Saturday, January 5, 2019

Ex-Nevada guardian to serve up to 40 years behind bars

Families and victims of state appointed guardian speak out

Victims of former Nevada guardian April Parks packed a Las Vegas courtroom for much of Friday morning.

Relatives of those who died under her watch and of those too ill or weak to attend the proceeding spoke of the torment she put them through and observed as District Judge Tierra Jones sent the 53-year-old to prison for 16 to 40 years.

Nine people described their personal grief, while also reading letters from several others who lost thousands of dollars and precious, priceless heirlooms that would never be replaced because Parks stole from elderly victims for whom she was supposed to care.

As the victims wept and told their stories of suffering, a shackled and seated Parks kept her head turned and never looked their way.

Larry Braslow, the first victim to speak during the nearly four-hour hearing, told the judge that a decades-old family address book had disappeared, while Parks was tasked with caring for his mother, Ruth. His father’s footlocker, which contained military uniforms and accoutrements, also was gone.

Karen Kelly, Clark County’s public guardian, read through a long list of names of people victimized who lived under “intense anxiety and anguish” for the final years of their lives because of Parks and those who worked closely with her. Parks’ business partner, Mark Simmons, and her husband, Gary Neal Taylor, also were ordered Friday to serve time in prison.

“The choices she made were out of greed, not because she didn’t understand the ethical obligations of being a guardian.”

Of the victims, Kelly said, “She didn’t see them as people. They were paychecks.”

The judge ordered the three defendants to pay more than $500,000 to their victims.

Herman “Bill” Mesloh, who is blind, said Parks first visited him at the Southern Nevada Medical and Rehabilitation Center in late 2013 after he had undergone various surgeries.

He was involuntarily isolated from his wife, Kathy, for six months, he said.

“There are some evil people in this world,” he said. “And April Parks is a predator of the worst kind.”
Another woman, Barbara Ann Neely, said Parks separated her from family and friends.

“She was not a guardian to me,” Neely said. “She did not protect me. As each day passed, I felt like I was in a grave, buried alive.”

Rudy North, yet another victim, compared Parks to Hitler and said, “This lady should be banished.
Parks, 53, pleaded guilty in November to exploitation, theft and perjury charges.

She told the judge on Friday that she accepted responsibility “but never intended harm,” adding that “things could have been done better. … We were a group practice, and honestly I think some things got ahead of us.”

She said she had a “great passion” for guardianship and took “great care and concern” in her work.

Parks was one of the most active private professional guardians in the region. She often acted as the surrogate decision-maker for 50 to 100 elderly and mentally incapacitated people, called wards, at a given time. As guardian, she had full control of their finances, estates and even medical decisions.

She originally faced more than 200 felony counts.

Simmons was ordered to serve seven to 18 years in prison, while Taylor was given a sentence of two to five years behind bars.

Handing down the sentences, Jones called Parks’ actions “absolutely shocking” and “downright offensive.”

Full Article & Source:
Ex-Nevada guardian to serve up to 40 years behind bars

Patient in vegetative state gives birth, sex abuse investigation underway: report

A woman who has been in a vegetative state since she nearly drowned 10 years ago has reportedly given birth to a baby last month, prompting a sex abuse investigation at the Phoenix-area nursing facility, AZ Family reported.

The baby was born on Dec. 29 and is doing well, according to the report. The woman is reportedly a patient at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix. A source familiar with the situation told AZ Family that "none of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth."

"From what I’ve been told she was moaning. And they didn’t know what was wrong with her," the source said.

The source told AZ Family that the patient required constant care and that many people had access to her room.

The facility has reportedly changed protocol after the Dec. 29 birth. Male staff needing to enter a female room are required to bring a female employee with them, the source said.

A Hacienda HealthCare nurse declined Fox News' request for comment because it would be a HIPPA violation and referred questions to the CEO of the nursing facility. Phoenix Police Department did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Hacienda issued a statement to AZ Family and said it has been in business in the valley for over 50 years and "has an outstanding reputation providing high quality specialized care for our patients."

"As a Healthcare provider, we cannot comment on any patient due to Federal and State privacy laws. Additionally, we cannot comment on any ongoing investigations. We can say that our patients and clients health and safety is our #1 priority and that we always cooperate, when asked by any agency, in an open and transparent way."

Authorities are investigating the facility for possible sex abuse, AZ Family reported. No further details were released.

