Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How "Liveable" is Your Community?

AARP has named the top 10 cities with populations  500,000 and over that are the most "liveable." I'm not living in one of the top ten-are you? Nor am I living in one of the top 10 mid-sized (100,000-499,999) "liveable" communities. Nope, not living in one of the top 10 small (25,000-99,999) "liveable" communities either. 

How does AARP determine if a community meets their liveability scale?  The website explains that "AARP developed the Livability Index, a ground-breaking tool—now in its third year—that uses more than 50 national data sources and 60 indicators spread across seven categories to jump-start community conversations about livability and encourage action by consumers and policymakers alike.It turns out that many of the characteristics that make a community “livable” are the same across all ages: safety and security, affordable and appropriate housing and transportation, and the ability to live near family and friends who can be relied upon." The index looks at housing, environment, health, community engagement, employment, neighborhoods and transportation. How does your city fare?

BTW, this could be a really good exercise for students to do in their elder law course. The fall semester will be here before we know it!

July 11, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 22, 2018

Where the Elders Are

CityLab recently ran a story about populations and particularly, where elders are residing. Mapping America’s Aging Population explains that "Demographers and geographers have watched as this aging cohort transformed the U.S., from young children in the 1950s and 1960s to senior citizens today. This graying of America has left a distinctive geographical fingerprint."

Want to guess where elders are living?  If you started with the sunbelt you would be somewhat correct. "Unsurprisingly, popular retirement states like Florida and Arizona have high concentrations of older Americans... What may be more of a surprise is the broad swaths of elderly running through the Midwest and the Appalachians. These regions have aged significantly, as many younger residents headed toward the coasts."  The demographic maps provide good pictorial representations of the locations where elders are living.

The article looks at births and deaths and relocation. Interestingly, "[p]eople are less likely to move as they age. In 1968, parents of the baby boomers were in their highly mobile, young adult years, but today boomers are older and more apt to stay where they are."

The Boomers seem to be clustering in certain geographic areas:

Baby boomers have contributed to this trend. Fifty years ago, this group was spread out evenly among the rest of the general population. By 1990, they had became more bicoastal and were concentrated in a small number of dynamic, growing metropolitan areas.

Between 1990 and 2000, a substantial number of boomers flocked from these metro areas to amenity-laden retirement and pre-retirement regions, like the Pacific Northwest, Florida, northern Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as some areas of the South, like the Ozark region and the Western Carolinas.

These areas have continued to grow, while baby boomers moved away in their greatest numbers from the southern Great Plains and the area along the Mississippi River Valley.

Thanks to my colleague and dear friend, Mark Bauer, for sending me the article.

 

 

June 22, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other, Property Management, Retirement, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Interpreting a Living Will in the ER Setting

Maybe it's just me, but does it seem to you that there are a lot of articles of late about advance directives and end of life issues?  Here's a recent one published by Kaiser Health News.   That ‘Living Will’ You Signed? At The ER, It Could Be Open To Interpretation.

opens with an ER nurse saying DNR because the patient had a living will, but reading the document showed the language to be just the opposite, "'[d]o everything possible,' it read, with a check approving cardiopulmonary resuscitation."  The point is to illustrate the mistake that the existence of a living will automatically means no resuscitation. "Unfortunately, misunderstandings involving documents meant to guide end-of-life decision-making are “surprisingly common,” said [the] medical director of advance-care planning and end-of-life education for Huntsville Hospital Health System in Alabama."

There's a new report from Pennsylvania, Empowering Patients and Agents to Help Prevent Errors with Living Wills, DNRs, and POLSTs

In 2016, acute healthcare facilities in the Commonwealth reported through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) nearly 100 events involving the code status or treatment level of patients. Twenty-nine patients were resuscitated against their wishes. Two patients were not treated when their wishes indicated they should have been. The remaining cases represent near misses that could have affected the patient, but were resolved before harm occurred.

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is unable to verify whether the do not resuscitate (DNR) orders or physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) were appropriate, correctly created, or verified prior to these patient safety events occurring in real time.

The Kaiser Health News article details communication missteps and offers that

The problem, Hoffman explained, is that doctors and nurses receive little, if any, training in understanding and interpreting living wills, DNR orders and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms, either on the job or in medical or nursing school.

