Friday, February 28, 2014

New State Medicaid Director Letter on Expanded Medicaid

CMS has released a new State Medicaid Director Letter regarding Application of Liens, Adjustments and Recoveries, Transfer-of-Asset Rules, and Post-Eligibility Income Rules to MAGI Individuals. Released February 21, 2014, SMDL #14-001, ACA #29, the letter is divided into two parts: "Liens, Adjustments and Recoveries, and Transfers of Assets" and "Post-Eligibility Treatment of Income." The letter: 

provides guidance to states on how the long-term services and supports-related rules, including the estate recovery rules ... and federal regulations ... apply to individuals who are eligible for Medicaid under Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) eligibility rules ("MAGI individuals") and receive coverage for long-term services and supports (LTSS).

This letter is worth reading.


February 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Attorney Disbarred After Forgery of Estate Planning Documents

In the February 7 disbarment of Kansas attorney Daniel R. Beck, the disciplinary record describes a cascading series of events (including the fact that Beck continued to practice law while on administrative suspension). The heart of the case is the attorney's role in execution of "updated" estate planning documents. 

During the disciplinary proceedings, Beck was found to have directed a man to forge the signature of the man's mother, a 90-year old woman in a nursing home, on key documents. Further, the attorney forged the name of his own secretary as the notary on the documents that included a family trust, a general durable power of attorney, a living will, a last will and testament, a health care power of attorney, an assignment of personal property, and an authorization to release health care information.  

The attorney had drafted the original estate plan for the woman and her then-husband. In preparing and executing the "updated" documents, he was interacting solely with the son, although the record does not suggest the son was seeking or receiving any "benefit" from the changes.    

In attempting to avoid major sanctions, the attorney argued that some of the updates, such as a "new" power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney, were necessary "because in his experience sometimes hospitals and financial institutions would not honor those documents if the documents are from a long time ago." At the same time he argued the updated documents made no substantive changes to the existing plan. No harm, no foul as a defense? The Kansas Supreme Court rejected the argument that the attorney's actions caused no harm to the woman in the nursing home, who died a few months after her signatures were forged:

"Respondent [Beck] admits L.H. was vulnerable but asserts that we must construe the word 'victim' to require a showing that the attorney's conduct 'actually exposed] [a] vulnerable client to real and significant harm,' and argues such as showing was not made in this case.


We  need not decide whether the term 'vulnerable victim' requires that an attorney expose a client to actual harm because we conclude the record contains adequate evidence of injury, including $2,800 L.H.'s trust paid to respondent for legal work L.H. never authorized, approved, or used....


Moreover, since respondent never spoke to L.H., he can only speculate as to whether the documents he drafted could comport with L.H.'s current wishes.  Put simply, an attorney injures, or at least potentially injures, a client when he or she takes legal action on the client's behalf without ever speaking with the client or ensuring that the proposed action is in accord with the client's wishes."

Hat tip to ElderLawGuy Jeff Marshall for this interesting opinion.           

February 28, 2014 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Crimes, Estates and Trusts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Article on Medical Homes

The February 26, 2014 volume of JAMA contains an article on medical homes.  Written by Dr. Mark W. Friedberg, Dr. Eric C. Schneider, Dr. Meredith B. Rosenthal, Dr. Kevin G. Volpp, and Dr. Rachel M. Werner, the article, Association Between Participation in a Multipayer Medical Home Intervention and Changes in Quality, Utilization, and Costs of Care, focused on a pilot project in Pennsylvania.  The abstract notes that the goal of the study was "[t]o measure associations between participation in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chronic Care Initiative, one of the earliest and largest multipayer medical home pilots conducted in the United States, and changes in the quality, utilization, and costs of care."  The abstract offers this conclusion: "[a] multipayer medical home pilot, in which participating practices adopted new structural capabilities and received NCQA certification, was associated with limited improvements in quality and was not associated with reductions in utilization of hospital, emergency department, or ambulatory care services or total costs over 3 years. These findings suggest that medical home interventions may need further refinement."  A subscription is required to access the full article.  The website also has an interview with the author.

February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Casinos and Elders-A New Report

Amy Ziettlow, of the Institute for American Values (IAV), has written a recently released report, Seniors in Casino Land: Tough Luck for Older Americans.

According to the report,

IAV and its partners are conducting a series of investigations called “Casino Land: America in an Age of Inequality.” The goal is to understand the meaning and role of casinos in American life—how they work and what they do, the values they embody and transmit, their impact on civil society, their connection to government, and their relationship to the rise of American inequality. This report is a part of that series.

