Thursday, March 20, 2014

AgeUK presents great ad about aging

Christopher Lee, aka Dracula, narrates!  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for additional video interviews.

Check it out here...


Thanks, Preston Franzen, for bringing to my attention on the Center for Elder Justice and Policy FB page!

March 20, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Job Opportunity: Medicaid Policy Analyst at Families USA

Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of quality, affordable health care and coverage for all Americans. We bring the voice of consumers in federal and state health policy debates, with a strong focus on the needs of low-income and vulnerable populations. Families USA is seeking a Medicaid Policy Analyst who will provide strategic input into the development and assist with the implementation of the organization’s work on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Medicaid Policy Analyst will report to the Medicaid Program Director. We are looking for someone with a deep understanding of the Medicaid and CHIP programs, the ability to write about technical policy issues in an accessible manner, and excellent analytical skills.


  • Produce content related to Medicaid and CHIP, including but not limited to: reports, issue briefs, fact sheets, technical analyses, emails, blogs, webinars and other materials.
  • Provide technical assistance and strategic guidance to state and national health care advocates in conjunction with other Families USA staff.
  • Follow and report on emerging policy and political issues on Medicaid and CHIP and recommend appropriate organizational response.
  • Read and analyze federal regulations and guidance and write comments, sometimes in collaboration with other colleagues.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to incorporate health equity into organization’s Medicaid and CHIP work.
  • Help develop messaging, field press calls, and make public presentations on Medicaid and CHIP issues.
  • Represent the organization at national coalition tables on Medicaid and CHIP issues.

An ideal applicant would possess these qualifications

  • At least three to five years experience working on the Medicaid or CHIP program.
  • Strong understanding of Medicaid and CHIP and how the two programs relate to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Strong understanding of federal and state rules governing Medicaid, with a particular focus on eligibility, enrollment, and financing.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Excellent communication skills—both oral and written, including the ability to write about technical policy issues in an accessible manner.
  • Strong organizational skills and an ability to work on multiple projects at the same time.
  • Ability to collaborate with other staff to complete a project.
  • Commitment to social justice.
  • Some travel for presentations, training, and consultations with state and local advocates will be required.

How to Apply 

Send a cover letter and resume by email to careers(at) and include “Medicaid Policy Analyst” in the subject line. The salary will be commensurate with experience. Families USA offers a generous benefits package, including excellent health insurance, life and long-term disability insurance benefits, and generous vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules. Families USA is an equal opportunity employer.

March 18, 2014 in Medicaid, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

HUD Announces $120 Million for People with Disabilities

To help prevent thousands of people with disabilities from experiencing homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced about $120 million in funding for state housing agencies to provide long-term rental assistance. Developed in partnership with HHS, applications for the Section 811 PRA are due May 5, 2014.

The program reinforces the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which require state and local governments to provide services in the most integrated settings appropriate to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. Read the News Release or Notice of Funding Availability for details.

March 15, 2014 in Grant Deadlines/Awards, Housing, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 29: DD Aware Day

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to mark the occasion, The Arc is inviting everyone with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make plans to go out somewhere in public on Saturday, March 29 to break down social barriers, dispel myths and raise awareness.

Please share this message and encourage those you know with I/DD, their colleagues, friends and families to make plans to hit the movies, the park, a local shopping center or restaurant for a day out and maybe spark some conversation in the process.T

Check the landing page on with more information and launch an email and social media campaign to encourage folks to join in. Plus, we have a couple of guest bloggers lined up for March to share their personal experiences on the topic of social barriers on The Arc’s blog ( Spread the word using the hashtag #DDAware on social media during the month of March. And, follow us  on Facebook or Twitter where we will be sharing photos and stories from everyone’s March 29 activities.

March 14, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

February Bifocal Now Available On-Line

The February issue of Bifocal, e-Journal of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging is now available for pdf download.  The issue is also available online on the Bifocal homepage.

What's inside this issue?

