Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Medicare Part D Donut Hole-Gone or Not?

The New York Times an an article scrutinizing the status of the Part D coverage gap (a/k/a the Donut Hole), in Medicare’s Part D Doughnut Hole Has Closed! Mostly. Sorta.

The donut hole  was weird and unlike other types of insurance and as the article explains, "“designed that way because Congress had a self-imposed budget target,” said Tricia Neuman, who directs the Medicare policy program at the Kaiser Family Foundation.... In order to afford a low deductible, catastrophic coverage and protection for those with low incomes, lawmakers agreed to the doughnut hole. But what other kind of insurance works like that?"

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contained a provision that gradually closed  the donut hole. "The final reduction, for generic drugs, slid into place on Jan. 1. Now, supposedly, there is no coverage gap. Federal regulations require that your plan (most Medicare beneficiaries can choose from nearly 30) average 25 percent cost-sharing for any drug."  But remember closing the donut hole is not the same as reducing the cost of prescription drugs.

There's still remaining weirdness with the Part D program, as the article highlights:

  • This year, after meeting the $435 deductible, you generally pay a flat price for each covered drug during the so-called initial coverage period. Different plans assign drugs to different tiers for which you pay specified amounts.

But once your total drug expenditures hit $4,020, you’re responsible for 25 percent of the plan’s negotiated cost per drug — not a gap, exactly, but a shift.

If you were paying $45 for a prescription that costs $200, your share is now $50 — not a major change. But for a $500 drug, you’ll owe $125 until you reach the catastrophic threshold.

 . .
  • It will now take longer to climb out of the not-exactly-a-hole.

Last year, you qualified for catastrophic coverage when your out-of-pocket expenditures reached $5,100.

This year, you don’t qualify until they hit $6,350, a big jump. The Affordable Care Act had maintained a lower threshold; this year, that provision ended.

Once there, your co-payment is a flat $3.60 to $8.95, or 5 percent of the drug’s cost, whichever is higher. (Not lower.)

  • Part D has never capped out-of-pocket costs, even when you reach the supposedly safe shore of catastrophic coverage. Your 5 percent co-payment lasts the rest of the year.

. . .

All of this takes place against the backdrop of rising drug prices generally. From 2015 to 2017, more than a million Medicare beneficiaries each year passed the threshold for catastrophic coverage — more than twice the number when Part D began, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

Oh and choosing the right Part D program is complicated.  The article notes that Congressional action is needed to reduce the drug prices. And what if the ACA is repealed??

January 21, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicare | Permalink

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dispute Resolution Issue on Eldercaring Coordination

The latest issue of the magazine for the Association of Conflict Resolution is devoted to eldercaring coordination. Twelve articles make up the issue. Check it out!

 

January 20, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana House Bill 1020 on Physician Aid-in-Dying

Indiana House Bill 1020, which was recently introduced recently, if passed, would legalize physician aid-in-dying in Indiana effective July 1, 2020. Here's the synopsis

End of life options. Allows individuals with a terminal illness who meet certain requirements to make a request to an attending physician for medication that the individual may self-administer to end the individual's life. Specifies requirements a physician must meet in order to prescribe the medication to a patient. Prohibits an insurer from denying payment of benefits under a life insurance policy based upon a suicide clause in the life insurance policy if the death of the insured individual is the result of medical aid in dying. Establishes a Level 1 felony if a person: (1) without authorization of the patient, willfully alters, forges, conceals, or destroys a request for medication or a rescission of a request for medication with the intent or effect of causing the individual's death; or (2) knowingly or intentionally coerces or exerts undue influence on an individual to request medication to end the individual's life or to destroy a rescission of a request for medication to end the individual's life.

The bill includes a sample form for requesting the medication, found in proposed  IC 16-36-7 I, sec. 3(e).

Stay tuned.

 

January 20, 2020 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Legal Practice/Practice Management, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink

Saturday, January 18, 2020

HHS 2020 Poverty Guidelines

HHS has released the 2020 Poverty Level Guidelines.

2020 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Persons in family/household Poverty guideline

1 ..................................................$12,760

2 ..................................................17,240

3 ..................................................21,720

4 ..................................................26,200

5 ..................................................30,680

6 ..................................................35,160

7 ..................................................39,640

8 ..................................................44,120

"For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,480 for each additional person."

Alaska and Hawaii are also available in the publication.