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Patient in vegetative state gives birth, sex abuse investigation underway: report

Son accused of using $174,000 for mother’s care to go on cruise, buy cars, police say

After receiving a check for $174,000, a man responsible for his 90-year-old mother’s care at a Columbus assisted living facility used the money to buy vehicles, new clothes, go on a cruise, cash checks and other expenses until the account was empty, a financial crimes detective testified Friday in Recorder’s Court.

Vincent Wiggins, 51, of Phenix City pleaded not guilty to one count of felony exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults or elder persons during a 9 a.m. hearing. Judge Julius Hunter set bond at $50,000 and bound the charge over to Muscogee Superior Court.

Police Detective Crystal Hatcher said police were contacted on Nov. 9 by Adult Protective Services about an elderly woman who may be the victim of financial exploitation at Orchard View, a facility located at 8414 Whitesville Road. An investigation determined the woman received an insurance check for $174,000 and Wiggins was given the check to take care of her monthly expenses ranging from $6,035 to $6,917. During a period between May 2017 and August 2018, the woman’s account went to zero dollars.

 Police found purchases for clothing, hotel fees, payment to Tuskegee University, a cruise, checks written to Wiggins for $10,000 each and the purchase of two vehicles, Hatcher testified. The personal checks were cashed in February 2018.

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During an interview with the victim, Hatcher said the woman felt something was going on with her finances. “She is very upset,” the detective told the court.

By November 2018, the monthly fees for her stay at the facility had reached $30,000. Hatcher said officials are trying to work something out at the facility.

Hunter questioned how long the money had been used inappropriately. “It’s troubling you got so far behind,” the judge said.

Hatcher said police have a history of payments while Wiggins was on the account. Some partial fees were paid on the woman’s account at the facility.

Matt Brown, an assistant district attorney, said it seems like the suspect has destroyed the victim’s account.

Wiggins was represented by Erik Smith, a public defender, who requested a reasonable bond on the charge.

Read more here:

Full Article & Source:
Son accused of using $174,000 for mother’s care to go on cruise, buy cars, police say

Friday, January 4, 2019

Nursing home resident praises new law allowing cameras in rooms

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PLAQUEMINE - A married mother of four children who recently was left paralyzed from a tumor on her spine said a new law that allows cameras inside nursing home rooms is music to her ears.

The law took effect today and is part of the Nursing Home Virtual Visitation Act, which prohibits nursing homes from retaliating against residents who want to install cameras inside.

Yakina Morgan said she has had multiple issues at the nursing home where she currently is living. She said she filed a complaint a few hours ago with the state because she said her roommate stayed in soiled clothes all night. She believes the law that allows cameras inside the rooms will help keep better track of the residents.

"I think it's essential," Morgan said. "The things that I've seen here and of course my roommate being in her soil from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.... If you don't have a voice you will be mistreated."

Morgan said when staff finally arrived to change her roommate she was met with a miserable mood.

"I told about her not being changed for all those hours," Morgan said. "I told the nurse and kept calling and kept calling, and they came in with an attitude."

Morgan said that is the most recent of the problems that she's experienced. Recently, she said an aide was in the process of moving her so she didn't get a bed sore and she was called a vulgar word.

"Whore. She called me a whore. I said, 'What? That's verbal abuse,'" Morgan said. "You can't verbally abuse me. Are you serious?"

That's why Morgan said she is now speaking up. While the WBRZ Investigative Unit was at the facility today, we requested an interview or to talk to the administrator in charge. We were promised that someone would get back to us, but no one ever did.

"If you have loved ones, I urge you to please check on them," Morgan said. "Put the cameras up. You can see what's going on. If they need to be turned every two hours, or being they are being can see it for yourself. If you leave it up to these people it may not get done."

The cameras are voluntary and there are some requirements to install them. Signs have to be posted notifying people of the recording systems, and the patient or their family is responsible for the cost. Roommates would also have to agree to the installation or the nursing home must move them to another room.

According to an AARP article from June 2017, Louisiana ranked among the last in the nation for meeting long-term care needs for the elderly or people with disabilities.

Full Article & Source:
Nursing home resident praises new law allowing cameras in rooms

Senior Safe Act Aims to Protect Elderly From Financial Abuse

San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) January 3, 2019 – The president recently signed a new federal law that urges financial service providers to train staff to better identify suspected elder financial abuse and report it.