Cover Article
Aging in the 21st Century
by Marcos Acle Mautone
The world is facing an unprecedented demographic shift.

The Dual Eligible Demonstration
by Fay Gordon
If everything goes as planned, by January 1, 2015, hundreds of thousands of individuals could be enrolled in new delivery systems where combined Medicare and Medicaid services are provided through managed care plans. Of course, nothing ever happens exactly as planned. However, nine states are on tap to implement a dual eligible demonstration within the next year, making this a critical time in both planning and implementation of the new systems.

Defining Undue Influence
by Mary Joy Quinn
Understanding undue influence, dissecting it, defining it, and understanding the term, has proven elusive in social service and legal settings.

Using Mediation to Find Solutions
by Erica Wood
In North Carolina, a Medicaid appeal request goes to the Office of Administrative Hearings, where it is heard by an administrative law judge. This Office does not hear Medicaid eligibility cases, only appeals. Even so, the Office processed close to 13,000 recipient appeals last year. But North Carolina has found a unique approach to appeals that is timely and allows beneficiaries to state their case directly to the Department of Medical Assistance Services: mediation.

The Work of a Volunteer Fiduciary
by Randy Feliciano and Barbara K. Green
Although there are a number of public guardianship programs in the state of Virginia that are authorized to serve a specific number of clients, the beauty of Arlington’s program is that it makes a tremendous impact in meeting the needs of incapacitated individuals through the power of volunteerism.

The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Legislative Guide
The American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging collaborated with the National POLST Paradigm Task Force (NPPTF) and a team of legal experts to produce the POLST Legislative Guide, a free publication released in February 2014, for states engaged in the development of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs.

Book Excerpt: Ethics in the Practice of Elder Law
by Roberta K. Flowers and Rebecca C. Morgan
This book features a useful and practical approach to guiding an attorney new to elder law through potential ethical issues. With the inclusion of practitioner checklists, the book provides a framework for analyzing the day-to-day issues that elder law attorneys encounter.

Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging 2014-2015 Fellowship in Law & Aging
The Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging affords three law school graduates interested in a career in law and aging the opportunity to pursue their research and professional interests for one year.

World Congress on Adult Guardianship
Anyone who is involved with guardianship regularly faces challenges at some point. The World Congresses present shared problems from new perspectives and offer ideas and solutions from multiple viewpoints, cultures and guardianship systems.

Inside the Commission
Commission Interns
The Commission's robust internship program hosts students year-round in Washington, DC. Here, we profile our two Fall interns.

Engage Your Community!
Don't forget to plan for: National Health Decisions Day (April 16), Law Day (May 1), and Older Americans Month (May)

Commission Publication: Checklist for an Elder-Friendly Law Office
By complying with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines and making the other practical design decisions highlighted in this 22-page publication, you can improve an older client's experience in your office.

Event and CLE Update
Upcoming CLE

New National Aging and Law Conference
This October 16-17, the Commission on Law and Aging will sponsor the New National Aging and Law Conference in Washington, DC. This year's conference theme will be: 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty: Progress & Challenges for the Future.

Upcoming CLE: Health Care Decision-Making and the “F” Word—Futility
Recent cases involving brain dead patients and resulting disputes over continuing organ-sustaining treatments have reignited debate over the appropriate use of medical technologies. The family of Jahi McMath in Oakland, CA, fought to keep their daughter connected to a ventilator, while a hospital in Fort Worth, TX, sought to keep Marlise Muñoz, fourteen weeks pregnant, on a ventilator over the objection of her husband and family. For terminally ill patients who are not brain dead, a family's desire to "do everything possible" sometimes leads to insisting on medical interventions that medical professionals may deem inappropriate or "futile."

To subscribe to Bifocal or to submit news items or a manuscript for consideration, contact editor Andrea Amato.