January 18, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Medicaid | Permalink

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Forgetfulness is Not Just for the Old

I always talk with my students about memory loss and what it might signal--but always when we talk about memory loss, or for them, forgetfulness, every one of them has experienced an episode of forgetfulness, whether misplacing their phones or losing their keys.   I was pleased to read a recent editorial in the New York Times by neuroscientist, Everyone Is Wrong.

Short-term memory contains the contents of your thoughts right now, including what you intend to do in the next few seconds. It’s doing some mental arithmetic, thinking about what you’ll say next in a conversation or walking to the hall closet with the intention of getting a pair of gloves.

Short-term memory is easily disturbed or disrupted. It depends on your actively paying attention to the items that are in the “next thing to do” file in your mind. You do this by thinking about them, perhaps repeating them over and over again (“I’m going to the closet to get gloves”). But any distraction — a new thought, someone asking you a question, the telephone ringing — can disrupt short-term memory. Our ability to automatically restore the contents of the short-term memory declines slightly with every decade after 30.

Given that everyone has forgetfulness, the author's next point is important:

The relevant difference is not age but rather how we describe these events, the stories we tell ourselves about them. Twenty-year-olds don’t think, “Oh dear, this must be early-onset Alzheimer’s.” They think, “I’ve got a lot on my plate right now” or “I really need to get more than four hours of sleep.” The 70-year-old observes these same events and worries about her brain health. This is not to say that Alzheimer’s- and dementia-related memory impairments are fiction — they are very real — but every lapse of short-term memory doesn’t necessarily indicate a biological disorder.

So, why might we focus on this with elders?  The author suggests elders have more memories to get through-it's going to take more time to remember a specific and generally it may take older folks a bit longer to remember things. 

This is a very interesting article that I plan to reference when I'm discussing issues regarding memory loss and dementia with my students.

January 16, 2020 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

International Federation on Aeging Webinar on 1th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing

The UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing has its 11th Session coming up.  Prior to that meeting, the International Federation on Aeging, along with  the Global Alliance For the Rights of Older People (GAROP) are offering an upcoming webinar on National Advocacy ahead of the 11th Session of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing.is holding a webinar on National Advocacy Ahead of the 11th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing on January 22, 2020 at 7 a.m. est. This webinar will

  • Provide information for all NGOs engaging in the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) process at the national level.
  • Focus particularly on what national advocacy NGOs can do to influence their governments ahead of the 11thOEWG session in April.
  • Include updates and insights from a UN perspective and concrete examples of national advocacy from GAROP members. 

Click here to register for this program.

Summaries of the prior meetings of the U.N. Working Group can be accessed here.

January 15, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, International, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Recent Interesting Cases

Getting ready for the start of the Spring 2020 semester.  I was looking through a list of recent cases from the AARP Foundation  in which they had filed amicus briefs. Docket: Recent or Open Amicus Cases includes  citations to the cases, summaries of the cases and copies of the amicus briefs. I think these are useful to give us some up-to-date info about litigation issues, and can also serve to provide topic ideas for our students who might be writing scholarly papers on an elder law topic. Check it out!

January 14, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Cases, State Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 13, 2020

DOJ Elder Justice Initiative Resources for Law Enforcement

The Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative has some great resources for all of us. The EJI recently released a number of resources for law enforcement, located here.

The resources include information about an online training from the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C),  downloadable fliers, data, the Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE), roll call videos and more.

Although the resources are targeted for law enforcement, they are still very helpful to others. In particular, I thought this chart showing how the different departments within law enforcement might encounter victims of elder abuse. I think this will help my students more fully understand the numerous ways these cases come to light. Check it out!

 

January 13, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other | Permalink

Friday, January 10, 2020

PACE Program and Adult Day Care

Kaiser Health News (KHN) recently published a story about a PACE program, Government-Funded Day Care Helps Keep Seniors Out Of Nursing Homes And Hospitals.

The services provided by PACE, a national program primarily funded by Medicaid and Medicare, are intended to keep people 55 and older who need nursing home levels of care at home as long as possible and out of the hospital.

The program is more important than ever as baby boomers age, its proponents say.

“The rapidly growing senior population in California and across the country will put enormous strain on our current fragmented, and often inefficient, health care delivery system,” said Tim Lash, president of Gary and Mary West PACE. California officials consider PACE an integral part of the state’s strategy to upgrade care for aging residents.