The Senior Safe Act allows financial services professionals to fight against fraud while maintaining their clients’ privacy. The legislation modifies provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed in 2010 to govern regulation of the financial industry following the 2008 economic meltdown.

The bill was first introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) in January 2017. She modeled it on the elder financial abuse prevention program in her home state of Maine. Collins welcomed the law’s passage as “a much-needed step in the fight against financial exploitation of seniors.”

Maine’s Senior Safe Program is a joint effort between financial institutions, state regulators and legal associations to train banking and credit union staff on how to detect signs of elder financial abuse and help stop it. According to the legislation’s advocates, they are often the first to witness atypical withdrawals and unexplained transfers among customers.

“Unfortunately, elder financial abuse goes unreported far too often,” commented elder law attorney Michael Gilfix of Gilfix & La Poll Associates. “There are some common red flags which may indicate an individual could be a potential victim of financial exploitation, such as unusual activity on a bank account or unpaid bills. These and other warning signs can be a cause for concern.”

The Senior Safe Act provides financial services professionals with liability protection if they report any suspected financial abuse of their senior clients to the authorities. Employers are encouraged to establish a company-wide standardized program to train staff on how to spot elder abuse.

The Senior Safe Act was endorsed by the AARP, the Credit Union National Association, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and other financial organizations. They acknowledged that while the legislation will not completely eliminate elder financial abuse, it can help reduce its severity and contribute to prevention efforts.

Full Article & Source:
Senior Safe Act Aims to Protect Elderly From Financial Abuse

New book among first to examine how people with disabilities can take legal, decision-making lead in lives

LAWRENCE — For decades, increasing numbers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have lived their adult lives under legal guardianships. A new book co-authored by University of Kansas and Syracuse University researchers is among the first to explore a fundamentally new way of empowering people with disabilities to retain legal agency while still receiving necessary assistance: supported decision-making.

“Supported Decision-Making: Theory, Research, and Practice to Enhance Self-Determination and Quality of Life” comprehensively examines supported decision-making and how it can be applied in policy and practice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Published by Cambridge University Press, the text was authored by Karrie Shogren, professor and senior scientist and director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities; Michael Wehmeyer, Ross and Mariana Beach Distinguished Professor in Special Education and director of the Beach Center on Disability; and Jonathan Martinis and Peter Blanck of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, New York.

“Supported decision-making is receiving increased attention in the U.S. and internationally. Essentially, it’s all about providing alternative models to plenary guardianship that can enhance self-determination and quality of life,” Shogren said. “The wholesale removal of legal rights under traditional plenary guardianship modes can be problematic, and we need alternatives that fully engage people with disabilities in decisions about their lives.”

Research has shown that people with disabilities can be effectively supported to engage in decision-making about their education, employment, health care and legal matters. Further, this can lead to enhanced quality of life. The new book examines how individuals with disabilities and their families and support providers can use supported decision-making as a framework to enable people with disabilities to be fully engaged in the decision-making process and empower them to identify the people who will support them in that process.

The text summarizes research in supported decision-making and practical applications both within the United States and from other countries. The book highlights ongoing research to develop intervention and assessment strategies to enable support decision-making in practice.  The legal section gives an outline of the frameworks to establish supported decision-making as an alternative to legal guardianships. Examples of legislation in various jurisdictions, including Texas and Delaware, are highlighted.

“It’s exciting to see the concept of supported decision-making gain traction in the U.S.,” Shogren said. “By focusing on legal, policy, research and practice implications, we can build the systemic supports to make supported decision-making a reality, and we attempt to target all of these areas in this text.”

The book’s practical application section includes guidelines and suggestions for how supported decision-making can be implemented, in practice, by individuals, their families, support providers and communities, even in states or jurisdictions where there is not legal precedent. Specifically, the practical applications provide guidance and recommendations for how families, individuals, communities, schools and support providers can work together across the lifespan to plan for and implement supported decision-making models. Guidelines for establishing legal and financial tools as well as community supports are covered as well, with an emphasis on the importance of thinking about all aspects of life in which decisions are made.

“I think this can help families who are wondering about what this kind of arrangement would look like in practice and enable the creation of more tools and resources that can be used to build systems of supports for people with disabilities across the life course,” Shogren said. “Supported decision-making cuts across multiple areas and can help us think about how we work across sectors without limiting or artificially restricting an individual’s potential.”

