Thursday, November 19, 2015

They're Out...CMS releases 2016 premium and co-pay amounts

CMS has released the 2016 amounts for deductibles, premiums, and co-pays for Medicare A and B.  The Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts  are available in the Federal Register here. (The inpatient deductible is $1,288 for 2016). The Part B amounts are available here.  Remember because there is no COLA this year, the hold harmless provision keeps the Part B premium the same as last year for many Medicare Beneficiaries.  For those not protected by the hold harmless provision, their Part B premiums will be $121.80+ $3.  Don't forget that higher income beneficiaries will pay a higher premium, referred to as the income-related monthly adjustment.  The higher premium amounts can be found here as well.

November 19, 2015 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicare, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wearable Technology-Personal "airbags"

One of my regular "must reads" is Aging In Place Technology Watch. I love reading about all the new cool tech and how companies are innovating to make lives better for us as we age.  So catching up on reading emails, I was reading the post on the LeadingAge2015 Annual meeting.  The technologies reported in this post were fascinating, but the one that really caught my attention was HipHope.   Looking at the website, the best way I can describe the technology is wearable air bags.  

The website describes the device. "Hip-Hope™ is a revolutionary active hip protector device, providing unprecedented fall impact absorption effectiveness, combined with highly reliable real-time fall detection capability.  Hip-Hope™ unique achievements are a result of “out-of-the-box” design concepts and technological innovations."

According to the website, the device deploys in the blink of the eye, and it looks compact and easily wearable.  Check out the video demonstrating it.

November 15, 2015 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Arbitration Clauses-They're Everywhere

If you haven't read this yet, this is a must-read. The New York Times did an in-depth series on the use of mandatory arbitration clauses. On October 31, 2015, the Times ran the first in the series: Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice. On November 1, 2015, the next story in the series ran:  In Arbitration, a 'Privatization of the Justice System'. 

I recommend you read them in order.  What you learn may be surprising.  We have all heard about arbitration clauses in long-term care agreements. You may be surprised to learn the breadth of use of arbitration clauses.

Read the series.  And assign it to your students.

November 2, 2015 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Call in Program Today with Ken Dychtwald

Today Ken Dychtwald (AgeWave) will appear on  NPR/KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasny. The call-in program is set from 10-11 pdt. According to the email announcement I received from AgeWave, the program host and Mr. Dychtwald "will be candidly discussing Ken’s thoughts and personal feelings about what it means to be an aging expert who just turned 65.  For the first time, Ken will publicly reflect on how he is both distressed and motivated by his own aging process and how his books, such as Age Wave, may or may not jibe with what he is now experiencing personally." Listen to the interview here:

Can't make the live program? This is the link to where the interview will be archived:

August 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Other, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Aging America-County by County

The Pew Research Center released a map showing the aging of America by county.  Where do the oldest Americans live? provides a map of the U.S. that shows the percentage of a county's population 65 and older. As the website explains, due to the aging of the Boomers and increased longevity, 

more counties across America are graying. A new Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2014 population estimates finds that 97% of counties saw an increase in their 65-and-older population since 2010.

On average, a U.S. county’s 65-and-older population grew by 12.4% from 2010 to 2014. (Our analysis of population change over time included only counties or county equivalents with a population of 1,000 or more adults ages 65 and older in 2014.)

And yes, Florida is still one of the "grayest" states, with 3 Florida counties ranking in the top 4 of the grayest counties.  The report notes as well that some states are getting "younger" with

 a tiny share of counties (3%) saw a drop in the 65-and-older demographic since 2010. Oklahoma’s small Alfalfa County, on the Kansas border, had the highest rate of decrease in the 65-and-older population, at 9.5%...  North Dakota ...  had two counties, Williams and Wells, rank among the top five for rate of decrease of adults 65 and older. Three counties experienced no change since 2010... Alaska is the “youngest” state based on its share that is 65 and older (9.4%). Fully 26 of 29 Alaska counties have percentages of people 65 and older that fall below the U.S. average.

August 12, 2015 in Current Affairs, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tech Innovations Announced in Conjunction With the White House Conference on Aging

I was reading a blog post from Aging in Place Technology Watch which offered a roundup of tech announcements coming out of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. I was intrigued by the UberAssist project which according to the announcement on Uber's website

Today, Uber will participate in the White House Conference on Aging and discuss Uber’s efforts to engage the senior community. At the event, we will announce the launch of a pilot program for community-based senior outreach. In cities across the country, Uber will offer free technology tutorials and free rides at select retirement communities and senior centers. Alongside public and private sector representatives, we hope to further the conversation about the way technology adoption can improve older adults’ day-to-day lives.