Consider the cost-savings to states with PACE programs, as well as the number of folks, typically dual eligibles, who participate. According to the story,

The National PACE Association said data it collected for 2019 shows seniors enrolled in PACE cost states 13% less on average than the cost of caring for them through other Medicaid-funded services, including nursing homes.

. . .

PACE participants who do not receive government medical benefits can pay out of their own pockets. At Gary and Mary West, the tab ranges from $7,000 to $10,000 a month, depending on the level of care.

Nationally, 50,000 enrollees participate in PACE programs at over 260 centers in 31 states. In California, PACE serves nearly 9,000 vulnerable seniors at 47 locations.

PACE provides the same services as under Medicare and Medicaid, and use of team from various disciplines to provide care. Patients often have chronic conditions and  almost 2/3 of them have some level of cognitive difficulty.

Check it out.

 PACE enrollees commonly have conditions such as vascular disease, diabetes, congestive heart failure, depression and bipolar disorder.

January 10, 2020 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Report from 2020 AALS Annual Meeting Section on Aging and the Law

For the last few years, I've found myself with conflicts during semester breaks that interfered with attending the AALS Annual Meeting.  So I was especially happy this year to attend and catch up with long-time and new friends, especially those who work in fields relevant to elder law.  

The annual meeting kicked off for me with a Joint Session hosted by the Sections on Aging and the the Law, Civil Rights, Family & Juvenile Law, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, and Immigration Law.  The collaborative event offered lots of interesting "Emerging Issues in Elder Law," with speakers including:

Mark Bauer, Stetson Law, who spoke about recent enforcement efforts to combat elder exploitation, and pointed to a lingering weakness associated with banks that make SARS reports that never go beyond the regulatory body, and therefore never reach first responders, such as local police.  He talked about support for a state-wide effort in Florida to improve police reports to make it easier to identify abusers who target older persons.  He also called for better record-keeping for sales of gift cards, as these have become the number 1 method that telephone scammers get older adults to send them money.  

Wendy Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law, who focused on the impact of immigration laws and policies on the health of older adults, including attempts by the current administration to change the definition of "public charge" to include anyone who could receive any public benefits whatsoever,  thereby expanding the the pool of inadmissible immigrants and further restricting eligibility for legal permanent residency.  She traced the impacts of such policies on older adults once eligible for family reunification, on older citizens overall, and on a nation that once took pride in providing help to immigrants who were "tired and poor."

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, Duquesne Law, who talked about how some states are not applying sentencing reforms to elderly offenders, even though such inmates statistically are at the least risk of reoffending and, at 19% of the total prison population, are often generating care costs that are unsustainable.  I learned, sadly, that my own state of Pennsylvania is one of the states that is not yet making significant progress on sentencing reforms for older adults.

Rachel Lopez, Drexel University Law, who is director of Drexel's Stern Community Lawyering Clinic, carried forward the theme of needed prison reforms for older inmates, reporting the latest events that follow the Graterford Think Tank Prison Project in Pennsylvania, and making the sobering observation that the most effective argument may not be one that sounds in human rights or human dignity, but the demonstration that return to the community for aging and ill residents saves the state money.  

Naomi Cahn, George Washington Law, who is also the incoming chair for the AALS Section on Law and Aging, presented facts and figures on "gray divorce," especially with respect to financial impacts on women.  She urged a de-coupling of Social Security benefits from marriage (or perhaps marriage longevity requirements), arguing that Social Security credits should be available for time spent as caregivers.  

Browne Lewis, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, pointed to the emerging issue of "reproductive rights" for older individuals, identifying jurisdictions that restrict women's access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) including placing age or time restrictions on use of banked or stored eggs.

For faculty members who would like to be part of next year's Law and Aging program at the 2021 AALS Annual meeting in San Francisco, contact Naomi Cahn with your topics and interest.  

January 8, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, International, Retirement, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elder Justice Mapping Webinar

Register now for an upcoming webinar from the Department of Justice webinar on Mapping Elder Justice Networks.  The webinar is scheduled for January 21, 2020  at 2 p.m. est.   Here is info about the webinar

Join us for the webinar, Mapping Elder Justice Networks, where we will introduce the new Elder Justice Networks Locator. 

The Locator is a map designed to help elder justice professionals to locate and collaborate with elder justice networks/teams across the nation.  Networks will be added in an on-going fashion.

This webinar will discuss the development of this resource, walk through how to find and use the Locator, and explain how to submit your network for inclusion.