“Supported Decision Making” is part of a Cambridge University Press series on disability law and policy edited by Peter Blanck, who is also an author on this text. The book aims to provide a new way of looking at disability while also providing a roadmap for states, families, attorneys, policymakers, caregivers and others.

“The predominant model of legal guardianship is rooted in an antiquated understanding of disability. Supported decision-making is rooted in new ways of understanding disability that recognize the interaction of the person and the environment and focus on identifying and building the right system of supports to enable a person to fully participate in their lives and communities without artificially restricting their rights,” Shogren said. “We all need supports. People with disabilities may need more supports in some areas of life, but we just need to be creative in devising these supports while ensuring the person has agency over the decisions in their lives.”

Full Article & Source:
New book among first to examine how people with disabilities can take legal, decision-making lead in lives

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Panola County grand jury indicts Carthage couple on elder abuse charges

Shane Cody Campbell and Shannin Lea Campbell
PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (LNJ) - A Carthage couple have been indicted on two counts each of injury to a child/elderly/disabled individual with criminal negligence.

According to our newspaper partners, the Longview News Journal, Shane Cody Campbell and Shannin Lea Campbell were arrested in November after Panola County Sheriff’s deputies found Shane Campbell’s mother and grandmother neglected at their home. The grand jury indictments were handed down Dec. 20.

The Panola County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call November 11 from a driver who was passing by and said a woman was lying in the front yard of a home on FM 959, police said.

Deputies arrived at the scene and found a woman on the ground on top of some trash; she was conscious but unable to speak and kept pointing toward the front of the house, police said. EMS was notified.

Deputy Jeremy Nagle knocked on the door several times, but no one answered, police said, so Deputy Philip Grimes gave the woman a pen and paper, and she wrote that there was someone in the house who needed help.

EMS arrived, and deputies entered the house and discovered another woman lying uncovered on the floor in her own waste, police said. She told the deputies there were other people in the house, police said.

Deputies knocked on a locked bedroom door, and Shane and Shannin Campbell opened the door, police said. Shane Campbell told deputies the woman in the front yard was his mother, who is deaf and mute, and the woman inside the house was his grandmother, police said.

He said he was caring for them; however, both women told deputies they had not received any medicine, nor had they eaten in days, police said. The deputies observed trash and human waste throughout the house and on the beds and floors — and the inside temperature was 55 degrees, police said.

As of the end of November, the two women were being cared for in a Longview nursing home.

Full Article & Source:
Panola County grand jury indicts Carthage couple on elder abuse charges

Paid leave for caregivers of adults with dementia is charting new territory in the workplace


Dive Brief:

  • Although paid family and medical leave benefits help caregivers of family members with Alzheimer's or dementia, less than half of adult caregivers reported accessing the benefit in a new study by UsAgainstAlzheimer's, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the diseases. The organization commissioned national research firm Public Opinion Strategies to conduct an online survey of working caregivers of someone with Alzheimer's or another category of dementia.
  • The study showed also that among the 10 million millennial caregivers in the U.S., 15% looks after someone with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Other key findings in the study show that just slightly more than 50% of the working adult caregivers whose employers provide paid medical and family leave said they use it.
  • Six in 10 caregivers reported having money-related problems from being unable to work or having to curtail the number of hours they can work while a loved one was sick. More than a quarter of working caregivers and 40% of working millennial caregivers said that either they or someone in their home has had to borrow money or pile up debt while caring for a loved one.

Dive Insight:

Caregiving of family members with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia might be an uncharted area that employers will want to note and step in with support.

Flexible work schedules are a top benefit among caregivers, according to an Unum study released in June. The vast majority of respondents (90%) in this study also said an employer's leave policies serve as a key decision-making factor in whether to leave or stay on a job. Paid leave has proven to be a benefit that attracts candidates and retains talent, giving employers that offer it an edge in recruiting and hiring in an employee-driven labor market. In trying to lower their turnover rates, major retailers are now offering paid leave to their hourly workers.

Millennials make up the bulk of the workforce and are now the age group known as the "sandwich generation," which has inherited the responsibility of caring for both children and aging parents. This dual role is demanding of workers' time, energy and financial and emotional wellbeing. Paid leave policies can help free them of some of the burdens associated with caregiving. 

Of course, offering long lists of in-demand benefits isn't valuable to workers if they don't know they exist or how to access them. In more than one study, employees reported not knowing that their workplaces provide certain benefits. Employers must communicate benefits to ensure that all workers who need them can access them.

