Monday, June 26, 2017
LGBTQ older adults face unique challenges as they age—caused by a lifetime of discrimination and bias. LGBTQ older adults are more likely to be poor and face social isolation because of thin family support structures. They may also have difficulty visiting doctors, receiving competent care that’s tailored to their needs, or even finding an attorney who understands their issues. Since June is Pride month, and much of the point of Pride is to promote visibility of LGBTQ people, we created a short video, See Me Age in Dignity, to bring visibility to the unique needs of LGBTQ older adults as they age. Please watch the video and share it widely. This video was created as a companion piece to our 2016 Special Report on the unique legal needs of older adults.
It was worth watching last year and it's worth watching now!
Friday, June 23, 2017
Are you aware of the Coming of Age in Aging America Project, a "one hour documentary distributed by American Public Television [that] asks … 'What will it mean for us all to grow up, live and age in a society where a third of the population is over age 65?' We are an aging society – and will continue to be. Coming of Age in Aging America explores the demanding reality of this permanent transformational phenomenon."
According to the website
Coming of Age in an Aging America is an extensive public media project aimed at creating conversation and action to productively shape America as an aging society. Content was developed in collaboration with the MacArthur Network on Aging and Society.
are an aging society – and will continue to be. Coming of Age in Aging America explores the demanding reality of this permanent transformational phenomenon.
It will air June 30-July 1, 2017 on the WORLD channel.
Monday, May 15, 2017
Here's a seven-minute video on elder financial abuse, focusing mostly on "scam artists," from the Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Banking & Securities. You might find this useful for classes.
I found the discussion of "mild cognitive impairment" interesting, especially as it allows a conversation about planning without the dreaded words, dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.
May 15, 2017 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
A new one hour documentary, Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts, is scheduled to begin airing nationally on PBS stations on Wednesday, January 25.
In part, the documentary will focus on research funding issues. Dr. Ruby Tanzi, a Harvard Medical School researcher who appears on the film, explained for NextAvenue's website:
We should be absolutely panicked at the government level. When the Medicare and Medicaid [treatment and care] bill for Alzheimer’s goes from one in five dollars to one in three dollars — that could happen over the next decade with baby boomers getting older — we could single-handedly collapse Medicare and Medicaid with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, the government [research funding for Alzheimer's] has gone up to about a billion dollars. Which is great, it’s more money. It’s still not the billions of dollars that go to other age-related diseases. I’m glad that cancer and heart disease and AIDS get many billions of dollars, but Alzheimer’s has to get as much or more now given the epidemic and the urgency here with how many cases we’re going to have.
It’s going to crush us. Never mind the social burden on the families. I might add that two-thirds of patients are women. And most caregivers are women. What’s going to happen when so much of our female population is (struck) with this disease? So it’s a huge problem and if we don’t throw a ton of money at it now, it’ll be a disaster.
For more information on the documentary, including links to watch it on-line (free!), see PBS "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts." There is an important opportunity here for schools, including law schools, to host an airing of the documentary to promote discussion about strategies.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Huffington Post's Huff/Post 50 ran a story with an accompanying video, Millennials Show The World What They Believe ‘Old’ Looks Like. Not unexpectedly, their initial impressions involved some stereotypical perceptions of those who are older. Then watch the video to see what they have learned and how their views changed. Show the video to your class!
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
What a career Sally Fields has had, and all of her experience in playing determined, flawed, and intriguing characters comes into play in her central role in the recently released movie, "Hello, My Name is Doris." Lots to talk about here -- caregivers in family roles, friendship, hording, ageism-- including what it means to be an invisible woman of a certain age, who, after the death of her mother, decides to break away. Many laughs too (some of them rueful).
