Saturday, March 29, 2008

Not elder law: world's oldest recorded voice will be heard again

An "ethereal" 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song has been played for the first time in 150Box years. The recording of "Au Clair de la Lune", recorded in 1860, is thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice.  A phonograph of Thomas Edison singing a children's song in 1877 was previously thought to be the oldest record.  The new "phonautograph", created by etching soot-covered paper, has now been played by US scientists using a "virtual stylus" to read the lines.  "When I first heard the recording as you hear it ... it was magical, so ethereal," audio historian David Giovannoni, who found the recording, told AP."The fact is it's recorded in smoke. The voice is coming out from behind this screen of aural smoke."

Source:  BBC News

March 29, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CCELS issues call for papers

The Canadian Centre for Elder Law, in partnership with the International Guardianship Network announces a Call for Papers for its joint conference on Nov 13 – 15, 2008, Vancouver, Canada with the theme:

“Aging Citizens, Evolving Practices”


The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) and the International Guardianship Network (IGN) invites submissions for papers and workshops to be presented at the Annual Canadian Conference on Elder Law / International Guardianship Network Conference, to be held November 13th - 15th, 2008. This joint international conference welcomes participants from around the world to participate and present at this unique event.

The theme of this year’s conference is “International Guardianship: Aging Citizens, Evolving Practices”. This year’s themed programming will focus on issues of capacity, capability, support, public/private guardianship, monitoring, accreditation, inter-jurisdictional recognition, mobility, standards and law reform.

While the theme of this conference is international guardianship, this call for papers embraces a broad variety of socio-legal topics on law and aging that do not specifically deal with guardianship issues.  The focus of this conference is law, but interdisciplinary abstracts are welcome for its workshops, panels or symposia. Written materials for all presentations are required for electronic submission by October 1st, 2008 to:

More info:

March 29, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Center for Elder Justice and Policy publication: 50 State Survey of Family Caregiver Legislation

The Center for Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell College of Law has just published a Fifty-State Survey of state legislation authorizing the use of paid time off for care of an adult family member. The survey was authored by 3L Letty Van Ert in behalf of the Alzheimer's Association of Minnesota-North Dakota. Get the survey in PDF or HTML format.

March 29, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Udpate: 2008 Version of Older Americans, Key Indicators of Well Being

The 2008 updated of this annual statistical overview of the state of the elderly in the US has been released.  Get it here:

March 29, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is this short notice or what???

IRS Sets March 29 as “Super Saturday” to Help Retirees, Veterans and Low-Income Workers Receive Economic Stimulus Payments

The 320 IRS offices located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m to provide assistance.  Click on the link for more information. 

March 28, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Upcoming conference on health care decision-making for the unbefriended

May 6-7, 2008
The Patient Alone: Making Health Care Choices for Patients Without  Surrogates
American Health Decisions
Boston, MA

There is a persistent problem of deciding what to do on behalf of patients who are incapacitated (or soon will be) and have no available surrogate. Responses to the problem include court appointed guardianship, public guardian programs, surrogate decision making committees, institutional and system-wide policies and protocols, as well as ad-hoc decision making by persons without legal authority to decide for patients.

The problem exists among “unbefriended elders;” returning and troubled veterans estranged from family and friends; emancipated minors with dependency problems; persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities; people whose physical disabilities or native language makes communication difficult and erroneously raises a presumption of incapacity; and others.

This non-profit conference seeks to explore the responses to date, and to move the discussion forward. We especially encourage participation by clinicians, administrators, attorneys and others who wish to collaborate with colleagues to ensure more effective strategies on this interdisciplinary issue.

Faculty: Dan Brock, PhD; Lori Cappello Dangberg; Tom Fisher, MS, LNHA; Robert D. Fleischner, JD; Lachlan Forrow, MD; Muriel R. Gillick, MD; Alice Herb, JD, LLM; Bruce Jennings, MA; Michele Karel, PhD; Naomi Karp, JD; Zita Lazzarini, JD, MPH; Jane E. Mendez, MD; Jennifer Moye, PhD; Robert D. Orr, MD; Charles P. Sabatino, JD; Mildred Z. Solomon, EdD; Gary Stein, MSW, JD; Pamela B. Teaster, PhD; Erica F. Wood, JD

For complete information and registration on line, see:

Contact: David B. Clarke, DMin,  JD, MPH, Massachusetts  Health Decisions, 781.784.1966

March 28, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CRS report on Medicaid provider taxes now available

Provider-specific taxes have been used by many states over the last two decades to help pay for the costs of the Medicaid program. Such taxes are required to meet a number of federal laws and regulations, some of which have been in flux recently. This report provides background information on provider-specific taxes and describes recent legislative and administrative action on the tax programs.

