Wednesday, February 13, 2008

AoA updates OAA gateway--IAT (it's about time)....

In June of 2007 AoA announced the online 'Gateway to the Older Americans Act 2006 Amendments.' The Gateway at provides an outline summary of new provisions in the Act, statutory text for each new provision (new/revised language only), and technical assistance resource links. provisions, the site now also includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), as well as, the opportunity for users to submit their own questions regarding the 2006 Amendments. The full list of current FAQs may be accessed at

 In addition, links to specific FAQs are included at the bottom of various "provision" (or topic) pages such as Aging and Disability Resource Centers, Evidence-Based Health Promotion Disease Prevention Programs, Self Directed Care and other programmatic questions.

We hope you find the FAQs helpful in implementing long-term care reforms in your respective States, planning and service areas and local communities. AoA will be adding FAQs periodically so we recommend the user check back regularly for updates.

February 13, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How did I miss this? AoA functions "streamlined" to "empower" the elderly

We all know what it means when HHS, CMS, or any other agency charged with serving the needs of the elderly population talks about letting beneficiaries "take charge" of their own health care.  Now I read that AoA's organizational structure is being changed to facilitate that goal.  Uh oh..Check out this Jan. 8 regulatory change....

This notice amends Part B of the Statement of Organization,
Functions, and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS), Administration on Aging (AoA), as follows: Part
B, Administration on Aging (67 FR 36883-36890), as last amended, May
28, 2002. This reorganization of AoA will achieve several important
objectives: It will streamline the organization; consolidate and
elevate AoA's disaster preparedness and responses activities; improve
the integration of AoA's budget development and policy analysis
functions; and enhance the organization's capacity to implement the
provisions of the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2006 which seek to
assist older Americans to conserve and extend their personal resources
by bringing transparency to long-term care, divert seniors away from
nursing home care, and empower older adults to take more control of
their own health through lifestyle and behavioral changes.

Can someone please explain?

February 12, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not elder law: mini me--flying reptiles came in dimunitive sizes

A new fossil species of flying reptile with a wingspan of less than 30cm (1ft) has been discovered in China.  The nearly complete articulated skeleton was unearthed in fossil beds from north-eastern China. The 120-million-year-old reptile had not reached adulthood when it died, but neither was it a hatchling. >Study of the fossil suggests it is one of the smallest pterosaurs known, a team says in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new species has been named Nemicolopterus crypticus, which means "hidden flying forest dweller".

Source:  BBC,

February 11, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CMS fingers the worst nursing homes for bedsore and other appalling stuff

Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publicly identified over 4000 nursing homes - more than 25% of facilities nationwide - whose residents are physically restrained, or have pressure sores, or both, in excessive numbers. This should be a call to action to both Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services."What's needed to avoid pressure ulcers and physical restraints is a sufficient number of well-trained certified nurse assistants, accompanied and supervised by a sufficient number of registered nurses," said Senior Policy Attorney Toby S. Edelman with the Center for Medicare Advocacy. "With CMS reporting that more than 90% of nursing homes do not have sufficient staff to meet residents' needs, it is time for Congress to enact legislation mandating comprehensive and meaningful nurse staffing ratios," continued Edelman. "For its part, CMS needs to take stronger enforcement action whenever it finds facilities short-changing their residents and providing them with less care than they need."

Source: Center for Medicare Advocacy.

Get list:

February 11, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not elder law: world's oldest advice columnist dies at age 101

Author, sex therapist and columnist Rose Hacker has died in hospital at the age of 101.  She was widelyRosehackernew_2 acknowledged as the world’s oldest columnist and last year was accepted into the Guinness Book of Records.  She joined the Camden New Journal in September 2006 after editor Eric Gordon saw her address a crowd with a speech on nuclear disarmament at a commemoration of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Tavistock Square.  Rose was taken ill a fortnight ago and admitted to the Whittington Hospital in north London where she died yesterday afternoon.  During her illness, the Camden News Journal offices were flooded with cards and messages from well-wishers.  One reader thanked her for "speaking so much sense through all the noise".  She was the author of a lively fortnightly column in the Camden New Journal, her most recent contribution appearing two weeks ago.  The publication of her first column in the New Journal made her an overnight sensation and she has appeared in The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, Daily Mail, the Times, the Telegraph and on Woman's Hour.  The new-found success followed her career as a successful author and sex therapist in the 1950s and 1960s.