Full Article & Source:
Paid leave for caregivers of adults with dementia is charting new territory in the workplace


Sue Schnars braids daughter Ivana's hair
Since 43-year-old Ivana Schnars moved into a nursing home in Pflugerville, her mom, Sue Schnars, has tried to make it as comfortable as the home where her daughter spent most of her life. Citrus essential oil perfumes the dorm like room. Relatives have left sweet messages on a white board. Pink decorations dot the walls.

Unable to care for Ivana Schnars, who is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair, on her own, Sue Schnars moved her out of their North Austin home in August.

Schnars had trouble finding and keeping caregivers for Ivana. With the state’s Medicaid reimbursement, she could pay personal attendants only $11 an hour without benefits.

“I agonized over this decision,” Schnars said. “She’s my daughter, and I love her. For 43 years, I kept her home. For 43 years, I was able to make sure she was safe and clean and that she had everything that she needed. People at the retirement home are wonderful, but they’re not me.”

Schnars is using her daughter’s Social Security income to pay for the nursing home.

The turnover rate among attendants is high across the country — 45 to 65 percent — but stagnant pay rates in Texas have worsened the problem here. Attendants in Texas are paid on average $9.30 an hour, while the nationwide average is $11.59, according to an August report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

For nearly a decade, the state has not increased the payment rates of personal attendants in Community Living Assistance and Support Services, the Medicaid program that covered care for Ivana Schnars and 5,600 other Texans. The state sets the attendant rate in the program at about $13 an hour, but after administrative fees and payroll taxes are shaved off, the rate families can pay attendants is lower.

Additionally, the state cut the attendant rates of two other Medicaid programs for individuals with disabilities — Texas Home Living and Home and Community-based Services — by 21 percent last year to $17.73 an hour to align the rates with other Medicaid programs. The decision affected caregivers for about 8,000 people in both programs. Dozens of people with disabilities and their relatives had pleaded with the agency in a meeting last year to reconsider the cuts.

The cuts saved the state $26.6 million over a two-year period. Texas Home Living, which providers say has long been a financially difficult program to run, has been hardest hit by the cuts—19 providers have terminated contracts.

“On a business level, you can’t do something where every month you’re not paying your bills and you have to borrow from one program to pay for another program,” said Doug Svien of the Company Rock House, a Stephenville provider group that has stopped participating in the Texas Home Living program. “Maybe somebody out there that can do it for less cost than I can do it, and God bless them.”

Texas Health and Human Services Commission officials said they’re working on improving retention and recruitment in Texas, including asking the Legislature to raise the pay for attendants. The agency estimates that it will spend $7.9 billion on community attendant services during the 2020-21 budget.

“We know long-term care providers in Texas have indicated they are facing difficulties recruiting and retaining the qualified community attendants needed to provide care. We are working to better capture data on attendant turnover and retention, which can be used to help determine effective strategies for improvement,” a statement from the agency said.

‘A really hard decision’

Ivana Schnars was born in Peru, where her parents were social workers in the 1970s. She was developing normally until a vims attacked her brain, leading to cerebral palsy.

Sue Schnars, who recently retired from her job as a special education administrator for the Pflugerville school district, had for years relied on attendants to feed her daughter, read to her, change her clothes and take her on outings, among other activities. More recently, she relied on them the most to help carry her, something the 61-year-old can no longer do.

Amy Gayer -Byles, Ivana Schnars’ caregiver for seven years, struggled to make ends meet. A part-time Austin Community College student saddled with a car note, Gayer Byles would forgo doctors’ appointments and often not use electricity in her apartment and skip meals to pay her bills. Although she loved Schnars — it’s evident by a scrapbook she made of their time together that now sits in Schnars’ room at the nursing home — Gayer-Byles needed to support a family, so she quit.

“That was a really hard decision,” Gayer-Byles said.

“There’s no other words,” Gayer-Byles said through tears. “You’re talking about real people. These are families. They’re struggling to live a day-to-day life, and more and more hurdles are being put in front of them. It’s just unbelievable.”

After Gayer-Byles left three years ago, four caregivers followed. One couldn’t live on $11 an hour. Another would bring her personal drama to work, Sue Schnars said.