Communication breakdowns and a pressure-cooker environment in emergency departments, where life-or-death decisions often have to be made within minutes, also contribute to misunderstandings, other experts said.

One expert interviewed for the article suggests these missteps are more common explaining his use of hypotheticals where "he has asked medical providers how they would respond to hypothetical situations involving patients with critical and terminal illnesses."  He goes on to explain

He described a 46-year-old woman brought to the ER with a heart attack and suddenly goes into cardiac arrest. Although she’s otherwise healthy, she has a living will refusing all potentially lifesaving medical interventions. What would you do, he asked more than 700 physicians in an internet survey?

Only 43 percent of those doctors said they would intervene to save her life — a troubling figure...Since this patient didn’t have a terminal condition, her living will didn’t apply to the situation at hand and every physician should have been willing to offer aggressive treatment, he explained.

The article offers some suggestions from one expert to avoid these situations: "[m]ake sure you have ongoing discussions about your end-of-life preferences with your physician, surrogate decision-maker, if you have one, and family, especially when your health status changes...  Without these conversations, documents can be difficult to interpret."

June 19, 2018 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

BBB: Sweepstakes & Lottery Scams

The Better Business Bureau recently released a new report, Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams. So why, you ask, am I writing about this report?Because of this:

BBB found these frauds concentrate disproportionately on older people, who suffer the largest losses by far. A vast worldwide industry of sweepstakes mailings specifically targets older victims. Major law enforcement efforts are focused on the millions of deceptive mailings that have flooded the mailboxes of seniors across the country. In addition to money loss, victims often are emotionally devastated when they realize they have been defrauded. Some have even resorted to committing suicide.

In particular, the report offers data for the past 3 years by age group and shows the number of complaints by age and the amount of losses (and the total is staggering). The report ponders why elders are targets, offering

While some studies suggest older consumers are somewhat less likely to be fraud victims than the general population, perhaps because they have more life experience to guide them, there is evidence suggesting they are more likely to become victims of sweepstakes fraud. Complaint data shows more than half of victims are over 60, and those over 70 years old account for more than two thirds of the losses related to this scheme.

Why is this? It is speculated that the fraudsters hope to find victims with mild cognitive impairment, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These people often continue sending hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars to fraudsters. A retired college president sent tens of thousands of dollars to scammers. CNN reported that an older man suffering from Alzheimer’s sent all of his funds to scammers and then committed suicide when the prize money never came. A San Diego TV station explains how one senior victim was defrauded.

In addition, seniors may simply have more money and may have been at the same address, with the same phone number, for a longer time and therefore may be easier to locate.

The 16 page report offers insight onto scams from Jamaica, Costa Rica and social media, provides profile stories of some victims and perpetrators, and offers suggestions and recommendations with contact info for agencies that handle cases of scams and frauds.

There is a lot of information packed into this 16 page report. Check it out!

June 7, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, International, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Doctors' Conversations with Patients About Aid-in-Dying

Earlier this week I posted an update on California's aid-in-dying law.  I was interested in this article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Beyond Legalization — Dilemmas Physicians Confront Regarding Aid in Dying.

Noting that doctors in jurisdictions where aid-in-dying is lawful are will need to have conversations with patients making the request, the author suggests

Physicians can start by clarifying what patients are asking and why. Some ways in which patients might raise the topic of PAD are listed in the box. Not every question about PAD is a request for assisted suicide. Patients might be seeking information, talking through concerns, expressing distress, or trying to ascertain the physician’s views. To clarify the patient’s motivation, physicians might say, “I’ll be glad to answer that question, but first please tell me what led you to ask.”

The author offers some examples of how patients might raise the issues with their doctors and suggests the next step for doctors is to

explore patients’ concerns and identify and address their palliative care needs, regardless of the physicians’ own views or the legal status of PAD where they practice. Discussions could cover patients’ physical symptoms; psychosocial, existential, and spiritual suffering; hopes and fears; and goals of care. All options for end-of-life care should be discussed, including palliative and hospice care and palliative sedation.

It’s also important for physicians to think through what actions they’re willing to take. Both physicians who support PAD and those who oppose it should try to relieve patients’ multidimensional concerns and distress. After comprehensive palliative care is intensified, 46% of patients who have requested PAD change their minds. (citations omitted).