Get report:

March 28, 2008 in Medicaid | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ALCA hosts free Webinar on assisted living and Medicaid

Medicaid now can pay for assisted living care in more than 30 states.  But the rules vary from state to state, and both facilities and residents often have difficulty in navigating the system.

This session will explain common issues in Medicaid payment for assisted living, and discuss advocacy strategies both for indvidual disputes and for advocacy with state Medicaid agencies.

Eric Carlson, attorney from the National Senior Citizens Law Center (and ALCA President) will discuss his on-going research into Medicaid waiver payment for assisted living care, focusing on those issues of most importance to individual residents.  April Forsythe, with the Division of Community and Institutional Services of CMS, will discuss the federal government's role in administering Medicaid payment for assisted living and in monitoring the care provided by certified facilities.  A panelist to be determined will discuss his or her experiences with Medicaid payment for assisted living in a particular state.

You have two options for calling in.  If you think you might want to ask a question, you can call in at (641) 715-3399, code 666-643-442.  Don't use a cell phone, and it would be best if you have the technology to mute your phone when you're listening.

If you expect to listen only, call in as an attendee at (641) 715-3222, code 687-046-683.

The training will start at 3 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Central, 1 p.m. Mountain, and noon Pacific, on Tuesday April 8.

Title:   Affordable Assisted Living? Advocacy Issues in Medicaid Payment for Assisted Living

Date:  Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Time:  3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

March 27, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AARP, NCOA launch stimulus-payment tool

The AARP Foundation and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) lhave aunched a user-friendly online tool to simplify the economic stimulus payment application process for millions of Americans who are not otherwise required to file income tax returns. The online tool can be found at

The online tool, developed with expertise from AARP Tax Aide (an AARP Foundation tax assistance and preparation program offered in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service), is the latest effort in AARP’s campaign to help older Americans learn how to apply for stimulus payments and protect themselves from fraud.

Earlier this year, AARP helped lead efforts in Washington, DC, to expand stimulus eligibility to include approximately 20 million Americans who primarily depend on Social Security, certain railroad retirement income or veterans disability income.

The new online resource allows users to print out a completed economic stimulus form after answering a few simple questions. This tool can also be used by trusted loved ones and volunteers to help those in need without Internet access.

AARP staff and volunteers have been working with the IRS, Social Security Administration, and other organizations to inform and equip the estimated 20 million Americans who are eligible for the stimulus payments but are not otherwise required to file income tax returns. Key tips for filers include:

Applications for the stimulus payments are not subject to the April 15th tax filing deadline. The IRS is accepting stimulus payment forms until the Fall, providing time for individuals to answer any questions and safely file their stimulus applications.

Individuals should beware of stimulus payment scams. Scammers are calling and emailing individuals asking for personal information, including Social Security numbers and bank account information. The IRS never emails or calls tax payers asking for personal information – individuals should not give information to people posing as IRS representatives over the phone or through email.

Resources are available for those who have questions or need help. AARP offers a number of resources on its website including a set of Frequently Asked Questions, printable easy-to-understand instructions for filling out a stimulus application, and the new online tool. AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide volunteers are available online to answer questions throughout the year with more complicated stimulus filings.

To learn more about how to apply for your stimulus payment and help others apply, visit or

March 27, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SS, HI Trustees' reports confirm ... what?

The future cost outlook of Social Security and Medicare looked slightly better in the 2008 report from the programs' trustees released today, but the long-term financial viability of the benefit programs was just as problematic.  'The Social Security program is financially unsustainable and requires reform', said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who is one of the trustees. And, just as it did last year, 'the Medicare program poses a far greater financial challenge than Social Security'. Medicare begins to run out of money much faster than Social Security does. Its basic Hospital Insurance trust fund is projected to start having a negative cash flow this year, assets are expected to fall below annual spending by 2013 and the trust fund should be exhausted in 2019.  Those are the same dates projected in the 2007 trustees' report. The various expiration dates for Social Security are much farther in the future, but also unchanged in the 2008 report.  Social Security tax revenue will fall below outlays in 2017 and the trust fund itself will run out in 2041.  The one improvement the outlook noted by the trustees this year is that the combined cost of Social Security and Medicare, which was about 7.5 pct of the US GDP last year, is now projected to reach 16.6 pct of GDP in 2082, down from 17.6 pct in last year's forecast.

Source: Forbes,

Get Trustees' press release and full reports

See how easily SS can be fixed:  Prof. Forman's ppts

Check out the candidates' Medicare reform plans:

Clinton:  None
McCain:  None
Obama:  None

March 26, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Elder Law Prof blog tops 100,000 visits!

Actually, you could be the magic 100,000th visitor:  current visits stand at 99,993....