Mapping Elder Justice Networks

Talitha Guinn-Shaver, Presenter

The Locator represents the teams that have provided information to participate in this project. Networks interested in being included in the Locator may submit their network name, type, address, web address and email to elder.justice@usdoj.gov. Please note that for-profit organizations and dot coms cannot be included.  Other rules may apply.  Submission is not a guarantee of inclusion in the Locator.

To register for this webinar, click here.

January 8, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Catching Up on Some News

Two articles, updating us on two topics important to all of us.

First, statistics. We know women statistically live longer than men,and a recent data report from Pew updates us that this still is true and in many instances women are younger than their husbands.  That it means that late in life, many women will be alone. Globally, women are younger than their male partners, more likely to age alone tells us that "[t]he pattern of spousal age gaps – and the fact that women tend to live at least a few years longer than men – helps explain another universal theme: Across the world, women are about twice as likely as men to age alone. One-in-five women ages 60 and older live in a solo household (20%), compared with one-in-ten men (11%)."  The report looks at religion and geography to measure the extent of this trend. "Rates of living alone over the age of 60 are tied to many factors, including cultural norms, economic development, levels of education and life expectancy. In countries where governments offer fewer retirement benefits or other support systems for older adults, families may face a greater responsibility to provide care."

The next article is from Sunday's New York Times, on the continuing shortage of geriatricians.Older People Need Geriatricians. Where Will They Come From?  notes the long-term shortage of geriatricians and explains their importance, using one real-life example to "spotlight the rising need for geriatricians. These doctors not only monitor and coordinate treatment for the many ailments, disabilities and medications their patients contend with, but also help them determine what’s most important for their well-being and quality of life." There's very little progress on closing this gap, according to the article. "An analysis published in 2018 showed that over 16 years, through academic year 2017-18, the number of graduate fellowship programs that train geriatricians, underwritten by Medicare, increased to 210 from 182. That represents virtually no growth when adjusted for the rising United States population."

The article explains why there aren't more doctors going into the field, including the economics realities.  One measure to address the shortage is cross-training.

Medical associations representing cardiologists and oncologists have begun focusing on older patients...

Health systems are adopting age-friendly approaches, like specialized emergency rooms. The American College of Surgeons’ new verification program sets standards hospitals should meet to improve results for older patients.

Last month the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted to reauthorize a $41 million program that educates health professionals in geriatrics; it awaits a floor vote. A companion bill has already passed the House of Representatives.

Health professionals increasingly recognize that if they’re not in pediatrics, they will be seeing lots of seniors, whatever their specialty. A 2016 American Medical Association survey, for example, found that close to 40 percent of patients treated by internists and general surgeons were Medicare beneficiaries.

Pay attention to these issues. They will affect all of us either directly or through a family member.

 

January 7, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, International, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reframing Elder Abuse on Social Media-New Webinar

National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) and National Center on Elder Abuse is offering a webinar on Friday January 24, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. est, on How to Reframe Elder Abuse on Social Media.

Over the past few years, the NCEA’s Reframing Elder Abuse project, an initiative to change the way we talk about elder abuse with the public has built momentum. The project aims to demonstrate how we can restructure our communities to put elder abuse on the public agenda, generate a sense of collective efficacy on the issue, and boost support for systemic solutions to prevent and address it. Social media can be the first, and in some ways, the easiest place to begin to reframe how the public thinks about elder abuse. During this webinar, participants will review best practices in public communications on elder abuse based on an evidence-based strategy and receive tips and resources in social media application.

Click here to register for this webinar.

January 7, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Guest Blog on The Greying of HIV of America

I had blogged previously about meeting with two professors from the School of Social Work at the U. of Missouri.  One, Dr. Erin Robinson, was kind enough to write the following blog on this important topic.