The author recommends the doctors consider the parameters of when they would participate in medical-aid-in-dying, offering that "perceived loss of autonomy and dignity is now a more common reason for requesting PAD than inadequate pain control." (citation omitted). The author also discusses issues that may occur from a doctor's lack of experience in the area and potential adverse outcomes and counseling families about them. The author also offers some comments for doctors who are opposed to medical aid-in-dying  and concludes with this advice: "[r]esponding to inquiries about PAD is new territory for most physicians. To fulfill their obligations to patients and be true to their own values, physicians should think through how they will respond to the challenges raised by these conversations."

 

June 6, 2018 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Thank you Professor Frolik

Professor Larry Frolik is a rock star, plain and simple. If you ask anyone about the development of elder law, especially in law schools, Professor Frolik's is the first name coming to mind. His contributions to the field are immense and so important.  I was saddened to learn in the spring semester that he was retiring at the end of said semester. Serious bummer. But, good news arrived in the form of an email from him late last week. Although he's retired, he reported that he will keep his office at the College of Law at U. Pitt and also his email address. I suspect he'll continue to be involved in the field and for that possibility, I am extremely grateful. Join me by sending Professor Emeritus Frolik an email thanking him for all of his guidance, leadership and contributions to getting the field,and all of us academics, to where we are today!  Thank you Professor Frolik!!!

June 5, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Register Now: Free Webinar on Helping Elders Post-Disaster

With hurricane season looming (it starts June 1), this notice about an upcoming webinar is particulary timely. The National Center on Law & Elder Rights has scheduled a free webinar for June 20, 2018 at 2 p.m. edt, Assisting Older Homeowners After a Natural Disaster. The announcement explains this about the webinar

Older adults face unique challenges and exhibit different vulnerabilities during and after a natural disaster. Older homeowners, for example, may need additional assistance securing their homes and moving out of a storm's path. Recovering from the disaster may also be a challenge for older adults on fixed or limited income. This free webcast will address both the practical challenges and resources available to aid older homeowners after a disaster. The discussion will highlight the loss mitigation and other options available to prevent mortgage foreclosure, and housing and other related assistance from FEMA. Closed captioning will be available on this webcast. A link with access to the captions will be shared through GoToWebinar’s chat box shortly before the webcast start time. Presenters: • Odette Williamson, Staff Attorney, National Consumer Law Center • Sapna Aiyer, Managing Attorney, Housing & Consumer Unit, Lone Star Legal Aid

May 29, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Chip Chiplin 2018 Recipient of NAELA Theresa Award

One of my heroes, Alfred "Chip" Chiplin, who died last year, was the 2018 recipient of the NAELA Theresa Award. The award is presented by the Theresa Foundation and was awarded at the 24th Annual Theresa awards as well as at NAELA's 2018 annual meeting.  The award "is an annual community service award presented by the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation to a NAELA member in recognition of his or her advocacy and support of individuals with disabilities."  The award was accepted by Chip's sister.

More information about the amazing work of the Theresa Foundation is available here.

May 28, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Not Everyone Is Driving Along the Information Highway

Believe it or not, there are those in the US who are not on the Internet. Although the numbers are growing, some still haven't gotten onto the information highway. We are seeing an increase in the use of the Internet by those we consider elders, but there are still others who don't use it.

Pew Research periodically releases a report on internet use. The last one, a Fact Tank from a couple of months ago, showed a gradual increase.  11% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they?explains that "[t]he size of this group has changed little over the past three years, despite ongoing government and social service programs to encourage internet adoption in underserved areas. But that 11% figure is substantially lower than in 2000, when the Center first began to study the social impact of technology. That year, nearly half (48%) of American adults did not use the internet."

The report looks at all age groups, but since this is the elderlawprof blog, I'm interested in the internet usage by elders. The report gives us that:  "[s]eniors are the age group most likely to say they never go online. Although the share of non-internet users ages 65 and older decreased by 7 percentage points since 2016, about a third today do not use the internet, compared with only 2% of 18- to 29-year-olds."

So basically one-third of elders still are off the information highway.  As more and more Boomers move past age 65, it will be interesting to see if that number drops or holds steady.  Our students need to understand that figure, too, since so many of them are online non-stop. 