March 12, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Penn State offers post-doc in applied gerontology

The Study of Healthy Aging & Applied Research Programs (SHAARP) lab within the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State is pleased to offer a postdoctoral position for an emerging scholar.  The SHAARP lab is led by Dr. Lesley Ross and is primarily focused on (1) cognitive, sensory, and physical functioning predictors of everyday functioning in older adults and (2) interventions to maintain everyday functioning in older adults. This lab is involved in several ongoing and recently completed longitudinal and intervention-based studies including the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), the Cognitive and Physical Exercise Study (CAPES), the Senior and Adolescent Driving Study (SANDS), and the Maryland Driving Study.  Studies conducted within the SHAARP lab are multidisciplinary and include imaging data (MRI/fMRI), genetic biomarkers, neuropsychological and cognitive data, sensory and physical functioning data, mental health and lifestyle data, and detailed everyday functioning data (such as driving and mobility).  Primary responsibilities will include data management and analysis; preparation of manuscripts, grant proposals, and conference presentations; and participation in interdisciplinary research groups that design new studies. The fellow will have opportunities to publish, and access to exceptional resources to facilitate his or her independent research.  Additional opportunities to work with other Center for Healthy Aging faculty may also be available.

Qualified individuals will have a Ph.D. in the social, behavioral or health sciences; relevant research experience; strong statistical and writing skills; and the capacity to work closely with others. Additional skills that are highly desirable, but not required, are a background in cognitive aging, genetic biomarkers, and imaging. The appointment will be for one year, with likely funding for at least one additional year depending on productivity. The position provides salary and benefits consistent with those for NIH postdoctoral fellows.  To apply, please send (1) a letter of application indicating research interests, career goals, and experience; (2) a curriculum vita; and (3) three letters of professional reference to Ann Shuey via email ( or post at The Center for Healthy Aging, 422 Biobehavioral Health Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
For more information, please contact Dr. Ross at  

March 6, 2014 in Grant Deadlines/Awards, Other, Science | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Book--Global Aging: Comparative Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course

Global Aging:  Comparative Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course (Springer 2014)

Suzanne R. Kunkel, PhD
J. Scott Brown, PhD
Frank J. Whittington, PhD

328 pp., Softcover

ISBN-13: 9780826105462



Summary:  Using a comparative, cross-national perspective, Global Aging: Comparative Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course explores the major topics in social gerontology worldwide and the demands that the aging population places on a society.

This comprehensive and timely guide includes contributions from international gerontology scholars and illustrates both universal and socioculturally unique aspects of aging across nations. It is organized thematically for ease of use and includes an abundance of photographs and illustrations to highlight key points.

Key features:

  • Discussions on various nations' policies and programs designed to meet the unique needs of an older population
  • An essay on pension and income maintenance policies and programs
  • An analysis of the role of local and national governments, as well as non-governmental organizations, in serving older adults
  • Case studies on specific aspects of aging: family life, caregiving, policies and politics, health and long-term care, and work and retirement
  • The most current demographic data on aging around the world

 Ed:  Sounds like a good resource!

February 14, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

President will sign Executive Order raising minimum wage for government contracts--including for those with disabilities

FACT SHEET - Opportunity For All: Rewarding Hard Work


Raising the Minimum Wage through Executive Order to $10.10 for Federal Contract Workers

& Calling on Congress to Finish the Job for All Workers by Passing the Harkin-Miller Bill


Today, continuing to fulfill his promise to make 2014 a year of action, the President will sign an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.


The Executive Order the President will sign today will benefit hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government who are making less than $10.10 an hour. It will also improve the value that taxpayers are getting from the federal government’s investment. Studies show that boosting low wages will reduce turnover and absenteeism, while also boosting morale and improving the incentives for workers, leading to higher productivity overall. These gains improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government.


In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged to both take executive action wherever he can and work with Congress to increase opportunity for all Americans. Consistent with that pledge, the President will continue to work with Congress to finish the job to raise the minimum wage for all Americans and pass the Harkin-Miller bill so that all workers can be paid at least a $10.10 minimum wage. 