“I had taken out ads through I did Craigslist,” Sue Schnars said. “There were plenty of people who responded to my ads, but when I told them how much I could pay, they were like, no way. And the responses always were, ‘I can’t rent an apartment and live in Austin for 11 dollars an hour.’” Texas has the second-highest number of personal attendants — 196,790, according to a report by the Texas health agency. Personal attendants will continue to be in high demand across the country because of an aging population and lowpay that has led to high turnover, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to an email Schnars received from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, an official said: “You are not the first person reporting this issue. Austin seems to have its extra challenges with the relatively high cost of living, but rural areas seem to have staffing issues as well.”

QT Preston makes $12 an hour working part-time as an attendant, reduced by $1 as a result of recent state cuts, she said.

Preston, who also works as a behavioral therapist, said it would be impossible to live off that wage in Austin without juggling another job.

“Attendants should be paid way more because there is such a need in these individuals’ lives. They help the family as a whole because they give parents a much-needed break and an overall improvement of life for everyone involved,” Preston said. “A role of an attendant has been downplayed.”

Austin resident Jane Ayala, 72, makes $9 an hour working 14 hours a week with a disabled adult client who is on a Medicaid waiver program.

She takes her client to work at Chuck E. Cheese’s three days a week, picks her up, has lunch with her and takes her to activities. Aprivate agency pays Ayala $9 an hour.

“It probably covers gas and to have lunch with her, ” Ayala said of her pay. “I just love people, and I know that they need a break.”

‘Chasing nickels’

The state offers Medicaid services to people with disabilities through waiver programs. Home and Community-based Services and Texas Home Living programs serve people with more severe intellectual disabilities than the Community Living Assistance and Support Services program.

Personal attendant services covered through these Medicaid programs are meant to keep people with disabilities in their own homes, where they can either learn to be independent or rely on family to help them.

Staying at home not only is preferred for the well-being of the individual but also is less expensive for the state than paying to live in a group home or some other facility.

When the state proposed the rate cuts in 2017, about 50 people showed up to a hearing to protest the cuts. They said the cuts would force attendants to find jobs in retail and fast -food restaurants that pay comparably but require fewer skills. They said the state’s most vulnerable people would be in danger because their families would be forced to turn to low-quality attendants.

Employers of these attendants said there is a chronic shortage of staff.

“In the Central Texas area, you can work at Whataburger and get a rate higher than what some are receiving as far as salaries. When we try to find persons we can afford, it’s very difficult to find the quality that we’re looking for for the families we serve,” said Andrea Richardson, executive director of Round Rock-based Bluebonnet Trails Community Services. Bluebonnet Trails also was affected by the cuts.

Daybreak, a large provider, this year ended all but one of its Texas Home Living contracts, according to the state health agency.

“Before this rate reduction happened, providers had already been dropping out of Texas Home Living because rates had been slashed so many times already. This latest one was the icing on the cake,” said Sandy Frizzell Batton, executive director with the advocacy group Providers Alliance for Community Services of Texas.

Robert Ham with D&S Community Services, which operates in Austin as well as cities in other parts of Texas, Tennessee and Kentucky, said participating in Texas Home Living is a financial wash for him. Similar employees at state-supported living centers for people with disabilities make 40 to 60 percent more, he said.

“I’ve been in this business because it’s my passion to provide these services,” Ham said. “It’s always looked at as the state is just giving providers more money. It’s not that way. We’re chasing nickels. ” State health agency officials had dropped the rates in preparation for shifting these Medicaid waiver programs into managed care, part of a massive transition of Medicaid services mandated by the Legislature. Under managed care, the state contracts with private insurance companies and hospitals to administer services, saving the state money; critics of the model say the private companies, called managed care organizations, have denied care for people to save money.

A Medicaid program for children with disabilities has for the past few years been under managed care, and over that time, hundreds of parents have complained about the managed care organizations unjustly denying critical services for their vulnerable children.

The Health and Human Services Commission is required to release a report annually on the status of personal attendant services in the state as well as recommendations on how to improve retention and decrease turnover. The agency’s August report to the Legislative Budget Board and to the governor’s office recommended increasing the wages of attendants, as well as improving recruitment through local workforce development; creating a state workforce development plan to improve retention and recruitment of attendants; requiring employers of attendants to provide attendants with information about a federal program that offers low-cost child care; increasing training for attendants to improve job satisfaction; and allowing attendants to live with their clients so that family members can become attendants and be paid an attendant wage.