Full story:

February 11, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CA sues to revoke assisted living facility license

The California Department of Social Services has filed a lawsuit to revoke the license of Paragon Gardens, an assisted living facility managed by the Oregon-based Sunwest Management, and to exclude some of the company’s executives from providing care and services to residents of any facility licensed by the Department.  The state’s “more horrific allegations are that a dementia client left the facility unnoticed and was never found, that staff members slept during their shift, that the facility was infested with mice who left dropping in the client’s food and that staff did not understand the meaning of incontinent care and were unable to provide such care.”  Among other deficiencies the State cited insufficient staff in June 2005, November 2005, January 2006, June 2006, and August 2006.  Sunwest Management is one of the largest managers of residential care facilities in the United States, with about 150 facilities in 35 states, including 15 in California.  A private class action lawsuit has also been filed against the management company. 

Source/more: Assisted Living Consumer Alliance,

February 11, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Proposed MI bill makes financial institutions mandatory reporters

Aimed at stopping elder abuse, the Elder Financial Protection Act was unveiled by House Speaker Michael Sak and State Representative Robert Dean today.  They said elder abuse can mean anything from physical and emotional abuse as well as financial exploitation.

The Elder Financial Protection Act would:

    * Make it mandatory for employees of financial institutions to report suspected elder abuse.
    * Require financial insitutions to provide joint accountholders with a written summary of their rights.
    * Prohibit those convicted of elder abuse from inheriting from a victim's estate, and create an Elder Death Review Team to investigate suspicious deaths.
    * Allow a third party to file a criminal complaint on behalf of a victim of elder abuse.
    * Define financial exploitation as it relates to the Michigan Social Welface Act.
    * Define the right of those who are incapacitated.
    * Require a person who is granted power of attorney on behalf of a senior to sign a contract that details that person's obligations and fiduciary duty to act in the senior's best interest.

Of the elder abuse cases, 15 percent are from financial exploitation and 20 percent involve caregiver neglect.


February 11, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bush budget proposes funding to ease SS disability backlogs--but not enough

President Bush's fiscal 2009 budget proposal will help the Social Security Administration tackle staffing shortages and a backlog on retirement and disability claims, the agency's commissioner said this week.

The president requested $10.3 billion for Social Security's administrative expenses, a $580 million increase over what Congress appropriated in fiscal 2008. The funding boost would be the largest increase the agency has received in a decade, and will help offset significant backlogs in claims, said SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue.

"The Social Security Administration is now at a crossroads," Astrue said. "Due to the aging of the baby boomers, we are facing an avalanche of retirement and disability claims at the same time that we must address large backlogs due to years of increasing workloads and limited resources."

The number of workers receiving Social Security retirement benefits is expected to increase by 13 million over the next decade. At the agency's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, there is a backlog of 750,000 hearing requests, up more than 300,000 since 2000. Over the last seven years, processing times for disability hearings have grown by 200 days, burdening disabled workers and their families, Astrue said.

Many of SSA's problems stem from the 4,000 jobs eliminated in the past two years. The result is longer wait times and more customers. Astrue said more than half of the people who call agency field offices now receive a busy signal. "Adequate funding is critical for fiscal 2009 and must be sustained in the years ahead," he said. "Without it, SSA's service crisis will deepen at a time when our aging population is increasingly counting on Social Security programs."

The president's budget proposal is $100 million less than the figure Astrue cited during congressional testimony as necessary to fully restore workforce cuts and invest in technology. Nevertheless, the commissioner said Monday that the proposed boost would greatly help the agency attack many of its most pressing challenges.


February 11, 2008 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kaplan's Top Ten Myths of Social Security now available via SSRN

This classic work by the indefatigable Dick Kaplan is a must-read for talking heads, law profs, and anyone else who thinks they know what's up with the Social Security.

Abstract:  Few federal programs are as well known and as widely misunderstood as Social Security, despite its national prominence in matters both political and economic. As efforts to reform this creation of the Great Depression era are likely in the coming years, this article examines the principal myths surrounding this program to set the stage for evaluating possible revisions. The myths considered in this article include the following: (1) there is a trust fund, (2) Social Security does not increase the federal budget deficit; (3) retirees are only recovering their own money, (4) Social Security will not be there when one retires, (5) retirement benefits are proportional to one's lifetime earnings, (6) Social Security favors two-income married couples, (7) Social Security favors long-lived marriages, (8) one could do better investing directly, (9) working after retirement makes financial sense, and (10) retirement benefits are taxed more heavily than other pension payments.