Ms. Ziettlow visited several casinos and "simply sat down next to strangers, asked questions, and listened." The final section of the report is titled "Why Seniors Matter" and offers an analysis of her experiences as well as a discussion of the contrasts between senior centers and casinos. As a huge fan of senior centers myself, I appreciated this recommendation from her:

Now is the time to expand upon these efforts to create environments that foster fellowship, service, physical activity, healthy eating, and quality connections between seniors and the surrounding local community. The vulnerable aging in society deserve meaningful opportunities for recreation and relaxation that reconnects them to their deepest sense of self; activities that allow them to be honest about disability and loss without being defined and crushed by that awareness, that foster growth in their physical, emotional, and spiritual capabilities. (pg. 42, citations omitted).

 A list of Ms. Ziettlow's other publications can be accessed here.  Thanks to Naomi Cahn of GW Law for sending this to me.

February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Great program to help create indexes

A few weeks ago, I needed to compile a list of words and phrases that would enable my publisher to create an index to a forthcoming book.  I found a very cool software program called  Hermetic Word Frequency Counter that really made the job easy.  The program reviews the entire document (in this case, a 400 page book) and lists every word in the document (other than a pre-set list of 100-odd words like "and" "or" "the" etc.) and the number of times that word appears.  The information is presented in descending order.  The program runs quickly, and it made a task that could have taken hours incredibly simple.

Hermetic Word Frequency Counter isn't free, but I think it was worth the $39.99 that I paid for a perpetual license.  Check it out here.

February 27, 2014 in Web/Tech | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dual Eligibles Webinar

Mark your calendars for the March 4, 2014 webinar Dual Eligible Demonstrations:  An Update for AdvocatesThe webinar is hosted by the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) and is free. The one hour webinar starts at 2:00 p.m. est and will cover:

  • Implementation timelines
  • Questions and Answers in the three-way contracts
  • State three-way contract comparison
  • Early implementation lessons
  • Recent MMCO guidance

Click here to register for the webinar.

February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hilarity for Charity: Actor Seth Rogen Testifies on a Serious Subject

Hat tip to Penn State Law Student Kevin Schock for sending this news!

Actor Seth Rogen, organizer of Hilarity for Charity, uses humor to call attention to the need for better funding to fight Alzheimer's, and on Wednesday brought his humor to the U.S. Senate.  Here he is in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, describing the struggle of his own wife's family with early onset dementia. 


February 27, 2014 in Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Closer Look at Assisted Suicide Charges in Commonwealth v. Mancini

As earlier reported on this Blog, the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania, dismissed the high profile criminal charges against Barbara Mancini, the nurse charged with "causing or aiding" the suicide of her aged father, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. Section 2505(b).  The ruling reviewed testimony presented during a preliminary hearing before a magistrate, as required by the defendant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.  Much has been said by proponents and opponents of assisted suicide in connection with this ruling, but here is the actual opinion, all 47 pages.

The opinion demonstrates a high level of emotion for everyone involved in the case, including the judge.  There was a gag order in place during the last several months, so key details about the evidence or the arguments made by counsel are only now available.  So, please forgive me if I now use the blogger's prerogative to do more than just report the facts. Three starting points:

  • What strikes me as important about this ruling is that it should not be misconstrued as a "win" for those who claim there is a constitutional or other legal right to provide or receive assistance in death. At least not in Pennsylvania under its current law. 
  • Further, a careful reading of the opinion demonstrates the potential for more confusion (and additional cases) for those who interpret -- misinterpret -- Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directives, Living Wills, or Do Not Resuscitate Orders as granting them legal authority to provide assistance in suicide. Again, that is not the current law in Pennsylvania, or in most other states.   
  • Finally, a careful reading of the opinion makes it clear -- at least to me -- that the hospice aides who called 9-1-1 in response to the facts in front of them, were acting within the law. They were responding to what the opinion documents fairly well as "admissions" of the criminal act of assisted suicide, facts that took the matter beyond the patient's right to accept or reject life-saving efforts. 

In terms of "proof" of a criminal act, the opinion demonstrates the importance of careful preparation of a criminal case when called upon to demonstrate the prima facie elements of the crime charged, as occurs during a preliminary hearing. That is the job of the prosecution team, not the hospice workers. The prosecution, in this instance the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, either failed or was unable to present independent proof of the facts alleged, and instead were focusing almost solely on the "admissions."  