“I agonized over this decision. She’s my daughter, and I love her. For 43 years, I kept her home. For 43 years, I was able to make sure she was safe and clean and that she had everything that she needed. People at the retirement home are wonderful, but they’re not me.”
Full Article & Source:

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Alzheimer's vaccine shows promise

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(3TV/CBS 5) − Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and researchers are fighting the clock as the baby boomer population ages. This is why news of a possible Alzheimer's vaccine is so exciting.

The drug is called aducanumab. It's one of the first drugs showing real promise in the ongoing fight to get this disease under control.

Dr. Anna Burke, director of neuropsychiatry and Alzheimer’s expert at Barrow Neurological Institute explained the drug.

"Rather than teaching your body to create antibodies against amyloid plaque, this is an antibody that has already been created that gets injected directly into the veins," said Burke. "It is meant to latch on to the amyloid plaque and to dissolve it."

Burke said the idea is to dissolve the plaque which is the hallmark of Alzheimer's and hopefully slow or stop the disease in its tracks.

She said in the past, they've had drugs that have had similar effects on the plaque but this is the first time they've actually seen behavioral changes and improved cognitive function in patients using the medication.

Signs of Alzheimer's develop up to 20 years before any symptoms appear, so she says moving forward much of the research will focus on preventative medications in place for people at high risk of developing the disease.

"If we can identify these people at a younger age certainly we'll be able to use these therapies before they ever develop symptoms," she said.

While there's no definite way to prevent this disease altogether, Burke said you can give yourself a better chance of avoiding it by eating a Mediterranean diet, getting regular exercise, playing brain games, and having an active social life.

Full Article & Source: 
Alzheimer's vaccine shows promise

Throughout this new year remember, "I Am Not Old"

I am not old…she said

I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.

You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found

I am a treasure.

I am a map.

And these wrinkles are 
Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.

~ Samantha Reynolds

"Barbara" will Change Your Attitude to Dementia

"Barbara" was a highly successful British film series. It set a new standard for relationships between people with dementia and their doctors, nurses and caregivers. See this condensed version of all 6 episodes.

Dementia is a universal issue. We will all be affected by dementia in some way during our lives and that is why "Barbara" is a must-see.

Barbara will Change Your Attitude to Dementia

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

The Top 37 Things We Regret When We Get Old

1. Not traveling when you had the chance.

2. Not learning another language.

3. Forgoing sunscreen.

4. Staying in an unhealthy relationship.

5. Being afraid to do things.

6. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.

7. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.

8. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.

9. Not doing your best in school.

10. Not quitting a terrible job.

11. Being afraid to say “I love you.”

12. Not seeing how beautiful we were.

13. Being so self-absorbed in your youth.

14. Not listening to your parents’ advice.  ...

"Survivng Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration"

Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration is a collection of stories that were contributed by almost 90 brain injury survivors from across the world - all brought together by an invisible injury that affects so many, yet isn't understood by the majority of people.

Most of these contributors might not have the opportunity to share their story otherwise. This book is a much needed resource for other survivors and caregivers so they can realize they are not alone in this journey - that there are others out there just like them who have made remarkable strides in their recovery. 

These stories offer strength and inspiration to fellow survivors and help others understand the journey they go through (and are often brushed aside because of). By offering understanding, we can create awareness and compassion.

Available through Amazon

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sumner Redstone is ordered to have court-appointed guardian because of a speech impediment, weeks before ex-girlfriend takes him to court for cutting her out of his trust

  • Sumner Redstone, 95, is the majority vote holder at CBS and Viacom
  • In 2015, he removed his ex-girlfriend from his trust after throwing her out of his Beverly Hills mansion
  • The woman, Manuela Herzer, sued Redstone, claiming he was mentally incapacitated at the time he amended his trust
  • Redstone countersued, demanding Herzer give back $75million in gifts
  • Redstone's grandson, Tyler Korff, asked the court to appoint an independent guardian
  • The judge agreed, saying Redstone wasn't mentally incapacitated but did suffer from a severe speech impediment
Sumner Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, has been ordered placed under court-appointed guardianship because of his difficulty speaking. He is seen above in 2014 (left) alongside actress Megan Fox (right) in Los Angeles

Sumner Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, has been ordered placed under court-appointed guardianship because of his difficulty speaking.