Get it here:

And for some interesting info on how to fix the SS "crisis", see Jon Formans VCPPTs (very cool power points):

February 10, 2008 in Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

WISER establishes new web-based National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning

FROM the Women's  Institute for a Secure Retirement (via ELDERBAR list serv):

The Administration on Aging and the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) have jointly established a web-based National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning (Center).  The Center’s overriding goal is to assist the Aging Network in educating women of all ages about planning for their future financial, health and long-term care.

The Center focuses its activities on educational materials that meet the special needs of disadvantaged women and their families, including individuals with limited English proficiency. The Center improves women’s access to basic financial and retirement planning tools that promote financial literacy. Our materials include a full library of fact sheets on topics such as budgeting, saving and investing, understanding your pension plan, buying long-term care insurance, Social Security, retirement health and other important topics.

We are writing to invite you to review the products and materials available on the Center’s website and also WISER’s website, and distribute them through your agency. Our goal is to promote greater awareness and utilization of materials by average and vulnerable women. WISER’s website address is and the Center’s website can be reached from our home page. Most of the materials are downloadable and may be printed and distributed to your clients free of charge. Bulk orders are available for a nominal fee. We encourage you to make these materials available to clients in your community and to link to our website if possible.

We also encourage you to join WISER’s email list. You can use the link below to join. We send monthly updates regarding WISER’s activities, new publications and other useful tips. Your email address is kept completely private. 

WISER believes that lifetime financial planning is one key to reducing the unacceptably high rate of poverty among older women. Women with financial skills and resources live a more secure and healthy life. We hope that you will partner with us to create access to these tools and resources. If you have any suggestions for collaborations or dissemination of the materials, we would love to hear from you.

February 10, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not elder law: elderly man's dead body went "unnoticed" for 8 years

Workers responding to neighbors' complaints of a bad smell coming from an apartment in western England discovered a body that lay decomposing on a couch for years while another resident lived there, officials said Friday.  The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that neighbors of the Bristol, England apartment had been complaining for years about the stench and cleaning workers found the body. Neighbor Michael Stone told the BBC he assumed the tenant suffered from poor hygiene and even offered him air fresheners.  A spokesman for Bristol City Council said the body was thought to have been in the apartment for at least eight years.  The identity of the man, who was thought to be in his 70s when he died, has not been released.  Police arrested the apartment's tenant after the body was found Jan. 30, but concluded the death was not suspicious. The occupant, also in his 70s, apparently failed to report the death because he suffers from mental health problems.  Bristol Coroner's Court launched an urgent inquiry on Friday to determine how the corpse had gone unnoticed for so long.

Source/more: Comcast News,

February 10, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

National Guardianship Association: Call for Proposals

Deadline for Submissions:  March 1, 2008

The Annual Conference of the National Guardianship Association has earned a reputation for offering cutting edge information that is presented over a two-and-a half-day period of intense intellectual sharing and camaraderie. You are invited to become part of this exceptional event by making a presentation at the 2008 Annual Conference to be held Saturday, October 4 to Tuesday, October 7 in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2007, nearly 500 professionals, firms, agencies, associations, judges, attorneys, and others attended the Conference, and based on the success of that program we anticipate an even larger audience for 2008. By sharing your expertise you will help improve the overall quality of guardianship services and highlight issues of interest and concern throughout the industry.

Because it allows the program to address a wider variety of timely topics, the sessions will not be restricted to specific themes or tracks. However, the conference program, as always, will acknowledge the interdependent and interdisciplinary nature of our work and address the broad interests that are shared by those involved in guardianship and surrogacy.

The committee is particularly interested in proposals for sessions that provide intermediate and advanced levels of information and education. The conference should provide working guardians and fiduciaries with knowledge they can take home and put to use immediately. Presentations and materials are expected to reflect the ethics and standards of the National Guardianship Association.

We encourage you to seriously consider contributing your expertise to this event and hope you will share this Call for Presentations with other people who you believe should also be solicited. Please note that NGA does not provide airfare, hotel costs, an honorarium, or a complimentary registration for presenters. However, a $100 discount on the Conference registration fee will be provided for each breakout session (not per speaker.)