The Greying of HIV in America

By: Dr. Erin L. Robinson, MSW, MPH

Assistant Professor, University of Missouri School of Social Work

Email: robinsonel@missouri.edu

My name is Dr. Erin Robinson and much of my research focused on older adults, sexual health, and the prevention of HIV. I get a lot of questions about my research, including the need for such research, therefore I am going to share some information with you about the ‘greying of HIV’ in the United States. Over the past decade, older adults have been one of the fastest growing population groups affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States. Currently, 17% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. occur among people ages 50 years and older. This age group also accounts for nearly half of all people currently living with HIV. While the routes of HIV transmission in older adults is similar to that of their younger counterparts, there are some unique factors that contribute to the ‘greying of HIV’ in the U.S. Below are some interesting facts:

Facts about HIV and Aging:

  • Older men are disproportionately impacted by HIV, however rates of older heterosexual women becoming newly infected are rapidly growing. This has led to specialized prevention interventions for older, heterosexual women.
  • Older African American and Hispanic men and women are disproportionately impacted by HIV.
  • 60% of all older adults living with HIV are virally suppressed, which means they have no risk of sexually transmitting the disease to others.
  • Older adults are more likely to be diagnosed when HIV is further along in the disease progression (i.e. late-stage HIV). This means treatment options may not be as effective and mortality rates increase. Many of the symptoms for HIV can be similar for other illnesses, therefore if an older person does not test for HIV then they (and their healthcare provider) may attribute the symptoms to other causes.
  • HIV can cause dementia-like symptoms, this is called HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), AIDS dementia complex, or HIV-associated dementia. However, those symptoms can be reversed with proper HIV medications.
  • Over the past few years, new HIV infections have decreased among the aging population. This is due, in part, to tailored prevention interventions among public health officials. However, we still have progress to make in order to curb the disparities.

Why are we seeing this ‘greying of HIV’ in the U.S.?

  • Historically, older adults today have higher divorce rates than previous generations. This means older adults are engaging in new romantic relationships at higher rates as well.
  • Our older generation today has lived through major historic events that have helped shape their outlook on themselves, their relationships, and their sexuality. This includes the industrial revolution, the 2nd wave of the women’s rights era, the Civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, the gay rights movement, and others.
  • Older adults are healthier now than ever before, allowing them to experience sexually satisfying relationships later in life. Over the past 20 years, erectile dysfunction medications have also enabled men to engage in sexual relationships well into their later years.
  • After women have reached menopause and can no longer get pregnant, we see lower levels of condom use. This is true for both committed relationships and new sexual encounters with a casual partner.
  • Older adults do not perceive themselves to be at risk for STIs and HIV, therefore are less cautious in avoiding transmission.
  • A lot of stigma exists around older adults and their sexuality. Many people like to believe that older adults do not engage in sex. Therefore, this creates an environment where older adults feel like they have to hide or deny their sexuality, which exacerbates STI and HIV infection and diagnosis rates.
  • Healthcare providers have a difficult time talking to their older patients about their sexual health and HIV. In fact, when there is an age differential and a gender differential between the provider and the older patient, providers report being uncomfortable prompting such conversations. Providers also report that time is a big barrier in initiating such conversations, especially when their older patient has other health concerns.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/olderamericans/index.html

 

January 6, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 3, 2020

New Personal Safety Toolkit for APS Staff

Adult Protective Services Technical Assistance Resource Center released a new personal safety toolkit.

APS casework can create personal safety risk for staff conducting investigations, assessments, and home visits. The safety of personnel can have a noticeable impact on the ability of APS programs to provide services to the adults who need them most. Commitment to worker safety includes maintaining a safe work environment with a focus on prevention, mental health training, and emergency preparedness planning.

The purpose of this toolkit is to provide a resource to administrators and front-line staff to increase the safety of APS staff. It includes helpful information such as a presentation slide template for basic training, smart technology tips, and policies and procedures. APS programs are encouraged to add program logos, emergency contact numbers, etc., to customize the templates to fit their needs. The APS TARC requests that any adapted materials be credited to us.

Resources that make up the toolkit include a webinar, slides. sample procedures and policies, smart phone apps, and more, accessible here.

 

January 3, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Acting Classes in Senior Center

I wanted to start the New Year with happy news, so I wanted to share this article from the New York Times, Lights. Camera. Senior Center? The story focuses on actor, Mr. Hoffman, who holds acting classes at a local senior center

Mr. Hoffman,  ... has become a celebrity, if not quite the kind he had envisioned. A few years ago he started to volunteer at the senior center as a type of acting coach. He helps people in their 70s, 80s and 90s perform scenes from films like “Casablanca,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Wizard of Oz,” even providing wigs and costumes for special videotaped performances, which they toast with champagne flutes filled with vanilla Ensure.

He now faces a popularity dilemma-the folks in the senior center love him and his classes, but his acting career is heating up and time is limited.  In addition to the acting classes and his career, he also raise money for the senior centers, most recently for Meals on Wheels.  Even though is time is limited, he has no plans to stop the acting classes. "I will somehow make it work. I am not leaving them.”