The 95-year-old media mogul will be under the supervision of a guardian ‘ad litem’ - a legal term that means an individual who acts on behalf of another, usually a child or an incapacitated adult, in a lawsuit.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan said he was appointing the guardian because Redstone has extreme difficulty speaking, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Samuel Ingham, III has reportedly been offered the guardianship, according to Deadline

In 2008, Ingham was appointed the guardian of Britney Spears after the pop star had a very public mental health breakdown believed to have been caused by substance abuse.

Redstone’s mental capacity is not at issue, the judge said.

Redstone is the majority owner of a trust, National Amusements Inc, which holds almost 80 per cent of voting stakes in CBS and Viacom.

The court’s decision on Monday will have no effect on Redstone’s control of the trust, which will remain valid until he either dies or is incapacitated.

If and when Redstone is deemed incapacitated, the trust would then be overseen by seven trustees, including his daughter, Shari Redstone, and his grandson, Tyler Korff.

It was Korff who filed the legal motion asking the court to appoint an independent attorney as guardian ad litem.

Redstone had communicated to the court that he supports ‘the Court's appointment of an independent guardian ad litem to represent my interests in this proceeding,’ according to Hollywood Reporter.

‘The judge appointed, with Sumner’s not opposing, a guardian ad litem solely based on Sumner’s physical disability in the form of Sumner’s speech impairment,’ Robert Klieger, Redstone’s lawyer, said.

‘He made no finding, and specifically did not find, that there’s any mental incapacity.

‘This does not trigger the trust. It has no implications whatsoever for National Amusements, CBS or Viacom.’

The family asked for the appointment of a guardian ad litem in the midst of a battle between Redstone and his former girlfriend, Manuela Herzer.

In 2015, Redstone amended his trust by removing Herzer as one of his heirs.

That same year, Redstone kicked Herzer out of his Beverly Hills mansion and removed her as his health-care agent.

Herzer subsequently sued, claiming that Redstone’s mental abilities were diminished, which would thus invalidate the amended trust.

Redstone’s lawyers have resisted attempts to have their client give a deposition due to his frail health.

Herzer’s attorney is seizing on that rationale, claiming that Redstone is incapable of understanding what is taking place in his name.

‘Tyler Korff’s motion for a guardian ad litem got the intended consequences - avoiding an exam by an independent geriatric psychiatrist,’ Herzer’s lawyer, Ronald Richards. said.

‘They knew if a [guardian ad litem] was appointed, then whether Mr. Redstone has capacity would be less important in the judge’s mind.’

‘The public and Ms. Herzer have been once again deprived of getting to the truth.’ 

Full Article & Source:
Sumner Redstone is ordered to have court-appointed guardian because of a speech impediment, weeks before ex-girlfriend takes him to court for cutting her out of his trust

Alaska man allegedly formed sham collection agency to steal from elderly woman

A man from Sterling, Alaska, has been indicted by a Minnehaha County grand jury on one count of attempted aggravated grand theft by deception.
Kent Lee Tompkins, 49, was arrested for allegedly forming a sham collection agency in an attempt to steal more than $700,000 from an elderly person. It is also alleged that the defendant was successful in stealing $40,000.

Attempted aggravated grand theft by deception is a class 2 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 12½ years in prison and a $25,000 fine. He was also indicted on two counts of grand theft by deception, a class 4 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by the Office of Attorney General Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation, the Consumer Protection Division and the Attorney General's Office.

Full Article & Source:
Alaska man allegedly formed sham collection agency to steal from elderly woman

Nursing home employee arrested, suspected of elderly abuse

On December 28th 2018, Senior Trooper J.A. Tupper arrested Adam Wheeler on three counts of Abuse and Neglect of Incapacitated Adults causing bodily injury, one count of Abuse and Neglect of Incapacitated Adults causing serious bodily injury, and four counts of crimes against the elderly.
WELCH — An employee of Golden Harvest Nursing Home, located in Welch Community Hospital, was arrested by West Virginia State Police in connection to abuse and neglect.

Senior Trooper Jarod Tupper arrested CNA Adam Wheeler on Dec. 28 on, "Three counts of Abuse and Neglect of Incapacitated Adults causing bodily injury, one count of Abuse and Neglect of Incapacitated Adults causing serious bodily injury, and four counts of crimes against the elderly," according to Tupper.

After receiving a report on Wheeler's suspension regarding suspected physical abuse, Tupper opened an investigation.

The investigation is still ongoing at this time.

The victims range from ages 52 to 92. 

Full Article & Source: 
Nursing home employee arrested, suspected of elderly abuse