Uber has some projects going in Florida, for example, in Gainesville, Uber 

is working with the City ...  to offer on-demand transportation for residents of two senior centers as part of a six month program. Anytime a resident at a participating senior center needs a ride, he or she can request one at an even more affordable rate because of support from the city. Free technology tutorials will be available throughout, so residents of the participating centers can feel comfortable and at ease using Uber. Uber is also piloting a similar senior ride program in partnership with the Town of Miami Lakes.

I also was interested to learn about the announcement from Phillips about the AgingWell Hub which is

a unique new collaborative research and development initiative for open innovation that will  examine and share solutions for aging well. The initiative will identify new  technologies, products and services, as well as provide thought leadership in  collaboration with older adults, caregivers, healthcare systems, payers, policy  makers, corporate innovators, entrepreneurs and academia.  The AWH will also  seek solutions to improve technology adoption among older adults and make aging  well a reality for more people, by enabling them to better connect with their  communities and healthcare providers. 

You can read all of the WHCOA partner press releases and announcements here.

August 5, 2015 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Virtual Heartbreak

The New York Times ran a story on July 17, 2015 on how scammers are targeting older individuals on internet dating sites. Swindlers Target Older Women on Dating Websites tells the stories of several elders who ended up sending significant sums of money to scammers who had developed virtual relationships with these elders.  This high-tech version of the "romance con" has resulted in the legislature in at least one state, Vermont, to consider "pass[ing] a law requiring online dating sites to notify members quickly when there is suspicious activity on their accounts or when another member has been barred on suspicion of financial fraud." As well, the story explains, the proliferation of the virtual version of the romance con was the impetus for action from AARP.

Despite warnings, the digital version of the romance con is now sufficiently widespread that AARP’s Fraud Watch Network in June urged online dating sites to institute more safeguards to protect against such fraud. The safeguards it suggests include using computer algorithms to detect suspicious language patterns, searching for fake profiles, alerting members who have been in contact with someone using a fake profile and providing more education so members are aware of romance cons.

The AARP network recommends that from the beginning, dating site members use Google’s “search by image” to see if the suitor’s picture appears on other sites with different names. If an email from “a potential suitor seems suspicious, cut and paste it into Google and see if the words pop up on any romance scam sites,” the network advised.

On AARP's site, individuals can learn more about these digital romance cons, sign an on-line petition to dating sites to adopt safety measures, and learn 10 tips on how to spot a romance scammer and 5 tips to protect oneself from this "virtual heartbreak".

August 4, 2015 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pop Culture in Your Classroom?

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!

Cynthia Bond

The John Marshall Law School

Chicago, IL

July 28, 2015 in Current Affairs, Film, Music, Other, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Forty-nine years ago...

The New York Times' "On this Day" squib reminded us today: 

"On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Miranda vs. Arizona decision, ruling that criminal suspects must be informed of their constitutional rights prior to questioning by police."

That triggered memories, as the day the landmark decision first became known in Arizona, the father of one of my friends offered everyone in the neighborhood a glass of champagne, even us kids.  At the time I did not fully appreciate the reason.  It was only years later that I put it together that the celebrant was John P. Flynn, the lawyer who successfully argued the Miranda case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Even more years later, in the 2000 Supreme Court decision of Dickerson v. U.S., another man from that same Phoenix, Arizona neighborhood would confirm the importance of "Miranda warnings" as an accepted mainstay of protection for individuals suspected of crimes.  Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist did not share the legal or political philosophies that generated the original ruling, but he could be persuaded to respect the role of stare decisis. I have often been bemused by the fact that John Flynn, a bold advocate and life-long Democrat,  had once celebrated his biggest victory with the children of the neighborhood, including the children of a future Supreme Court Justice, well known for his conservatism.  Phoenix, especially the legal community, was a very small town in those days.

My trip down memory lane took me to a colorful account of John P. Flynn's life.  It is the story of a creative and talented lawyer, from an era much more tolerant of personal flaws. Read "Remembering John Flynn" by his one-time law partner Tom Galbraith.

June 13, 2015 in Crimes, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

White House Conference on Aging July 13, 2015

Mark your calendars. The date for the WHCOA has been set for July 13, 2015. The event is going to be webcast live.  Folks are encouraged to watch it and even tweet questions for the panelists at the conference. For more ideas and information, click here.

June 10, 2015 in Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Programs/CLEs, Retirement, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Living a Longer, Fulfilling Life?