Details of the Executive Order


Ø  The Executive Order will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 effective for new contracts beginning January 1, 2015.   The higher wage will apply to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts.  Boosting wages will lower turnover and absenteeism, and increase morale and productivity overall. Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government.

Ø  Benefits hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans. There are hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government to provide services or construction who are currently making less than $10.10 an hour.  Some examples of the hardworking people who would see their wages go up under this Executive Order include nursing assistants providing care to our veterans at nursing homes, concessions workers in National Parks, people serving food to our troops, and individuals with disabilities working to maintain the grounds on military bases.

Ø  Includes an increase in the tipped minimum wage.  This executive order also includes provisions to make sure that tipped workers earn at least $10.10 overall, through a combination of tips and an employer contribution.  Employers are currently required to pay a minimum base wage of $2.13 per hour, a base that has remained unchanged for over twenty years, and if a worker’s tips do not add up to the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Under the Executive Order, employers are required to ensure that tipped workers earn at least $10.10 an hour.  The Executive Order requires that employers pay a minimum base wage of $4.90 for new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts put out for bid after January 1, 2015.  That amount increases by 95 cents per year until it reaches 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, and if a worker’s tips do not add up to at least $10.10, the employer will be required to pay the difference.   

Ø  Covers individuals with disabilities.  Under current law, workers whose productivity is affected because of their disabilities may be paid less than the wage paid to others doing the same job under certain specialized certificate programs. Under this Executive Order, all individuals working under service or concessions contracts with the federal government will be covered by the same $10.10 per hour minimum wage protections.   

Ø  Improves value for the federal government and taxpayers.  One study showed that when Maryland passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can help ensure better quality. The increase will take effect for new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts put out for bid after the effective date of the order, so contractors will have time to prepare and price their bids accordingly.


More info here.

February 12, 2014 in Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hollywood star Shirley Temple dies

Via the BBC:

ALeqM5jCss2Qnob2rCkxkmWNb-8Q_KaZEgFormer Hollywood child star Shirley Temple has died at the age of 85.  With her adorable charm and blonde curls, she was one of the most popular stars of the 1930s, in hit movies like Bright Eyes and Stand Up and Cheer.  After retiring from films in 1950 at the age of 21, Temple returned to the spotlight as a politician and diplomat.  She died on Monday at home in Woodside, California, from natural causes. "She was surrounded by her family and caregivers," a statement said.  Born in 1928, Temple soon became a major star after getting her first film role at the age of three.

Read more here.

February 11, 2014 in Other, Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Call for applications: NIH's Butler-William Scholars Program 2014

Butler-Williams Scholars Program 2014
Monday, August 4, 2014 to Friday, August 8, 2014

NIH Campus Bethesda, MD

Meeting Description

The 2014 Butler-Williams Scholars Program (formerly the Summer Institute on Aging Research) includes lectures, seminars, and small group discussions in research design relative to aging, including issues relevant to aging of ethnic and racial minorities. Lectures will cover topics in research on aging, including: the biology of aging; genetics and Alzheimer’s disease; and health, behavior, and aging. Discussion sessions will focus on methodological approaches and interventions. The program also will include consultation on the development of research interests and advice on preparing and submitting research grant applications to NIA.

The B-W Scholars Program is sponsored by NIA with support from the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence.

Who Should Apply?

Applications will be accepted from emerging researchers, including those who may have had limited involvement in research on aging. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, or lawfully admitted for permanent residence. As an offering of the NIA Office of Special Populations, researchers with an interest in health disparities research are encouraged to apply. Applicants from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. 25 to 30 participants will be selected.

For more information, and to apply, go here.