Friday, March 18, 2016
I was mulling over some recent press surrounding the announcement about the 5th Indiana Jones movie, starring Harrison Ford. The articles I saw were stories about Harrison Ford's age as far as playing the character. I first saw an article in The Guardian, titled Indiana Jones and the Tide of Ageism: why such a reaction to the fifth film? The Guardian article reported on the reactions regarding Mr. Ford's age: "[y]et the bulk of the backlash to the announcement instead concerned Ford’s age: 73 at the moment, 77 when the movie will be released in late summer 2019. The Noël Cowards of social media were swift to deploy their finest...." The article then includes some tweets where references were made (suggesting other movie titles that are pointed references to his age). I wondered how wide-spread these social media remarks had become, so I went looking for a few other articles, and found this one from USA Today, The world has loads of fake titles ready for 'Indiana Jones 5' which reports on more tweets and notes "[n]ow, Indy has never fought off pits of snakes in the digital age, therefore we welcome him to the future with a host of crowd-sourced titles for the currently untitled Indiana Jones 5. (Spoiler: ageism affects men too.)" I liked this statement in the Guardian article "[a]ll of this can be done just as easily at 77 as 37. Indeed, it could also be achieved at 87. Just as academia is not a young person’s game, neither is archeology."
Did I miss these types of stories when Mr. Ford reprised his Han Solo role in the most recent Star Wars movie?
All I can think is hmmm....
Monday, January 11, 2016
It's time for the new semester!!! Always such an exciting time for all of us. I wanted to see if anyone is doing anything new or innovative in your classes that you wanted to share. Are you assigning any movies or books (other than law school books) to your students? One of the books I'm considering suggesting is On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's. I'm also thinking of an assignment where the students research various technologies that are designed to help an elder age in place or stay safe. I'm happy to share results with those of you interested. Let us know your ideas and suggestions!
Thursday, January 7, 2016
As I reported frequently in 2015, in several jurisdictions around the U.S., family members are organizing to challenge abusive guardianships or conservatorships and to seek better accountability from court systems. Here are interesting video resources that examine issues, and which may provide useful opportunities for classroom discussion of this emerging movement.
See: Conservatorship: Legalized Elder Abuse (offering a perspective from California, by the Coalition for Elder and Dependent Adult Rights)
See also: Guardianships Under Fire (a 30 minute Contact 13 special, aired by KTNV on December 28, 2015, from Las Vegas, Nevada).
Monday, December 28, 2015
It's about an elder whose family can't make it home for Christmas and what he does to gather his family. You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6-0kYhqoRo
The Washington Post ran a story about it. This heartbreaking holiday ad is a powerful reminder of old people’s loneliness.
What do you think of the ad?
Monday, October 5, 2015
Illinois adopted a new law, Public Act 098-1093, effective on January 1, 2015 that assigns a "presumptively void" status to bequests made to non-family caregivers, if the transfer would take effect upon the death of the cared-for person. The law applies only to post-effective date bequests that are greater than $20,000 in fair market value. The statutory presumption can be "overcome if the transferee proves to the court" either:
1. by a preponderance of the evidence that the transferee's share under the transfer instrument is not greater than the share the transferee was entitled to receive under ... a transfer instrument in effect prior to the transferee becoming a caregiver, or
2. by clear and convincing evidence the transfer was not the product of fraud, duress or undue influence.
The law only applies in civil actions where the transfer is challenged by other beneficiaries or heirs.
(Fun) Spoiler Alert: The new law plays a clever "starring role" in the Fall 2015 season premiere of The Good Wife. Let's see how many of our law students were watching!
October 5, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Film, Property Management, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Professor Cynthia Bond at John Marshall Law is doing a survey on how law profs use pop culture in their classrooms. Here is her email providing more info and requesting responses to her survey:
Greetings Law Teacher Colleagues:
I am working on an article this summer on uses of popular culture in the law school classroom. I am defining popular culture broadly to include mass culture texts like movies, TV shows, popular music, images which circulate on the internet, etc, and also any current events that you may reference in the classroom which are not purely legal in nature (i.e. not simply a recent court decision).
To support this article, I am doing a rather unscientific survey to get a sense of what law professors are doing in this area. If you are a law professor and you use popular culture in your class, I would be most grateful if you could answer this quick, anonymous survey I have put together:
Thanks in advance for your time and have a wonderful rest of summer!
