiences slip through our fingers from time to time, and we’re left wondering “what if?” If you often find yourself in situations where you’re wondering if you should go for it or hold back, these 30 things you’re likely to regret might help you decide.

1. Being afraid of change
Change can be scary, but don’t let that stop you. Moving, traveling, ending a bad relationship, taking a new job… Putting your fear aside to take these big steps in life can lead you to greater opportunities.

2. Not learning another language

There are so many different cultures, countries, customs and languages to explore. Learning another language won’t just be fun, it will expand your knowledge and give your resume a boost!

3. Staying in a bad relationship

Spending months or years in a bad relationship is a complete waste of time. Once you get out, you’ll only wish you had made the break sooner.

4. Not using sunscreen
While you might be purposefully forgoing sunscreen in hopes of getting a golden tan, you could be seriously damaging your skin. Wrinkles, moles and skin cancer can be avoided if you protect yourself.

5. Not traveling when you had the chance

You might think, “I’ll travel in a few years when I have the time/money,” but the truth is, the older you become, the harder it is to drop everything and travel. There’s no time like the present.

6. Not exercising

You don’t need to be a gym buff to make physical fitness a priority. Regular exercise has been shown to improve overall health in numerous ways, keeping the body healthy and strong. If a gym isn’t your scene, go for a hike, take a jog, ride your bike or take yoga classes.

7. Letting society define you
Don’t let your gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, religion or anything else hold you back from following your dreams. Find your passion and be strong enough to live it, despite the opinions of others.

8. Not listening to your parents’ advice

As much as we hate when they’re right, parents do come up with good advice. Learn to really listen and appreciate their suggestions and concerns.

9. Being afraid to say “I love you”
Saying those three little words can be intimidating, but missing your chance could be devastating. If you truly feel it, let the other person know.

10. Staying at a terrible job
We all have bills to pay, and taking jobs we aren’t exactly enthusiastic about is often necessary to stay afloat. But look for a way to improve your situation instead of simply accepting it.

Full Article and Source:
30 Things You'll Regret When You're Older