Butler-Williams Scholars Program 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014 to Friday, August 8, 2014
NIH Campus Bethesda, MD

Meeting Description

The 2014 Butler-Williams Scholars Program (formerly the Summer Institute on Aging Research) includes lectures, seminars, and small group discussions in research design relative to aging, including issues relevant to aging of ethnic and racial minorities. Lectures will cover topics in research on aging, including: the biology of aging; genetics and Alzheimer’s disease; and health, behavior, and aging. Discussion sessions will focus on methodological approaches and interventions. The program also will include consultation on the development of research interests and advice on preparing and submitting research grant applications to NIA.

The B-W Scholars Program is sponsored by NIA with support from the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence.

Who Should Apply?

Applications will be accepted from emerging researchers, including those who may have had limited involvement in research on aging. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, or lawfully admitted for permanent residence. As an offering of the NIA Office of Special Populations, researchers with an interest in health disparities research are encouraged to apply. Applicants from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. 25 to 30 participants will be selected based on:

- See more at:

January 31, 2014 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Spotlight on University of Hawaii Law's James Pietsch

Last week I posted our first Elder Law Prof "Spotlight."  We're using these opportunities to shine the light on faculty members in the U.S. and Canada who teach "law and aging" courses.  We're looking to go beyond profiles posted on law school websites.

Once again, we've found a great target for our spotlight with James Pietsch at the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law.  As this photo suggests, Jim has unique experience in "jumping in with both feet" to help those in need. James Pietsch University of Hawaii 

Jim teaches interdisciplinary courses such as "Law, Aging and Medicine" and "HealthLaw: Bioethics" for students at the law school, the medical school, the school of nursing, and also for graduate students in social work, all at the University of Hawaii. His teaching is uniquely rooted in his military service, beginning with his active duty in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps and the JAG Corps.  He served  tours of duty in Korea, D.C. and Hawaii. 

After his full-time military service, Jim became a directing attorney at the Honolulu Elder Law Unit for Legal Aid. That role evolved and culminated in creation of the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program,  with the appropriate -- and catchy -- acronym of UHELP. Professor Pietsch supervises clinical students who provide direct legal services on a year-round basis. Jim reports he is just one part of a great team at UHELP and the clinics. 

Jim continues to serve in the Army Reserves.  In 2007, during the surge in Iraq, Professor Pietsch was the Special Advisor to the Law and Order Task Force of the Multi-National Force in Iraq.  He also served as the Rule of Law Advisor to two reconstruction teams in Iraq.  Bringing to bear all of his experiences in the military, education and direct legal services, he helped to establish a legal aid clinic for detainees in Iraq, working with the Iraqi Bar Association.  Jim reports he was able to use the University of Hawaii's Elder Law Clinic materials in creating an operational manual for the Iraqi Clinic. He also consulted with the US AID-sponsored Access to Justice Project to help establish legal aid clinics in Iraq with a goal of providing legal assistance to underserved populations throughout the country, including ethnic and religious minority groups.

Jim Pietsch Closeup

As you might imagine, given the experience and leadership skills of Jim Pietsch, the University of Hawaii's clinics have a special focus on veterans.  In November 2013, Jim, Stetson Law Professor Becky Morgan and others teamed up to host an International Elder Law "Veterans Focus" Conference in Hawaii, coinciding, appropriately enough, with Veterans Day. It also appears that Jim has a great sense of humor -- as demonstrated by the tradition of his University's "Nite of the Living Will" -- an annual program at Halloween, where faculty and students, often in costume, assist members of the public in learning more about advance health care directives and help them execute appropriate documents.

Mahalo, Jim, for your inspiring work!

January 30, 2014 in Other | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not Elder Law: Bird watchers around the world needed to gather crucial data

DuckFrom Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, bird watchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 14–17, 2014. Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada.

Read the full press release


January 29, 2014 in Other, Science, Travel | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Don't Waste Good Money on Oak Caskets and Brass Handles...."

Hayley is investigating DIY funerals. Who is Hayley?  Of course, she's a character on the British night-time soap opera, Coronation Street (a/k/a "Corrie"), that's been running continuously in the U.K. since 1960.  Hayley doesn't want to "waste good money on oak caskets and brass handles. "  

Here's an essay from the Irish Times, inspired both by the fictional Corrie debate, and preferences expressed by the County Down author's real-life partner, including a discussion of an Irish tradition, the wake. 