The John Marshall Law School
Thursday, May 28, 2015
In the PBS documentary airing in May and June, Caring for Mom & Dad, the second half of the program focuses on policy initiatives to support services for older adults. One interesting highlight is Ohio's use of local property tax levies that directly supplement senior services. Begun in the early 1980s as a referendum initiative in just one county, similar programs have been adopted by voters in counties or municipalities in more than 70 of Ohio's 88 counties. That is an amazing history, especially given the usual hostilities about "new" taxes. Voters appear to recognize that the levies permit unique flexibility to design programs that meet the needs of their community's seniors, whether in rural or urban areas, such as transportation services or home care subsidies. The revenue now generated in Ohio, more than $125 million per year, exceeds federal grant funding under the Older Americans Act nationally.
Ohio's inspiring "Lady of the Levy," Lois Dale Brown, is mentioned in the PBS documentary, and she's profiled, along with additional details about the senior service levies, on the Ohio Department of Aging's website.
As a reminder, WPSU-TV is airing Caring for Mom & Dad at 8 p.m. this evening in Pennsylvania, followed by a one hour "Conversations Live" open to incoming calls, texts and emails. Details available here.
May 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Film, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thursday, May 14, 2015
PBS is premiering a powerful documentary special, Caring for Mom & Dad, during the month of May, with Meryl Streep as the narrator. A sample? Many of us might find resonance with one adult's "bad daughter" (or "bad son") feelings of guilt, candidly admitted here.
Even more important than the video itself will be the conversations that follow viewing. Check your local public t.v. schedule to see when the program will air in your area. (You can check here, to see if the documentary is scheduled yet in your viewing area -- go to the drop down menu for "Schedule.") Plus, in some markets, the documentary will be combined with a live call-in opportunity for individuals and families to explore health care, social care, financial topics and legal issues with a panel of experts.
My own university, Penn State, is hosting the special on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time), followed by Conversations Live at 9:00 p.m. That is two weeks from today on WPSU-TV, a station that reaches a viewing area of 29 counties in central Pennsylvania. In addition, the Conversations Live program will be broadcast on WPSU-FM radio and can be viewed "on-line" at WPSU.org.
As a result of an invitation to be part of the WPSU studio panel, I've had the opportunity to watch the documentary -- several times (it's that interesting!) -- in preparation to help in responding to audience comments, emails and call-in questions. Additional Conversations Live guests include:
Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations and director of National Domestic Workers Alliance, will be joining via satellite from D.C. Ai-jen Poo is featured in the documentary, and she also has a particular interest in enactment of a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, to deal realistically and fairly with the work force that will be necessary to meet the boomer generation's care needs.
Dr. Gwen McGhan, Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State, with a research background on informal family caregiving.
Jane McDowell, Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State, and a geriatric nurse practitioner.
The documentary was produced by WGBH-Boston, with funding assistance from AARP and Pfizer.
Please join us and share your stories and observations. The documentary starts with personal stories, but the public policy messages that emerge are ones that need to be heard at state and federal levels -- and heard clearly -- for there to be hope for realistic, necessary and timely solutions.
May 14, 2015 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Film, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Monday, May 11, 2015
Have you seen the movie Woman in Gold? Lots here for lawyers, law professors, and students to discuss -- which may be why reviewers often seem to mention the movie is, hmm, a tad slow moving. There is nothing like watching a lawyer research in dusty libraries to frustrate a significant percentage of the viewing public waiting for the next explosion or car crash.
At the heart of the movie version of the tale is a document, relied on by Viennese authorities as their provenance for a renowned painting's "rightful" place in Austria. Is it or isn't it a "will" executed by Adele Bloch-Bauer? She was the subject of Gustav Klimt's shimmering painting, and the question is whether the document controls the ultimate fate of the painting. Helen Mirren is her usual marvelous self, portraying the 80+ year-old niece of Adele and a member of a Jewish family targeted by Nazi hatred.