May 24, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Statistics, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Call for Proposals: American Society on Aging 2019 Annual Conference

The American Society on Aging (ASA) has announced its call for proposals for the 2019 AiA conference, to be held April 15-18, 2019 in New Orleans.  Here's a bit of info about the conference

The 2019 conference will have a strong focus on critical and emergent topics facing the field of aging, as well as cutting-edge and responsive programmatic, research, policy and advocacy efforts. Potential interest areas include: emergency/disaster readiness, housing and transportation access, caregiving, substance use/opioid crisis, multiple aspects of dementia, technology and aging, intergenerational models, population health, and shifting policy and legislative issues affecting older adults. Additionally, we welcome proposals spanning the theme of aging that offer innovative policies, programs, practices, models, businesses and learning. 

To learn more, click here. To submit a proposal, click here. Due date for proposals is June 30, 2018.

May 23, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 21, 2018

California Aid-in-Dying Law Overturned

A number of news outlets reported that a trial court judge has overturned California's aid-in-dying law. As an example, the LA Times reported Riverside judge overturns California's doctor-assisted suicide law. The judge ruled "that the California Legislature violated the law by passing the End of Life Option Act during a special session dedicated to healthcare issues, according to the plaintiffs in the case as well as advocates for the law."  The law, which has been in effect about 6 months, has already been used, according to sources quoted in the article.  "In the first six months California's law was in effect, more than 100 people made use of it to end their lives. Fifty-nine percent of them had cancer, according to state data." Both sides on this issue are quoted in the article. The state attorney general has 5 days from the order's entry to file an appeal.

Stay tuned.

 
 

May 21, 2018 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Doctors Discussing Gun Safety With Elder Patients

Kaiser Health News published a compilation of recent stories about gun safety and one caught my eye: the advantage of doctors discussing gun safety with elder patients. Doctors Should Be Discussing Gun Safety With Aging Patients, Researchers Say.

The reference to the story  from the LA TImes, As more older Americans struggle with dementia, what happens to their guns?seemed particularly on point and the KHN story published the opening from the LA Times article

The man had been a patient for decades, retired now from a career in which firearms were a part of the job. He was enjoying his days hunting, or at the shooting range with friends. But episodes of confusion had led to a suspicion of dementia, and the nights were the worst: At sundown, he became disoriented, anxious and a little paranoid, and had started sleeping with his loaded pistol under the pillow. One night, he pointed it at his wife as she returned from the bathroom. It wasn't clear whether he recognized her, but he was certainly confused — and she was terrified. Thankfully, the incident did not end in disaster.

Regardless of your position on the gun control debate, consider these statistics from the LA Times article

Roughly 1 in 3 adults over 65 in the United States is thought to own a gun. An additional 12% live in a household with someone who does.

As seniors turn 70, their odds of developing Alzheimer's disease in a given year jump from less than 1% (among those 65 to 69) to 2.5% (among those 70 to 74), and keep rising from there. By 2050, the number of older Americans with Alzheimer's is expected to reach 13.8 million.

The article discusses driver safety and draws corollaries to gun safety. The article highlights the lack of response to this issue at the state level:

No federal laws prohibit the purchase or possession of firearms by a person with dementia. Only two states, Hawaii and Texas, explicitly mention dementia or similar conditions in their firearms statutes.

In Hawaii, any person under treatment for "organic brain syndromes" is prohibited from owning a gun. Texas law makes individuals diagnosed with "chronic dementia" ineligible for a license to carry a handgun in public. But it does not limit such a person's right to purchase or possess firearms.

One expert quoted in the article describes this as not an issue of taking away someone's guns but instead a decision that focuses on the person's safety.

May 18, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

When I'm 64...Will I Be Relevant?

We all can sing along to that fabulous Beatles song, When I'm 64. Perhaps the Beatles were prescient, as now Kaiser Health News has published an article about remaining relevant in your life when you are 64 and beyond.... Will We Still Be Relevant ‘When We’re 64’? opens with this description

A gnawing sense of irrelevancy and invisibility suddenly hits many aging adults, as their life roles shift from hands-on parent to empty nester or from workaholic to retiree. Self-worth and identity may suffer as that feeling that you matter starts to fade. Older adults see it in the workplace when younger colleagues seem uninterested in their feedback. Those who just retired might feel a bit unproductive.

The article then segues into a discussion of various recent studies that bears out this fear of becoming irrelevant. Whether it's being important at work or important in your personal life, there is a value to being relevant, or even being needed, even if it's just giving advice to a younger person. "Having purpose and meaning forestalls loneliness, which takes an emotional and physical toll. Studies by ... researchers have found that loneliness is associated with weaker immune systems and poorer physical health."