To submit your proposal for a Conference presentation, please complete both pages of the attached form and return to them to the NGA business office by March 1, 2008. Proposals received after this date will be considered on a space-available basis only. Proposals will be reviewed by the program committee and selected upon the criteria of overall quality, originality, CEU applicability, and appropriateness to this program. Presenters will be notified of their acceptance in early April of 2008.

The Deadline for Submission is Saturday, March 1, 2008.
More information.

Send proposal by March 1, 2008 or call for more information:

National Guardianship Association
174 Crestview Drive
Bellefonte, PA 16823-8516
Toll free: 877-326-5992
Fax: 814-355-2452

February 9, 2008 in Estates and Trusts | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

National Health Care Decisions Day is April 16

On April 16, 2008, join Americans across the country to talk to others about their future healthcare decisions and to   complete your advance directive!         

National Healthcare Decisions Day will help Americans understand that making future healthcare decisions includes much   more than deciding what care they would or would not want. It starts with expressing preferences, clarifying values, identifying care preferences, and selecting an agent to express healthcare decisions if patients are unable to speak for themselves.

The National Healthcare Decisions Day initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state, and community organizations,   including the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions.          

For more information about National Healthcare Decisions Day go to

All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are.  Advance directives come in two main forms: 

  • A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy” or “agent” or  "surrogate”) documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself.
  • A “living will” documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

A number of organizations offer additional resources that provide clear, concise, and consistent information about advance directives; how to obtain them; and how individuals and families can make important decisions before a serious illness. For the list of resources and other useful links, go to:

February 9, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Report considers "elastic" early retirement age for SS eligibility

Center for Retirement Research,
An "Elastic" Earliest Eligibility Age for Social Security 
by Natalia Zhivan, Steven A. Sass, Margarita Sapozhnikov, and Kelly Haverstick


n the early 1980s, Congress responded to the Social Security program’s long-term financing shortfall, in part, by raising the Full Retirement Age (FRA) from 65 to 67.  When fully phased in, for those who turn 62 in 2022, workers will have to wait an additional two years to get the same monthly benefit.  If they do not postpone claiming, the increase in the FRA will cut their benefits by about 13 percent. 

Congress did not change the earliest age at which workers can claim. This Earliest Eligibility Age (EEA) remains 62.  When the increase in the FRA is fully phased in, workers who claim at 62 will get 70 percent, rather than 80 percent, of their FRA benefit.  This has raised concerns that benefits claimed at the EEA will be too low, especially as retirees age and other sources of income decline.  One response would be to raise the EEA from 62 to 64, in line with the two-year rise in the FRA.

There are, however, two important objections to an increase in the EEA.  The primary concern is that it would create hardship for those unable to work or find employment and who lack the resources to support themselves without working until age 64.  A second objection is that raising the EEA is unfair to disadvantaged groups with low life expectancy.  This brief addresses these concerns by considering an “Elastic” EEA, which gives different workers different earliest eligibility ages.

For full paper in PDF


February 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Mass. gov. wants to impose restrictive tests on senior drivers

Gov. Deval Patrick, whose mother, Emily, used Milton’s senior citizen vans to get around in her later years, says older drivers should be tested to prove they can still handle a car safely.  Patrick, however, says he isn’t sure at what age drivers need to be tested and what they should to be tested for.  His comments come in the wake of a terrible accident in Randolph on Tuesday in which an SUV driven by 86-year-old William Geisler struck an 8-year-old girl in front of the Lyons Elementary School, where she is a student. The girl was listed in fair condition today at Boston Medical Center with a fractured skull, a broken leg and internal injuries.  Currently, Massachusetts drivers of all ages are required to pass a vision test every 10 years as part of the license-renewal process. But there are no special requirements for older drivers, as there are in most other states.  State Sen. Brian A. Joyce, whose district includes Randolph, this week renewed this week to impose requirements on older drivers. His proposal - to require drivers 85 and older to pass a vision and road test every five years to keep their licenses - has remained in committee in the two years since he first filed it.