March 25, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Supremes deny cert. in AARP-EEOC health benefits case

The Supreme Court on Monday gave employers a green light to reduce health benefits for millions of retirees who turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. The justices turned away a legal challenge from AARP, the nation's leading senior citizens lobby, which had contended these lower benefits for older retirees violated the federal law against age discrimination.  The court's action upholds, in effect, a rule adopted last year by federal regulators that says the "coordination of retiree health benefits with Medicare" is exempt from the anti-age-bias law.  Advocates for companies and labor unions openly disagreed with AARP and applauded the outcome. They said this compromise rule will encourage employers to maintain health coverage for their retirees. Otherwise, employers might drop all benefits for their former employees, they said.  They said it will prove especially helpful to those younger retirees who were offered continued healthcare when they left full-time work.

Source:  LA Times,,1,5568623.story

March 25, 2008 in Discrimination | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tate on Caregiving and Testamentary Freedom

Caregiving and the Case for Testamentary Freedom  Tate

JOSHUA C. TATE Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law; University of Pennsylvania Law School

UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2008

Almost all U.S. states allow individuals to disinherit their descendants for any reason or no reason, but most of the world's legal systems currently do not. This Article contends that broad freedom of testation is defensible because it allows elderly people to reward family members who are caregivers. The Article explores the common-law origins of freedom of testation, which developed in the shadow of the medieval rule of primogeniture, a doctrine of no contemporary relevance. The growing problem of eldercare, however, offers a justification for the twenty-first century. Increases in life expectancy have led to a sharp rise in the number of older individuals who require long-term care, and some children and grandchildren are bearing more of the caregiving burden than others. Recent econometric studies, not yet taken into account in legal scholarship, suggest a tendency among the American elderly to bequeath more property to caregiving children. A competent testator, rather than a court or legislature, is in the best position to decide how much care each person has provided and to reward caregivers accordingly. Law reform, therefore, should focus on strengthening testamentary freedom while ensuring that caregivers are adequately compensated in cases of intestacy.

Available on SSRN Accepted Paper Series:

March 25, 2008 in Estates and Trusts | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jamie Lee Curtis graces cover of AARP magazine

Jamie Lee Curtis went shirtless to pose for AARP The Magazine.  Curtis is shown sporting gray hair and wading in water up to her chest on the cover of the magazine's May/June issue, which will be available Monday.  The star of "True Lies," "A Fish Called Wanda" and other films becomes eligible for membership in AARP, the nonprofit organization for people 50 and over, when she celebrates her birthday Nov. 22.  "I want to be older," she tells the magazine. "I actually think there's an incredible amount of self-knowledge that comes with getting older. I feel way better now than I did when I was 20. I'm stronger, I'm smarter in every way, I'm so much less crazy than I was then."  Curtis, who is married to Christopher Guest and the mother of two children, says she reached a turning point two years ago when a tabloid published a photo of her and gave her weight as 161 pounds.  "I was like, `How dare you — I'm not 161 pounds!' I was indignant. I got home and I went on a scale and I was 161 pounds. I was in denial about it," she says.

March 23, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Medical device companies spend 28 million to lobby in 2007

Medical device companies in 2007 spent more than $28 million on lobbying the federal government, compared with $26.5 million in 2006, according to a preliminary analysis of U.S. Senate records conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. In 2007, medical device companies lobbied Congress on an FDA reform bill, Medicare legislation, a bill that would require companies to disclose payments to physician consultants and legislation that would encourage health insurers to cover remote monitoring devices.

According to CRP, medical device companies have increased expenditures on lobbying annually since 2001, when they spent $12.3 million. Stephen Ubl, president of the medical device industry trade group AdvaMed, said that in recent years, more companies have established or expanded lobbying offices in Washington, D.C. He added, "The world in which we're operating is more complicated, and there are more (federal) issues we're working on. So, you need the expertise."

Source:  KFF Daily Health Policy Report,

March 21, 2008 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ABa offers free CLE podcasts on aging issues--from NALC

The ABA Commission on Law and Aging is offering Online, Complimentary CLE programs from the 2007 National Aging and Law Conference (NALC) at
Topics include:

Holding Guardians Accountable:  What Can Courts Do?  Promising Practices from a National Study
        Recorded: 10/11/07
        Running Time:  75 minutes, ZIP file size: 62 MB
        ZIP/download file location: here

Medicare Part D Exceptions and Appeals: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
        Recorded: 10/11/07
        Running Time: 60 minutes, ZIP file size: 54.4 MB
        ZIP/download file location:         here

Understanding the Legal Needs of Older GLBT Adults and How Hotlines can Effectively Address Their Needs
        Program date: 10/12/07
        Running Time: 60 minutes, ZIP file size: 53 MB
        ZIP/download file location:         here

The Durable Power of Attorney:  A Tool for Empowerment or Exploitation?
        Recorded on: 10/12/07
        Running Time: 75 minutes, ZIP file size: 58.9 MB
        ZIP/download file location:         here