 

A nice story to start the New Year!

January 2, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 23, 2019

New Book on Estate Planning

Looking for that perfect gift for the Boomer in your life?  Check out this new book, just for Boomers.  Harry Margolis has published Get your Ducks in a Row: The Baby Boomers Guide to Estate Planning. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

The website provides this summary

If  you’re over 55, you probably know you need an estate plan. What you might not know is how to create one. Questions about cost, confusion about options, and difficulty talking about subjects like disability and death can make the process of preparing for the future seem overwhelming. That’s probably why most people put it off—even though the results of doing nothing can sometimes be devastating.

What you need is a guide that explains the process clearly and comprehensively, in terms you can understand and actually use. Get Your Ducks in a Row: The Baby Boomers Guide to Estate Planning tells you everything you ever wanted (or perhaps never wanted) about estate planning.

Written by elder law and estate planning expert Attorney Harry S. Margolis, Get Your Ducks in a Row: The Baby Boomers Guide to Estate Planning takes you through the estate planning process step by step. Whether you’re currently creating a plan, getting ready to start, or looking for an explanation of documents you’ve already signed, this book will provide the information you need, including:

  • Answers to the most common estate planning questions
  • Common estate planning terms, demystified
  • The Five (or Six or Seven) Essential Documents everyone over 55 needs (and how to fill them out)
  • An overview of more complex estate planning scenarios
  • Help deciding when it’s time to consult an attorney
  • And more...

Featuring practical advice and easy-to-follow examples gleaned from the author’s 30-plus years of experience in elder law and estate planning, Get Your Ducks in a Row: The Baby Boomers Guide to Estate Planning will help you take control, make a plan, and ensure your family—and yourself—a secure and comfortable future.

The book is divided into 3 sections:  (1) "The Five or Six or Seven Essential Documents, (2) Special Situations in Estate Planning and (3) Creating a Plan.  Each section has a number of chapters addressing relevant topics. I particularly liked chapter 6, "'Bonus' essentials," which covers beneficiary designations, digital assets, bank and investment accounts, life insurance and more.  The conclusion notes that all of us need to have an estate plan, but many folks don't--for various reasons---, and there are limits, and risks, to folks doing their planning without an attorney's guidance. Harry closes the book with this: "[f]inally, it's time for baby boomers to plan. It can make all the differ3ence for your family. don't wait. Enjoy the process."

PS, In the interest of full disclosure, I've known Harry for a long time. He's a prolific writer in the field of elder law.

December 23, 2019 in Books, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 20, 2019

More Student Views on Current Events

Frequent readers of this blog know that this semester I had my students write posts about their observations on recent events.  The semester has ended and I have a final post from a student to share with you.

Jeidy Beltran writes about aging in place.

THE COST OF AGING IN PLACE

 Kaiser Health News recently published the article “For Boomers Reframing Aging, Age-Proofing A Home Won’t Come Cheap,” discussing the high investments older persons are incurring when retrofitting their homes to be able to “age in place.” According to the article, “by 2050, almost one-quarter of Americans will be 65 or older,” and what living arrangements and services will be available to them is the million-dollar question. Most of the common options are moving in with relatives or moving to a care facility. The article states that baby boomers are not attracted to either of those options and it is quite understandable why – they want to preserve their autonomy and independence. Nevertheless, many are left without an option given that aging in place and preserving the highest amount of independence can be considered a luxury and available to those who are most affluent.

According to Kaiser, “in a recent survey of 1,000 people age 65 and older, 80% of respondents were concerned about their ability to age in place due to financial reasons. About 60% said that they have less than $10,000 in savings (including investments and retirement plans).” Given that in this day in age, neither communities or homes are suited for “aging in place,” accomplishing it can present quite a hurdle. Most communities are not people focused, meaning that they do not have the necessities within walking distance. Also, most homes are either not single-story or they do not have the necessary modifications to allow one to age in place (narrow doors and hallways, low toilet seats, bathtubs rather than walk in showers with grab bars…etc.). Given that everyone has a different view of what aging in place signifies, retrofitting a home and when it is done can vary. Some may start looking into their forever home from the time they purchase their first home or by the time they start planning for retirement and possible disability, while others undertake the task when presented with a disability that requires such modifications. Home modifications can also vary in degree. They can be as little and inexpensive as “adding grab bars or lever doorknobs” to highly expensive changes such as “widening doorways or lowering light switches.” The article commented on a couple in Texas who undertook the task of completely modifying their home and including all that might be necessary in case they might need it in the future, which could easily cost them $300,000 just for renovations.