Ed:  FACT:   Teenage drivers are far more likely to cause fatal accidents than elderly drivers.   62% of all teens killed in auto accidents are killed in accidents caused by other teens.  If the goal of driving restrictions is to save lives, why not prohibit teen driving altogether?? Or impose greater restriction on teens, as well as elders?  See

February 9, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Advocacy group says elder abuse in Ireland is widespread

Recent figures on elder abuse in Ireland released by the HSE represent only a fraction of the cases in Ireland, according to a spokesperson for Age Action.  According to the figures, the HSE’s elder abuse officers dealt with 927 cases last year.  As the majority of the 26 elder abuse officers have been in their posts for less than 12 months, Mr Eamon Timmins, Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications said the scale of the problem is likely to be much greater.  Age Action had previously used the results of international studies, which showed that between three per cent and five per cent of the older population have been victims of elder abuse,” Mr Timmins told IMN.  Applying this to Ireland, would mean that between 14,000 and 23,000 older people would have experienced elder abuse. The figures released show only a fraction of the problem. Because of the nature of the abuse, much of it goes unreported. Many people who are abused are afraid to speak out.”

Source:  Irish Medical News,

February 9, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Organ transplant scam doctor arrested, deported

A doctor accused of organising illegal organ transplants in India has been deported following his arrest in Nepal.  Amit Kumar was detained late on Thursday, accused of heading an illegal kidney transplant ring in Gurgaon, a wealthy suburb of New Delhi.  Police said they were investigating whether Mr Kumar was involved in illegal transplants in Nepal, and that he had been trying to flee to Canada.  Mr Kumar has denied the accusations of illegal practices.  "I have not committed any crime," he said at a news conference in Kathmandu on Friday.  India bans trade in live kidneys unless the organ is donated by a blood relative or a spouse, or if two families agree a swap.  But many continue to sell their kidneys to satisfy demand from rich clients, including Westerners, waiting for transplants.

Source/more:  BBC,

February 9, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 8, 2008

The National Legal Training Project (NLTP) is now accepting resumes from advocates and attorneys who would be interested in providing training on a variety of legal topics that impact low-income, older adults.  Selected trainers would be asked to present a training event at one or more training events per year.  An NLTP trainer is paid $400 per day for training, with all travel expenses paid.  Trainers will use NLTP training materials, but are also expected to prepare a power point presentation and/or materials as requested for the training.  NLTP will provide assistance in designing and preparation for the training event.


  • JD degree or relevant advanced degree with at least 5 years of advocacy and/or legal experience
  • Subject matter expertise and/or litigation experience in subject matter

Previous training or teaching experience is preferred.

 Potential Training Topics:

  • Medicaid/Medicare
  • Predatory Mortgage Lending litigation
  • Predatory Consumer litigation
  • Social Security, SSDI
  • Guardianship
  • Nursing Home Issues
  • Elder Abuse including financial exploitation
  •  Law Enforcement Response to Elder Abuse
  • Building Strategic Alliances

If interested, please forward a resume to Imani Woody, NLTP Training Specialist at or call 202-434-6862 for more information.

February 8, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

ABA Senior Lawyers Division seeks nominees for Pickering award

The ABA Senior Lawyers Division is accepting nominations for the 2008 John H. Pickering Achievement Award. The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, an outstanding lawyer who was involved in a wide variety of pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting the elderly.

The award nominees must be lawyers or judges, though not necessarily members of the American Bar Association, who demonstrate outstanding legal ability; and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to
justice for all.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 15, 2008. Visit the Division web site at to download directions and the nomination form.

February 5, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Review of "The Sea Inside"

Gerilaw maven Robert Fleming has posted a great review of the 2004 Spanish film "The Sea Inside".  Here's an excerpt:

No matter how you feel about the "death with dignity" movement, or assisted suicide, I think you will be moved by the story of Ramón Sampedro. Rendered a quadraplegic by a diving accident 26 years ago, at the beginning of the movie he is trying to persuade Spanish legal authorities that he should be allowed to end his own life. Since he is unable to move or control any part of his body below his neck, he is going to need assistance from someone if he is to take that final step.

Here's the "wow" part: the movie is clearly about Ramón's wishes and his legal struggle, but it is also about love, life, birth, redemption, family and faith. Though it is sympathetic to Ramón's cause, the movie also recognizes the complexity and moral, legal and ethical difficulties of his position. His older brother, for example, is movingly portrayed in his opposition to Ramón's quest, both because he views it as morally wrong and because he does not want to lose Ramón.

Read the rest of Robert's review (how's that for alliteration) at

February 4, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)