In Pennsylvania, as the opinion discusses, the prosecution needed to present evidence of the person's intention to kill himself, action taken to effectuate the suicide, the third-party's intentional aid or assistance in that attempt, and evidence that the third party's action actually "caused" the attempted suicide.  Under Pennsylvania's corpus deliciti rule, the prosecution had to establish these elements without "just" relying on the defendant's own alleged admissios or confession. In particular, the opinion shows the importance of expert testimony to establish cause of death, needed in this case to explain "morphine toxicity." 

What the entire case also suggests -- not just the opinion -- is the need for Pennsylvania, and most states, to give fresh consideration to the topic of assisted suicide.  The record makes it pretty darn clear that Joe Yourshaw had lived a long life, fought the good fight, was ready to die, was tired of living in pain, and he was competent when talking about his wishes to die.  We cannot just stick our heads in the sand and say "this case isn't likely to happen again."

The tragedy associated with the last days of Joe Yourshaw and the confusion surrounding the circumstances under which Barbara Mancini, his daughter, was charged, are events that can and should permit Pennsylvania, like Oregon and Washington before it, to consider whether competent individuals with terminal illnesses should be permitted to work directly with health care professionals to make carefully considered decisions about whether to choose professional assistance with their death. Sons, daughters and spouses, whether or not "nurses," should not be put in this position, and other states have shown us there are options.

Some people will argue that the real tragedy would be to leave loving family members with no option but to violate the law (and either face the potential for criminal prosecution or "hide" the evidence) or turn a blind eye and deaf ear to a loved one's carefully considered pleas.  As you may be able to tell, while I think the hospice workers in this case were right to report the evidence they saw and heard that pointed to violation of Pennsylvania's current law, I'm one of those people ready to reconsider that law. 

February 27, 2014 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Crimes, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Book on Elder Law

Congrats to our co-blogger, colleague and dear friend, Kim Dayton and her co-author Molly Wood, on the publication of their 4th edition of Elder Law: Readings, Cases, and Materials by Carolina Academic Press.  This edition is totally digital and has links to statutes, cases and materials on the web.  Another nice feature is the 50-state statute tables that are included in a number of chapters.  The book is available for purchase on iTunes or Amazon. You can request a review copy by sending an email to with the name of your course, the semester it will be offered and the estimated enrollment.

You ROCK Kim Dayton!!!

February 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Follow up--CRS Reports on Medicaid, Medicare, and Related Issues

Following up on Becky's post of Feb. 25 regarding some recent CRS Reports--I'm using a number of CRS reports in a class I am designing for Valparaiso's new health management and policy master's program.  These include:

Medicare, A Primer  Download Medicare Primer CRS

Medigap: A Primer Download Medigap CRS

Medicaid, An Overview (referenced by Becky) Download CRS Medicaid an Overview

Medicaid Coverage of Long Term Services and Supports Download Medicaid LTC CRS

Health Care Fraud and Abuse Laws AffectingMedicare and Medicaid: An Overview Download Fraud and Abuse CRS

Medicare Secondary Payer:Coordination of Benefits Download Fraud and Abuse CRS

Overview of Private Health Insurance Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Download Private Health Insurance ACA CRS

CRS reports aren't generally made available to the public, but I have had great luck over the years in obtaining them simply by contactiing one of the authors and requesting a copy.

February 26, 2014 in Legal Practice/Practice Management, Medicaid, Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AARP launches state legislative campaign for caregivers


AARP recently launched a new multi-state caregiving advocacy campaign, with nearly every AARP State Office involved.  Working with governors, state legislators, other policymakers and community partners, we’re determined to advance policy options that will help family caregivers.  Two significant components of the campaign are:

The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act.

10 AARP State Offices are working to pass CARE Act  through state legislation and/or regulation this year, with Oklahoma and Hawaii leading the way.

  • In Oklahoma SB 1536 – the Oklahoma version of the CARE Act – just passed the Senate and will be heard in the House soon.    Meanwhile, Governor Mary Fallin declared this month as “February Caregiver Month” to   honor the state’s 600,000 family caregivers.
  • AARP Hawaii, is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass Senate Bill 2264, the Hawaii equivalent of the CARE Act.  AARP members in Hawaii are now contacting members of the committee asking them to support the 169,000 family caregivers in the state by passing Senate Bill 2264.

By passing the CARE Act these states will ensure that:

  • The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital or rehabilitation facility.
  • The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home.
  • The facility must provide an explanation and live instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care, and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

For more on AARP’s advocacy: AARP Announces 2014 Advocacy Agenda: Across the States.