Elder Mistreatment in the Community and in Long Term Care Settings: A Multi-Disciplinary Project to Study Mistreatment and Enhance the Safety Net
        Recorded on: 10/13/07
        Running Time: 75 minutes, ZIP file size: 69.4 MB
        ZIP/download file location: here

Hot Topics in Fair Housing for Older People
  Program date: 10/11/07
  Running Time: 01:16:18, ZIP file size: 73 MB
    ZIP/download file location   here

March 21, 2008 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Belgian author chooses aid in dying

Belgian writer, poet and artist Hugo Claus has died aged 78, ending his life by euthanasia, his wife has said. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and had "picked the moment of his death", Veerle De Wit added.  He died at Middelheim Hospital in Antwerp but no further details were given. Euthanasia is legal in Belgium.  Among his 200 works was The Sorrow of Belgium, a book about social injustice. The former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was among those paying tributes to Claus, and said he imagined the onset of Alzheimer's must have been "inevitable and unbearable torture".

Read more at BBC online.

March 21, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Marquette hosts symposium on long term care--March 28

Marquette University Law School invites you to:

The Kindness of Strangers: Enhancing Lives Through Long Term Care

The event will be held at the Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union on Friday March 28th.

Speakers and panelists will address challenges facing the U.S. long term care system.  Some issues include resident centered care, making long term care decisions, and the gap between knowledge and practice.

More information and registration materials can be found here:

Also, students are eligible for a reduced rate of $20, which includes breakfast and lunch. 

Any questions?  Email


March 20, 2008 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Elder mediation training at William Mitchell--June 13-14

Senior Mediation and Decision-Making:  Training for Mediators,
Elder Law Attorneys,  and Other Aging Service Professionals

A Two Day (14 hour) Elder Mediation Program
William Mitchell College of Law
St. Paul, MN

June 13-14, 2008

Hosted by the Center for Elder Justice and Policy and the Center for Negotiation and Justice at William Mitchell.

Early bird registration (by May 1): $650  Registration after May 1: $750

On-line registration and additional information is available at

   Registration fee covers training, materials, continental  breakfasts, lunches, and beverages. Please note that enrollment will be limited to 30 persons to assure the best quality experience for all participants.  We expect this program to fill up quickly.  Applications for continuing mediation education credit and CLE will be submitted.

   A limited number of hotel rooms will be available at a special conference rate of $155 plus tax at the historic St. Paul Hotel in downtown St. Paul,  Contact Hotel Registration (800) 292-9292 or 651-292-9292 and be sure to ask for theWilliam Mitchell College of Law rate.   Shuttle service will be available from the hotel to William Mitchell at the beginning and end of each day. 

This is a two day skills-based training for mediators and an introduction to elder mediation for elder law attorneys and other aging services professionals. Topics covered include how elder mediation differs from other mediations, the importance of intake, ageism and bias, the aging process and its possible impact on mediation, capacity issues, accommodating cognitive impairment or other disabilities,  use of support persons, family dynamics, recognizing elder abuse, ethical considerations including necessary participants, ensuring the older person’s voice is heard, role of advocates, mediator competence, legal and financial issues including guardianship, end-of-life issues, financial planning.

             There will be role plays and other activities, and a reference manual with articles, outlines and resources will be provided. This training program is aimed primarily at experienced mediators, but all persons interested in elder mediation may register.   

March 19, 2008 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16

National Healthcare Decisions Day is less than one month away.  April 16 is the day, be there or be square.  There will be particicipation of some sort in every single state, as well as Puerto Rico and internationally (thanks to the U.S. Army)!  If you haven't done so recently, please take a look at extraordinary list of those participating in this event:

As we gear up for April 16, please consider doing the following:

    * First and foremost: lead by example.  Encourage to each of your members/staffs to execute their own advance directives before April 16, so they will be in the best position to help others with theirs.  With this alone, we can reach millions.  This is also a great opportunity to remind your members/staff of your existing resources on advance directives.
    * Consider some of the activities ideas found at: Remember, there are FREE templates of newsletters, a community presentation, sticker and poster templates, and more.  Please also consider collaborative events with other participants (see list above).
    * Reach out to your media contacts.  Let them know what your organization/facility is doing and encourage them to run a story on National Healthcare Decisions Day.
    * Complete the brief survey if you haven't already done so:   Also, please pass along the survey to others.   
    * Keep the buzz up and help us recruit even more participants by spreading the word about this event with friends, colleagues, and organizations.  They can confirm their participation at:  Also, please don't limit this to healthcare/legal organizations; we want civic and religious organizations spreading the word about the importance of advance healthcare planning, too.

March 18, 2008 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life | Permalink | TrackBack (0)