I especially like the line from the essay, "She was waked in her own home."   

Thank you, Una Lynch, for sending the link from across the Atlantic!

January 16, 2014 in Consumer Information, Ethical Issues, Other | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The life and times of an aging superhero...

I came across this today and just had to post it...

Via Colassal:

Englund-10In his ongoing series of photorealistic oil paintings called the Aging Superhero, Swedish artist Andreas Englund takes us into the candidly humorous life of an anonymous superhero who has probably seen better days. Though he still puts up a tough fight, the wear and tear of battling crime has taken its toll on this elderly action figure.


View more of Englund's paintings at Colassal.

January 12, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book review: Deliberate Accident by Barbara Cassidy

This book review is the first of two student-authored pieces I will be posting this week.  We've heard from Regan before--she attended the NAELA/NALI conference in November and wrote two posts about her experiences there.  Regan is a December 2013 graduate of William Mitchell.  She also has a certificate in health law compliance from Hamline.  Regan will  be taking the Minnesota bar in February and is looking for a position in the elder law/health law field.  Contact me if you have any leads for her and I will put you in touch!

Barbara Cassidy, Deliberate Accident (BookCrafters 2013) (self-published) (available from Amazon)

Review by Regan Bovee, J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, December 2013

Deliberate Accident tells the story of author Barbara Cassidy’s fight to protect her father, Robert,  from physical, financial, and verbal abuse from his second wife, Diane. After Robert’s first wife (Barbara’s mother) dies, Robert quickly begins dating and enters into several relationships with women who take advantage of his generous, trusting personality. Robert eventually meets and marries Diane, a nurse at a local nursing home who, unbeknownst to Robert, has recently married a well-to-do resident. Diane makes a living from seducing male residents and other elderly men, gaining control of their finances, and selling their possessions.

The beginning of Robert’s relationship with Diane coincides with the first signs of his dementia. It is often hard for Barbara to tell if her father’s actions are “her father being her father” or if he is losing cognitive ability. By the time it is clear that Robert has dementia, Diane is so entangled in their lives that Ms. Cassidy, her father, and their family are helpless. 

The focus of the book is Diane’s reprehensible treatment of Robert, but the real value is in the very accurate depiction of how Robert’s dementia progresses over the course of ten years. Ms. Cassidy frequently quotes a psychologist who tells her that Robert’s dementia is “as good as it will ever get right now . . . In fact, it will only get worse.” This statement holds true throughout the book and is sure to have a familiar ring to those who have cared for someone with dementia.  Although Ms. Cassidy, a long-term care nurse herself, continues to advocate for her father as his dementia becomes increasingly worse, there is little she can do for him.

Although Ms. Cassidy describes the book as a memoir, there are several conversations and descriptions of other’s thoughts and actions of which it would be impossible for her to have knowledge. This makes the story seem a bit less credible but enhances the dramatic quality. Further, the story line is difficult to follow in some areas. Characters are referred to interchangeably by their name or relationship (i.e. Robert or Dad) and sometimes switch mid-page, which disrupts the flow. Some of the sentences are also a bit choppy. Ms. Cassidy’s goal in writing this book, however, was to share her experience dealing with her father’s dementia and his new wife who abuses him physically, emotionally, and financially. She more than succeeds in that goal.

Thanks, Regan!

Note:  This book is self-published.

January 7, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated....