February 26, 2014 in Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More on Identity Theft

A new report from Javelin Strategy & Research , 2014 Identity Fraud Report:  Card Data Breaches and Inadequate Consumer Password Habits Fuel Disturbing Fraud Trends is available for purchase from Javelin, or a sample report can be downloaded here. According to information about the report,

In 2013, 13.1 million consumers suffered identity fraud – the second highest level on record. Existing card fraud (ECF) became increasingly popular with criminals, contributing to the near-record number of identity fraud victims.  Javelin’s “2014 Identity Fraud Report” provides a comprehensive analysis of fraud trends in the context of a changing technological and regulatory environment in order to inform consumers, financial institutions and businesses on the most effective means of fraud prevention, detection and resolution.


February 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Residents File Class Action Against For-Profit CCRC in California

Last week I blogged about tax questions facing some nonprofit senior living operations, especially nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs).  This week, we pass on news of a federal court suit filed by residents of a for-profit CCRC, challenging the company's accounting and allocation of fees, especially entrance fees, paid by the residents.

Residents of Vi of Palo Alto (formerly operating in Palo Alto as "Classic Residences by Hyatt") in California are challenging what could be described as "upstream" diversion of corporate assets to the parent company, CC-Palo Alto Inc.  They contend the diversion includes money which should have been protected to fund local operations or to secure promised "refunds" of entrance fees.  Further, the residents allege the diversion of money has triggered a higher tax burden on the local operation, a burden they allege has improperly increased the monthly maintenance fees also charged to residents.  According to the February 10, 2014 complaint, Vi of Palo Alto is running a multi-million dollar deficit and the residents point to the existence of actuarial opinions that support their allegations. The complaint alleges breach of contract, common law theories of concealment, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty, and statutory theories of misconduct, including alleged violation of California's Elder Abuse laws.   

Representatives of the company deny the allegations, as reported in detail in Senior Housing News on February 23.  A previous resident class action filed in state court against a Classic Residence of Hyatt CCRC, now called Vi of La Jolla, also in California, settled in 2008

February 26, 2014 in Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Cases, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Science of Being a Scam Victim?

Did you ever think about why elders are targeted for scams? An article by Dr. Bruce H Price and Dr. Ekaterina Pivovarova, with Dr. Judith Edersheim, brings science to the understanding of scam victims.  The article, Protecting Our Parents: Can Science Help? examines How Science and Law Can Unite to Reduce Crimes Against This Vulnerable Population.   Calling for collaboration, after recapping some of the high profile scams and financial exploitation cases, the authors suggest that  "[a]s crime rates -- and vulnerable populations -- increase, the scientific and legal communities must pool our ever-increasing knowledge and resources to protect elderly family members."

The article lists the most common range of scams as well as the more likely victims and perpetrators and provides that the perpetrators aren't focusing on "elderly because they are more vulnerable to sympathetic stories ... [but instead] prey upon them because many have difficulty sorting through information, making complex decisions, and resisting pressure -- difficulties that increase exponentially as the elderly begin to exhibit symptoms of dementia."

The authors offer that science can help with prevention, reporting that researchers are creating "assessment tools to identify deficits in financial decision-making and vulnerability to undue influence long before they become apparent to family members, caregivers, and financial or legal advisors."  As well health care providers can identify neurological deficits years before any diagnosis of a cognitive impairment.  The authors recommend the widespread access and use of these tools.

The authors call for more reporting and prosecution. In addition, the authors recommend that state mandatory reporting statutes include certain professions such as health care providers and first responders.  The authors close with this statement: "[i]f criminals can use new technology to target and scam our elders, surely we can use the new and emerging science research to protect them."

The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain & Behavior has more information about this with a link to a Boston Globe story on this.  The Center also has video from the Center's program with the Boston Society of Neurology and Psychiatry on Capacity, Finances, & the Elderly: Brain Science Meets the Law.

February 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Two New Reports from the Congressional Research Service

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued two new reports that would be helfpul in our classes.  The first, Introduction to Public Housing by Maggie McCarty was released on January 3, 2014. According to the introduction to the report:

This report is meant to serve as an introduction to the federal public housing program. It provides information on the history of the program, how it is administered and funded, and the characteristics of public housing properties and the households they serve. While it introduces current policy issues, a full analysis of those issues and discussion of current legislation is not included in this report.

The second, Medicaid: An Overview, was released January 10, 2014 and written by Alison Mitchell, Evelyne P. Baumrucker and Elicia J. Herz.  This report:

describes the basic elements of Medicaid, focusing on who is eligible, what services are covered, how enrollees share in the cost of care, how the program is financed, and how providers are paid. The report also explains waivers, program integrity activities, and the dual-eligible population. In addition, the report describes the following selected issues: the ACA Medicaid expansion, the impact of the ACA health insurance annual fee on Medicaid, and the ACA maintenance of effort (MOE) with respect to Medicaid eligibility.