Here's a nice follow-up to the movie story, courtesy of the New York Times, Patricia Cohen's The Story Behind ‘Woman in Gold’: Nazi Art Thieves and One Painting’s Return.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
There is an interesting new YouTube video available, with charismatic, high-profile actors encouraging all of us to initiate "The Talk" about how we -- or our loved ones -- want to handle the possibility, indeed probability, that someday we will need long-term care. Rob Lowe, Maria Shriver, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angela Bassett, Zachary Quinto and Jim Nantz admit the difficulties of talking about growing old, often using vivid tidbits from their own lives or families to emphasize the importance of breaking past the barriers of denial.
I like the video. It is simple, direct. But, at the same time, I find the initial video, while interesting, to be a lacking in specifics about what it means to "talk" about long-term-care planning. The 2-minute video is actually part of a series created by Genworth, the major seller of long-term care insurance, and if you hit the right (wrong?) buttons you are directed to Genworth websites that offer more details, especially about -- surprise, surprise -- buying long-term care insurance.
I suspect that many people will panic if they hear "pay some money now" in order to buy LTC insurance, as even a part of the "solution." See what you think:
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The movie, Still Alice, has been released. Starring Julianne Moore in the role of the lead character, the movie is based on the book by the same name written by Lisa Genova. The book and movie are about a professor who has early onset Alzheimer's. The synopsis from the movie's website describes the movie this way:
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
My colleague and great friend, Professor Laurel Terry, shared Paul Sullivan's Wealth Matters column from the New York Times, that uses the new movie Still Alice as a reminder of the importance of family conversation:
"For anyone who has ever watched a family member disappear into Alzheimer’s, Ms. Moore’s performance is gripping, particularly as her tricks to stall her decline inevitably fail and the later stages of the disease consume her. Yet the movie is also a great vessel to explore many of the financial issues that families need to address when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other disease that causes cognitive impairment."
The column continues with thoughts from financial professionals, who sometimes observe the early signs of a long-time client's decline:
"Thomas Mingone, managing partner at Capital Management Group of New York, said he had clients whose mental slide had been apparent to the advisers, accountants and lawyers in the room but not to the client. Since advisers are bound by a fiduciary duty to protect their clients’ privacy, Mr. Mingone said he can’t simply call up their children to let them know. With a client who seems to be slipping but lives alone and sees family members infrequently, Mr. Mingone said he suggests a family meeting, which allows him to connect with his client’s children. Other times, he said, just asking clients how they are doing brings the problem out.
'Sometimes when you bring this up with clients, it’s a relief to them,' he said."
For additional realities, including the problem of end-of-life decision-making and care choices, read "In Alzheimer's Cases, Financial Ruin and Abuse Are Always Lurking."
Sunday, September 7, 2014
One of the challenges of teaching a course called Wills, Trusts, and Estates, is drawing diagrams to chart intestate succession in an effort to explain what happens when you don't create an estate plan (or your written estate plan has gaps or defects). I'm always looking for good stories to incentivize my students.
That's one reason why I found "The Heir's Not Apparent" by Randy Kennedy so interesting, as the New York Times writer describes the search for missing heirs of American photographer Vivian Maier, who died in 2009, apparently without a will. According to the article, a suit to establish the rights of a previously unknown heir, a first cousin in France, has been filed by Virginia attorney David Deal (himself a photographer), "who said he became fascinated with Maier's life in law school and took it upon himself to try to track down an heir."
Maier's post-death fame as a "street photographer" has created a market for her huge cache of mostly unpublished photos, part of which was purchased by an individual for $380 in a thrift auction in Chicago. However, the suit rests on the premise that "[u]nder federal copyright law, owning a photographer's negative or a print is distinct from owning the copyright itself. The copyright owner controls whether images can be reproduced and sold."
A 2014 documentary, Finding Vivian Maier, helps to give "color" to her interesting story of a life quietly filled with black and white photographs.