One group in Austin, Texas (the slogan, "Keep Austin Weird")  took initiative by "finding their purpose with a community created by Aging is Cool, an active-aging company founded just over a year ago." The article discusses this community initiative as well as some other ones across the country, volunteering and continued employment. The article closes with an example for all of us: "96-year-old actress Betty White ... [who] still produces good work and she has a great amount of energy... Her entire package promotes a youthful and optimistic attitude.”

May 17, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day

Yesterday, May 15, 2018, was designated by the U.S. Senate as "National Senior Fraud Awareness Day." The reason for the day, according to the Congressional Record is "To Raise Awareness About the Increasing Number of Fraudulent Schemes Targeted At Older People of The United States, To Encourage The Implementation of Policies to Prevent These Scams From Happening, and to Improve Protections From These Scams For Seniors."

Senator Collins for herself and 4 other Senators, and introduced the resolution, S. Res. 506.

Here it is in its entirety:

Whereas, in 2017, there were more than 47,800,000 individuals age 65 or older in the United States (referred to  in this preamble as ``seniors''), and seniors accounted for  14.9 percent of the total population of the United States;

Whereas senior fraud is a growing concern as millions of older people of the United States are targeted by scams each year, including the Internal Revenue Service impersonation scams, sweepstakes and lottery scams, grandparent scams, computer tech support scams, romance scams, work-at-home scams, charity scams, home improvement scams, fraudulent investment schemes, and identity theft; Whereas other types of fraud perpetrated against seniors include health care fraud, health insurance fraud,  counterfeit prescription drug fraud, funeral and cemetery  fraud, ``anti-aging'' product fraud, telemarketing fraud, and internet fraud;
Whereas the Government Accountability Office has estimated that seniors lose a staggering $2,900,000,000 each year to an ever-growing array of financial exploitation schemes and scams;
Whereas, since 2013, the fraud hotline of the Special Committee on Aging of the Senate has received more than 7,200 complaints reporting possible scams from individuals in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;
Whereas the ease with which criminals contact seniors through the internet and telephone increases as more creative schemes emerge;
Whereas, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2017, released by the Federal Trade Commission, people age 60 years and older were defrauded of $249,000,000 in 2017, with the median loss to defrauded victims age 80 and older averaging $1,092 per person, more than double the average amount lost by those victims between the ages 50 and 59 years old;
Whereas senior fraud is underreported by victims due to embarrassment and lack of information about where to report fraud; and
Whereas May 15, 2018, is an appropriate day to establish as ``National Senior Fraud Awareness Day'': Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) supports the designation of May 15, 2018, as ``National Senior Fraud Awareness Day'';
(2) recognizes ``National Senior Fraud Awareness Day'' as  an opportunity to raise awareness about the barrage of scams  that individuals age 65 or older in the United States  (referred to in this resolving clause as ``seniors'') face in person, by mail, on the phone, and online;
(3) recognizes that law enforcement, consumer protection groups, area agencies on aging, and financial institutions all play vital roles in preventing scams targeting seniors and educating seniors about those scams;
(4) encourages implementation of policies to prevent these scams and to improve measures to protect seniors from scams targeting seniors; and
(5) honors the commitment and dedication of the individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to fight against scams targeting seniors.

  

 

May 16, 2018 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

"Living Apart, Together"

Kaiser Health News ran an interesting story about couples, committed to each other, but living apart, noting that experts have named this as "living apart together." Living Apart Together: A New Option for Older Adults explains about older couples who are seriously committed to each other, spend a lot of time together, including romantic time, but do not live together.  This is described as “a new, emerging form of family, especially among older adults, that’s on the rise,” said Laura Funk, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Manitoba in Canada who’s written about living apart together."  There are several studies examining the frequency, scope and effect of these types of relationships (shortened to LATs).  A number of reasons are given as to why these couples choose to not live together but wanted a companion, including those who seek “intimate companionship” while maintaining their own homes, social circles, customary activities and finances ...." As well, those who had been caregivers, or had a bad marriage or a marriage ending in divorce seem to prefer to not live together. The article offers some fascinating anecdotes.