Gentle readers--some but not all of you know that on January 1 of this new year, I took emeritus status at William Mitchell.  For many reasons, I felt the time had come to leave full time law teaching to allow more room in my life for other activities.  I don't plan to abandon the field of elder/disability law any time soon.  To the contrary--I will continue to co-edit this blog, update annually my treatise and casebook and work on new projects (e.g. a book on comparative elder law that I am writing with Issi Doron and Becky Morgan, to be published by Carolina in 2015).  I will also continue to edit the NAELA ebulletin and have committed to writing several articles and book chapters and giving some presentations in the coming months.  I am designing health law and elder law courses for a new Health Management and Policy masters program at Valparaiso (thanks, Linda Whitton, for making that contact for me!), and I hope to teach a short course with my friend and colleague Cheol Ung Je at Hanyang University in Seoul at some time in the near future.  I will be launching the Center for Elder Justice and Policy as an independent non-profit and I will also be working on a new intiative aimed at young adults with autism and similar disabilities (as some of you know, my son Colin is on the spectrum).  Stay tuned for more on these new adventures!

HcbaNevertheless, the time I won't be spending preparing and teaching regular classes will free me up to do some things I've wanted to for a long time--including pursuing my passions for photography and painting.  You've already seen, from time to time, some of my photography on the pages of the blog.  Look for more as I am able to devote additional time to my art!

Thanks for your support over the years.  I guarantee that the blog (which is almost nine years old) will continue to fascinate, imform, and amuse you, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of my co-editors, and my own occasional postings of whatever I run across that seems interesting.  Set the Elder Law Prof Blog as your home page, and you can be sure to have something useful to read every single day!

January 7, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 6, 2014

An oldie but goodie: The Zimmers perform "My Generation"

Pearson-s-nut-goodie-bar-with-sea-salt-and-caramel-1.gifWith classes starting up soon--for most of you, anyway :-) , I thought I'd post this link to The Zimmers' classic rendition of "My Generation".  I often show this the first day of class as an intro to discussing ageism and stereotyping of the elderly.  Have a look!

The Zimmers on YouTube.

PS:  Pearson's Nut Goodies are MINNESOTA MADE!

January 6, 2014 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 2, 2013

A student's perspective on NALI--Part 2

3L Nerissa Irizarry reports on her experiences at this year's NALI conference in Washington, DC (Part 2 of a series)....

The 2013 National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys conference held a session entitled “Making Your Office and Beyond Accessible to Your Clients With Intentional ‘Elder Friendly’ Design.” The session’s presenters were Professor Rebecca Morgan, Professor Roberta Flowers, both currently at Stetson University College of Law, and John E. Wittman from Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, LLC. The discussion that ensued was tremendously practical. The presenters sought to demonstrate, with assistance from the audience, the unique needs presented when creating an office that is welcoming to older clients. In addition to the distinctive interactive nature of this session, the presenters highlighted the intersectionality that is inherent in an elder law practice by including an architect in the discussion. Throughout the conversation, presenters and audience members commented on the ways in which design wishes and legal concerns coalesced, not always harmoniously, in the office planning process. For example, municipal regulations can pose a problem for the considerate elder law attorney who wants to install signage that is not consistent with local requirements. Mr. Wittman, NAELA’s featured architect, paid special attention to aesthetically appeasing as well as functional features of a welcoming elder law office. For instance, there was much attention paid to colors that contrasted, but did not clash, as well as light that was illuminative and diffused. The idea was to have an appealing office that was not harsh to the eyes of an older or (dis)abled client. The presenters enhanced the quality of their presentation by including pictures of elder law offices from around the country. These visuals invoked lots of conversation and comments from the audience. Overall, the interactive, practical aspects of this session blended fun into an educational, professional conference.

The overall atmosphere of the 2013 NAELA conference can be summed up in two words: inviting fun! As a first time attendee, who ventured to the conference knowing absolutely no one, I expected my social interactions to be at least slightly awkward. I was pleasantly surprised to have had exactly the opposite experience. Nearly everyone I interacted with was not only welcoming, but inviting. I was asked about my interests, passion, and future goals in the field of elder law. I spoke with attorneys who encouraged my induction into the field, as well as offered their moral support for any stumbles along the way. The interactions with elder law attorneys stood out as the outstanding aspect of the conference. In fact, one attendee (Ruth Ratzlaff) handed me her card and told me to call her if I ever needed a cheerleader. I will be sure to remember her when I am spending my summer tediously studying for admission to the California Bar.