My initial concern with aging in place was that people would deplete their funds in achieving their “dream” and aging in place appropriate home, but would fail to account for the future need of services. After reading the article and seeing that some people build their home with the expectation that a caregiver might live in the home makes me think that some people are thinking of the possibility that they might need services after all. The choice between wanting to preserve as much independence as possible, requiring services, and the financial burdens of each is a hefty one, but I believe that if properly planned, aging does not have to be so complicated. Have you thought about this? If so, have you analyzed your situation and weighed the pros and cons of each of the housing options?

December 20, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Recent Survey on Needs of Older Adults in Tampa Bay Area, Florida

The Area Agency on Aging for Pinellas-Pasco (Florida) along with the Pinellas Community Foundation  did a Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults  (CASOA):

The Community Assessment Survey of Older Adults, or CASOA, is a printed survey that was sent to 10,000 randomly selected households across every Pinellas and Pasco zip code in which at least one resident was known to be aged 60 and over. The Pinellas Community Foundation and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas joined forces to conduct this comprehensive needs assessment of the area’s aging community.

The survey, which is available here offers key findings in 9 categories:

Overall Community explores how older residents view the community overall, how connected they feel to the community and overall feelings of safety, as well as how likely residents areto recommend and remain in the community.

. . .

Health and Wellness Of all the attributes of aging, health poses the greatest risk and the biggest opportunity for communities to ensure the independence and contributions of their aging populations. Health and wellness, for the purposes of this study, included not only physical and mental health, but issues of independent living and health care.

. . .

Housing  The movement in America towards designing more “livable” communities those with mixed-use neighborhoods, higher-density development, increased connections, shared community spaces and more human-scale design will become a necessity for communities to age successfully.

 . . .

    Outdoor Spaces and Building Generally, communities that have planned for older adults tend to emphasize access --access to parks, green spaces, buildings, and places where the public wants to gather. Accessibility of public places in a community has a major effect on older residents’ quality of life, allowing them to remain mobile, access services, participate in productive activities and engage socially.

. . .

Transportation and Streets Mobility access increases the likelihood that seniors will be engaged with the community and the economy. Because the US is currently highly reliant on automobiles, older drivers may become concerned with their dependency on others for transportation because they can become isolated without their motorized mobility. Those that reside in livable communities where they can reach their destinations easily and comfortably on foot or in public transportation are more likely to remain engaged in their communities and to demonstrate signs of successful aging.

. . .

Social Participation, Inclusion and Education Opportunities. A “community” is often greater than the sum of its parts, and having a sense of community entails not only a sense of membership and belonging, but also feelings of emotional and physical safety, trust in the other members of the community and a shared history.

. . .

Volunteer and Civic Engagement Productivity is the touchstone of a thriving old age. This section of the report examines the extent of older adults’ engagement in the Pasco-Pinellascommunity as determined by their time spent attending or viewing civic meetings, volunteering or providing help to others.

. . .

Job Opportunities People in the U.S. are working longer and retiring at an older age than they did 20 years ago. Of all developed countries, the U.S. has the highest labor force participationof adults age 65 and older. Older adults are postponing retirement for a variety of reasons: improved health, to benefit from delayed pension plans, to accumulate additional wealth, and because the knowledge worker economy is less physically demanding than jobs in the economy of 20 years ago. Some experts believe that older workers will become an untapped resource for economic stability when Baby Boomers begin retiring.

. . .

Community Information Sometimes residents of any age fail to take advantage of services offered by a community just because they are not aware of the opportunities. The educationof a large community of older adults is not simple, but when more residents are made aware of attractive, useful and well-designed programs, increasing numbers of residents will benefit from becoming participants.

. . .

The summary of the results are available here.

 

December 19, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

American Society on Aging 2020 Annual Conference

Registration is open for the American Society on Aging 2020 annual conference in Atlanta, Aging 2020: Examining the Needs of Today's Diverse Older Adults set for March 24-27, 2020. Take a look at the extensive agenda to identify sessions that are can't miss.  It promises to be a great conference! #AiA20 #Aging2020

(PS-I'm on the board and reviewed some of the proposals, so I know it will be great!)

December 18, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)