The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on May 31 about longevity and how to have a fulfilling life with those extra years of living.   How to Make the Most of Longer Lives focuses not just on planning financially for living longer, but questions what to do with those added years to be sure one has a  meaningful life. The author suggests "[w]e need to marshal imagination and ingenuity to devise new strategies for enhancing the whole range of experiences in later life, including education, faith, housing, work, finance and community" and then offers six suggestions to increase the quality of life: (1) give a new name to this period of life; (2) smooth the way to transition into this part of life (or as the author explains it retirement and then "un-retirement" is "a do-it-yourself process. It’s time to help make this post-midlife passage more efficient and suited to preparing individuals emotionally and spiritually for what lies ahead."); (3) education specifically for the second half of life (4) financial security; (5) promote multi-generational housing; (6) create a model where inventors brainstorm new ideas for this part of life.

The author concludes with reference to the upcoming White House Conference on Aging and the challenges that await all of us with aging.

June 8, 2015 in Current Affairs, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How Much Money Will You Have at the End of Your Life?

The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) published a note in April, 2015 that looked at the question of how much money people have at the end of their lives.  A Look At the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America. Here is what the study examined

This report takes a comprehensive look at the financial situation of older Americans at the end of their lives. In particular, it documents the percentage of households with a member who recently died with very few assets (total assets as well as non-housing assets). It also documents income, debt, home-ownership rates, net home equity and the share of their income coming from Social Security benefits for those households.

This report is useful as part of the work by EBRI in looking at retirement security and whether people will have sufficient funds to last the rest of their lives.  Here are some bullets from the conclusion:

  • For those who died at ages 85 or above, 20.6 percent had no non-housing assets and 12.2 percent had no assets left.
  • Among singles who died at or above age 85, 24.6 percent had no non-housing assets left and 16.7 percent had no assets left.
  • Those who died at earlier ages were generally worse off financially: 29.8 percent of households that lost a member between ages 50 and 64 had no assets left. 
  • People who died earlier also had significantly lower household income than households with all surviving members. 
  • Among singles who died at ages 85 or above, 9.1 percent had outstanding debt (other than mortgage debt) and the average debt amount was $6,368. 
  • The average net equity left in their primary residence for those who died at ages 85 or above was $141,147 and $83,471 for couple and single households, respectively.

May 26, 2015 in Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Got an Idea? Maybe You Are an Inventor!

Are you an inventor?  Ever have a good idea for an invention?  There is a renaissance of sorts in American ingenuity with an increasing number of older Americans becoming inventors.  The NY Times ran a story about older inventors on April 17, 2015. More Older Adults Are Becoming Inventors notes this renaissance

Whether as volunteers or for profit, older inventors ... are riding a rising tide of American innovation. They are teaming up, joining inventors clubs and getting their products into the marketplace. And older inventors bring valuable skills to their work, many experts say, like worldly wisdom and problem-solving abilities that can give them an advantage over younger inventors.

According to the article, the Baby Boomers are at least part of the catalysts for this surge of older inventors, as the boomers look for products to assist them as they get older. According to one expert quoted in the article, older inventors may have an edge over younger ones, since "[a]n aging brain can see patterns better.”  Before you get out the proverbial drawing board, the article notes that inventions don't necessarily lead to wealth with less than 5% of inventions making money, not to mention the prototype and startup costs

April 24, 2015 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fundamentals of SNT Administration webinar-it's not too late to register

Stetson College of Law and the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson Law (full disclosure, I'm hosting this webinar) is offering the annual Fundamentals webinar on Friday April 24, 2015 from 1-5 p.m..  This half-day webinar features presentations by Stu Zimring, Mary Alice Jackson and Robert Fleming.  More information, the schedule and registration information are available here.

April 22, 2015 in Estates and Trusts, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Promises of Confidentiality in Academic Research? Potential Lessons from The Belfast Project

Today is St. Patrick's Day, celebrated with greater fervor in many U.S. communities than it is in Ireland.  Indeed, as I learned during my 2010 sabbatical in Northern Ireland, while Belfast is home to a variety of dramatic "historical" parades and holidays, events on St. Patrick's Day are low key and mostly for children.  Signs of the Times in Belfast Candidate Gerry Adams

In the March 16 issue of The New Yorker magazine, writer (and Yale-educated lawyer) Patrick Radden Keefe digs into the history of Northern Ireland, looking at the late stages of the Troubles.  He examines possible roles played by Gerry Adams as an acknowledged leader of political party Sinn Fein versus his long-denied authority for certain violent actions of the IRA. 

Keefe provides a comprehensive analysis of the events before and after the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, offering details that are devastating if true about how violence was often at its most problematic when perpetrated within the ranks of extreme republican and loyalist factions. Central to the history is the lingering question of who was responsible for the December 1972 abduction and execution of Jean McConville, the widowed mother of 10 children, suspected of informing against the IRA.