The sessions were digestible, and that characteristic is particularly important for new and soon-to- be attorneys like myself. I especially enjoyed the interactive atmosphere within the sessions. As attendees, we did not sit still for too long before we were asked to participate in the conversation. The presentations truly felt like conversations. From the venue to the environment, the 2013 NAELA conference created an ambiance that was engaging and convivial to attendees.

                    --Nerissa Irizarray, J.D. expected, William Mitchell College of Law, May 2014.

December 2, 2013 in Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A student's view of NALI...

Earlier this month I sent three of my students to NALI.  NAELA members and others were welcoming, and the students learned so much there!  I've asked the students to write some blog posts about their experiences, and will be posting these over the next few days.  This one is by my RA Regan Bovee, who will graduate in December with a JD from William Mitchell and a Health Compliance certificate from Hamline.


My Experience at the NAELA National Aging and Law Institute

On November 7th-9th I had the incredible opportunity to attend the NAELA National Aging and Law Institute as a third-year law student. The conference began with a discussion on the budget and policy landscape and what can be expected in the next year. From there, I attended a whirlwind of sessions about everything from designing an elder friendly office to a funny and informative panel featuring staff from the Center for Medicare Advocacy playing “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Jonathon Blum, the Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Director of the CMS Center for Medicare spoke about Medicare’s ‘observation status.’ Among other topics, he discussed accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are groups of health care providers accountable for quality and cost of healthcare for beneficiaries in traditional fee-for-service care. Service quality is tied to an ACO’s rating.

Mr. Blum said that prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fifteen percent of Medicare beneficiaries were in four or five star plans. It is now more difficult to meet the requirements of being labeled a four or five star plan, but CMS projects that by 2015 more than half of beneficiaries in private plans will be in a high ranking plan.

My highlight from the conference was the large amount of content that involved the ACA. Almost every session I attended mentioned the ACA in one way or another, whether it be transitioning from a healthcare exchange to Medicare or the impact the ACA is having on long term care services. The final session, given by David Lillesand, focused solely on the ACA and addressed many common complaints such as, “my insurance plan is skyrocketing” and “why do men have to have maternity coverage?”

Mr. Lillesand also discussed the impact the ACA will have on personal injury law, since a large percentage of personal injury claims often goes toward future medical costs associated with having preexisting conditions and no longer being able to find coverage. With preexisting conditions no longer affecting coverage, the amount awarded in personal injury suits may decrease drastically.

It was such a wonderful experience being surrounded by elder law experts and having the opportunity to listen to them speak about topics that are so relevant. I left the conference feeling very inspired and excited to enter the field of elder law.

    --by Regan Bovee (JD expected December 2013, William MItchell College of Law)



November 27, 2013 in Legal Practice/Practice Management, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pitt law clinic to help low-income seniors endowed by $1 million grant

Man, how very cool is this!!!  Via the Pittsburgh Tribune:

The Pittsburgh region's top prosecutor and one of its top businesswomen have created a $1 million endowment that will support the University of Pittsburgh's Elder Law Clinic.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton and his wife, Dawne Hickton, president and CEO of RTI International Metals named the endowment in honor of David Hickton's late mother, Gloria McDermott Hickton.

Gloria McDermott Hickton was an actress, a South Hills real estate agent for 35 years and one of the first members of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization for Women, according to her obituary. She died in April 2013.

David and Dawne Hickton met while they were students at Pitt's law school.

The clinic's law students represent low-income senior citizens facing legal problems. William M. Carter Jr., dean of Pitt's law school, said the endowment helps meet the school's goals of providing students with practical experience and providing community service.

Read more.

And to learn more about Pitt's elder law clinic, go here. 

November 26, 2013 in Legal Practice/Practice Management, Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)