 

May 15, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Article: Primer on Disability Law for Land Use & Zoning

The intersection of land use and zoning laws and regs with a person's ability to live at home is so important. I wanted to let you know about a new article on the topic: A Primer on Disability for Land Use and Zoning Law  posted recently on SSRN.  The article is published in Volume 4 of  the Journal of Law, Property, and Society at 1 (March 2018). Here is the abstract

Approximately 20-30 percent of American families have a family member with a disability, many with a mobility impairment. Many people need access to disability services and programs. They need the availability of group homes, senior housing, drug rehabilitation centers, medical marijuana dispensaries, and counseling clinics. This leads to land use disputes.

This Primer is designed for people familiar with property law and land regulation (planning and zoning), and with little experience with disability law. The goal is to present an introduction that facilitates understanding of the intersections between land use law and disability. In general, the legal requirements of primary concern are limited, such that only a few parts of our expansive disability law are most relevant to the vast majority of planning and zoning matters. This Primer will guide the reader through these key provisions. The Acts discussed in this Primer include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act (RHA), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

The 45 page article is available for download as a pdf from the Journal's website, here.

May 13, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Housing, Other, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

David Goodall Has Ended His Life

Earlier in the week we'd blogged about Australian David Goodall who, at 104, had decided he'd lived more than long enough and traveled to Switzerland to end his life.  The New York Times, among other news outlets, reported that he has done so. A Song Before Dying: David Goodall, 104, Australian Scientist, Ends His Life in Switzerland reports that "[o]n Thursday, Mr. Goodall died about 12.30 p.m. local time, according to Exit International, a right-to-die organization of which he had been a longtime member."  His decision has caught a lot of media attention, and the article relates that he held a final press conference the day before his death.

He was crystal clear about why he had chosen “the Swiss option.” Euthanasia and assisted dying are banned in Australia, though Victoria State has passed a law on assisted dying that goes into effect next year; it will apply only to terminally ill patients who have a life expectancy of no more than six months... He said he hoped his life story would “increase the pressure” on Australia to change its laws. “One wants to be free to choose his death when death is at the appropriate time,” Mr. Goodall said.

Mr. Goodall wanted no events marking his death. The article concludes that when he was asked "[h]ow would he like to be remembered? “As an instrument of freeing the elderly from the need to pursue their life irrespective,” he said at the news conference on Wednesday. .. At one point, he was asked what tune he would choose for his last song, and he said the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Then he began to sing, with verve and vigor... According to Mr. Nitschke, Mr. Goodall did end up choosing Beethoven, and he died the moment “Ode to Joy” concluded."

 

*updated to correct location

May 10, 2018 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, International, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Do You Know the Difference Between Fraud & Financial Abuse?

Check out this new issue brief from the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) Research to Practice SeriesFraud versus financial abuse and the influence of social relationship, offers this summary

Elder financial exploitation, committed by individuals in positions of trust, and elder fraud, committed by predatory strangers, are two forms of financial victimization that target vulnerable older adults. The study presented in the webinar analyzes differences between fraud and financial exploitation APS victims in terms of their health, functional dependency, cognitive functioning, and social relationships.

In this mixed methods study, fifty-three financial exploitation and fraud cases were sampled from an elder abuse forensic center in California. Data include law enforcement and caseworker investigation reports, victim medical records, perpetrator demographic information, and forensic assessments of victim health and cognitive functioning.

The vast majority of fraud and financial exploitation victims performed poorly on tests of cognitive functioning and financial decision-making administered by a forensic neuropsychologist following the allegations. Based on retrospective record review, there were few significant differences in physical health and cognitive functioning at the time victims' assets were taken, although their social contexts were different. Fraud most often occurred when a vulnerable elder was solicited by a financial predator

in the absence of capable guardians. In other words, most fraud victims in the sample did not have trusted friends or family members assisting with financial decisions and providing care at the time the fraud perpetrators entered the picture. Fraud victims were significantly less likely to have children and also had fewer relatives nearby. In sum, fraud and financial exploitation victims had different family and friend structures that may create different opportunity structures for crime.

Social isolation was not only a potential risk factor for financial victimization, it was also a tactic of undue influence to further manipulate and control the victims. Some fraud victims in the sample developed close friendships and romantic relationships with the financial perpetrators, even in the cases where they communicated only by telephone. While these relationships were constructed to manipulate and deceive the victim, they felt authentic to the older person. Perpetrators often exploited the victim's need for companionship and began limiting and controlling their victims' social interactions to create a sense of powerlessness and emotional dependency.