In the article, Gerry Adams comes across as determined to be both charismatic and enigmatic, as hero and anti-hero, as deeply devoted to a "United Ireland," while also oddly enamored with trivial self-promotion. I came away from the article thinking it was a good reminder of how dangerous it can be -- in any country -- to believe absolutely in any single leader.

The article also presents ethical questions associated with efforts to document the Troubles through oral histories recorded under the auspices of Boston College:

Continue reading

March 17, 2015 in Books, Ethical Issues, International, Other | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Indiana Law Review Symposium: State Governments & Aging Populations

Check out  Volume 48, Issue 1 of the Indiana Law Review which contains articles from the  2013 Program on Law & State Government Fellowship Symposium:  State Governments Face the Realities of Aging Populations. Three articles are included from the symposium, all of which are available on-line. The articles include Introduction:  Governing Choices in the Face of a Generational Storm, Aging Populations and Physician Aid in Dying:  The Evolution of State Government Policy, and What the Future of Aging Means to All of Us:  An Era of Possibilities.

February 27, 2015 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Another Movie for Our List

I recently watched the movie, The Judge, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall, among others.  The premise of the movie is interesting and there's even a good thread about ethics (especially Rule 1.1) running through the movie.  What caught my eye toward the end of the movie is (spoiler alert) the use of compassionate release. Although we may cover this in our classes, I don't know that I've seen that crop up in movies. So, I'm thinking of adding this movie to my list for my elder law class. Any movies you think should be on the list?

February 6, 2015 in Crimes, Other, Television | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Follow the happenings with the White House Conference on Aging 2015

Directly from the White House:

The first White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) was held in 1961, with subsequent conferences in 1971, 1981, 1995, and 2005. These conferences have been viewed as catalysts for development of aging policy over the past 50 years. The conferences generated ideas and momentum prompting the establishment of and/or key improvements in many of the programs that represent America’s commitment to older Americans including: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Older Americans Act.

Historic photo: Overarching view of the attendees of the 1961 White House Conference on Aging

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.

In the past, conference processes were determined by statute with the form and structure directed by Congress through legislation authorizing the Older Americans Act. To date, Congress has not reauthorized the Older Americans Act, and the pending bill does not include a statutory requirement or framework for the 2015 conference.

However, the White House is committed to hosting a White House Conference on Aging in 2015 and intends to seek broad public engagement and work closely with stakeholders in developing the conference. We also plan to use web tools and social media to encourage as many older Americans as possible to participate. We are engaging with stakeholders and members of the public about the issues and ideas most important to older individuals, their caregivers, and families. We also encourage people to submit their ideas directly through the Get Involved section on this website.

January 14, 2015 in Consumer Information, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other, Programs/CLEs, Web/Tech, Webinars, Weblogs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Canada: New online program aims to help reduce financial abuse of seniors through education and awareness

Launch of Financial Abuse of Older Adults: Recognize, Review and Respond program marks end of Financial Literacy Month

In honour of November being Financial Literacy Month, Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC) has partnered with Credit Union Central of Manitoba (CUCM) and Prevent Elder Abuse Manitoba (PEAM) – in collaboration with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada – to launch a new online course: Financial Abuse of Older Adults: Recognize, Review and Respond.  The purpose of this course is to help educate credit union staff about financial elder abuse and provide them with key information, including: how to identify incidences of elder abuse; how to mitigate the risks; community resources available; as well as the legal and ethical responsibilities of both the financial institution and the senior involved.  Upon completion of the course, credit union employees will have the opportunity to share their knowledge with members of the community – especially with Canadian seniors –, to help them understand more about elder abuse and how to prevent it happening to them.  Minister of State (Seniors), the Honourable Alice Wong; Minister of Healthy Living and Seniors (Manitoba), the Honourable Deanne Crothers; Lawrence Toet, MP (Elmwood-Transcona); Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader; Martha Durdin, President and CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada, and Ted Richert, Vice President, Credit Union Central of Manitoba will make remarks.  The program was written and developed by Tamlo International Inc. and will be distributed exclusively by CUSOURCE Credit Union Knowledge Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of Credit Union Central of Canada that provides learning and development solutions to the Canadian credit union system.

Source:  Canada News Wire

December 3, 2014 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, International, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Laughter is Great Medicine-Even When Talking About Zombies

Start your week with a laugh, or at least a smile.

One of the many blogs I read, GeriPal, ran an excellent parody for Halloween that had me howling....with laughter at the author's cleverness. Addressing Unmet Palliative and Geriatric Needs of Zombies  is a hysterical must-read. The title gives you an excellent preview. And don't ignore the links in the article to the other sources, especially the one regarding the speed with which the Grim Reaper walks (at least the section on strengths and limitations).


November 2, 2014 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Cognitive Impairment, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)