May 9, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Bank at the US Post Office?

My brother (thanks big brother-I guess this means you read the blog-yay!) sent me an article published in The Hill with an interesting proposal!  Published on April 26, 2018, The poor need bank accounts, and USPS has the answer highlights a bill introduced by Senator Gillebrand  which would create "provide a public option in basic banking services through the U.S. Postal System."

Why, you may ask, propose that the USPS get into the banking business?  Well, because there is a "persistent problem of widespread financial exclusion, which means a household is either unbanked or underbanked. Recent data shows that 7 percent of households are simply unbanked since they lack a checking or savings account at a bank."  Consider the implications of not having a bank account. If you have to cash a check, where do  you go? "Instead, they have to rely on the predatory alternative financial services, such as payday lenders, check cashing services and the like." 

The article also introduces us to the concept of "underbanked" which means "19.9 percent of American households ... at some point during the year, they rely on high-cost alternative financial services to meet their financial needs. That leaves over one-in-four American households excluded from mainstream financial services."  Although these alternatives may work for those unbanked or underbanked, they are not without costs, both financial and otherwise.

The article discusses reasons why low-income households find themselves in this situation, including a focus on higher-profit activities and closing branches.  So this is where the USPS comes in under the bill.

The Gillibrand bill seeks to address the lack of universal access through the creation of a postal bank. An added bonus of this measure is that it regulates consumer financial protection abuses by making predatory lending practices uncompetitive.

The bill would allow all households to open accounts at the post office, with a $20,000 limit on checking and savings accounts. Further, the bill allows for small-dollar loans capped at $500 at one time.

The rates on these loans are reasonable, with the bill linking the interest rates to the 1-month Treasury bill constant maturity rate, though a low, fixed rate may be preferable.

Through offering financial services at post offices, the bill would provide much of the physical infrastructure needed to counteract the trend of bank-branch closings. The USPS already has the geographic infrastructure to support universal access: a post office in every ZIP code.

The article offers suggestions for services as well as pitfalls. Interesting concept.

April 30, 2018 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 23, 2018

You Are Only as Old As You Feel!

You've heard the phrases such as "60 is the new 40." Now we learn there may be some truth to the thought that you feel younger than your chronological age.The Washington Post recently published this article, Cliches about only being as old as you feel are starting to have scientific backing.

The article focuses on research that indicates many folks who are older feel good about themselves and about the negative messages about aging that affect us all.  The article references "[o]ne study ... [that] found that as people get older, they consistently say they feel younger — much younger — than their actual age. Another study examining the attitudes of the offspring of centenarians concluded that the centenarians’ children — if they, too, were healthy and long-lived — have a strong sense of purpose and meaning to their lives, compared with the general population. Finally, there is evidence that positive attitudes about aging may reduce the risk of dementia, among the most dreaded consequences of aging."  Yet, we start being bombarded with negative messages about aging at a very young age. One expert noted  that kids even age 3 or 4 already have absorbed "the age stereotypes of their culture,” which it seems come from "many sources, ranging from stories to social media. Individuals of all ages can benefit from bolstering their positive images of aging.” Another expert quoted in the article explains that “[n]egative views about aging are communicated to us early in life, through media, books and movies, and what our friends and family tell us... [and that such] attitudes are present and pervasive already in childhood, so naturally it’s hard to enact meaningful change to these attitudes....”

Several studies are referenced in the article. The studies bear out the idea that folks who are older feel younger than their chronological ages, but as far as younger people's perceptions, they consider old to be a lower number than those who are old would offer. For example, one researcher offered that "teenagers and young adults equated turning 50 with hitting old age."

And we've all heard the saying about attitude is everything. It turns out those with positive views of aging help with reducing stress and decreasing chances of dementia. One research summarizes her findings: She "evaluated 4,765 older people — average age, 72 — who were free of dementia at the start of the study and followed them for four years. The participants answered a series of questions about their beliefs about aging [and the researchers] found [that] those who expressed more-positive age beliefs at baseline were less likely to develop dementia . . . than those who expressed more-negative age beliefs...."

So remember, the class is half-full and aging is not a bad thing!

April 23, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Science, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)