February 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Very Well-Intentioned, but Dangerous, Promise?

One of my frequent travel routes is to drive between Carlisle and Baltimore, in order to take direct flights from BWI to Phoenix, where my parents live. Usually these drives are in the middle of the night, as I try to avoid traffic by scheduling very early or late flights. One positive aspect of this travel is the time to discover interesting radio programs; there is something about listening to radio in the dark that allows one to hear more clearly.  Last week, I lingered in the car after reaching the long-term airport parking, to listen to the end of an especially effective interview.

On Point with Tom Ashbrook, was hosting Kimberly Williams-Paisley who spoke movingly about her family as they coped with her mother's early onset of a form of dementia, diagnosed at age 61.  For those of you who enjoy either movies or music, you might recognize Kimberly as an actress from Father of the Bride (she was the daughter driving Steve Martin to wit's end) and Nashville, or as the wife of country music star Brad Paisley.  Also featured on the program was a clinical social worker, Darby Morhardt, who is an associate professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

The program was very thoughtful and emotional, but for me the most compelling words came from Kimberly's father, Gurney Williams. 

This is a man deeply in love with his wife and also deeply affected by her condition.  At first he tried to hide her diagnosis, but over time, this became more and more difficult.  Mr. Williams describes how he finally came to terms with the need for help -- and the need for more than family help -- when his children staged a bit of an intervention.  They asked him to recognize that his wife's condition, which in her case included confusion, mood swings, anger and -- at times -- violence, was more than they could cope with in the home.  They were worried about their mother, but even more devastated by "losing" their father as he struggled to care for her.  With the family's help, he finally made the difficult decision to place his wife in a formal care setting. 

And it was during his description of the journey, that I heard the words I've also heard many times from friends, family, students and clients.  "I promised my loved one I would never put her in one of those places." I have come to recognize this promise as completely well-intentioned, but also potentially dangerous for all involved.

Listening to Mr. Williams and Kimberly, you could tell formal care was the right decision and they were able to find the right kind of care facility for their loved one.  And it was a decision that allowed all of them to find a new way to express their love and devotion to her, while also providing her with a supportive, safe environment. Kimberly talks about how she stopped talking about her mother in the past tense, rediscovered her and how they created a new, valuable relationship.  Their story has a happy evolution, which, of course, is different than a happy ending.

One of the reasons I was so affected by listening to Mr. William's words, was that I was on my way to the airport to visit my father -- to see him for the first time --  after his transfer to a dementia-care community.  All of my fears and hopes were bound up in my listening.  On arriving in the airport I went directly to a shop and bought a copy of the March issue of Redbook Magazine, which carried the story by Kimberly Williams-Paisley that led to the invitation for her and her father to be guests on the On Point program. I read and re-read "How I Faced My Mother's Dementia" on the plane -- and shared her words with my mother when I arrived. 

I suspect I might write more about my own evolution with my father. Right now it is easier for me to recommend the article, and to say the podcast of the On Point show is even better than the article.  

February 25, 2014 in Cognitive Impairment, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cameras in Nursing Homes?

We have posted previously on the use of technology for monitoring care, so I was interested in reading the NYC Elder Abuse Center recent blog post referencing an article by NYCEAC Medical Director Dr. Mark Lachs.  Dr. Lachs, the Director of Geriatrics for NY Presbyterian Health System, wrote for the HUFFPOST Healthy Living Blog on The Utility and Ethics of 'Granny Cams'.  Dr. Lachs referenced his  earlier interview in the NY Times.    In the HUFFPOST blog post, Dr. Lachs discusses the pros and cons of the use of cameras in long term care facilities. including the protection of residents and the loss of resident privacy.  As Dr. Lachs notes in his post, "[i]n the digital age, ensuring privacy has practically become a Sisyphean task; we don't know where these videos will wind up."  He also discusses the rights of employees and how the general public may view the video evidence without any context. He references Dr. Mosqueda's view regarding the importance of informed consent:

 If this is going to happen, it should be done with everyone's consent and knowledge -- employee, family member, and patient -- whenever possible.  I think this notion is spot on.  Video cameras have become a part of our daily lives, and this is going to happen whether we approve or not.  As more states look to implement laws related to cameras in nursing homes, it seems prudent to develop standards around how and when these devices should be employed.

The NYCEAC post offers some links to other stories about the use of "granny cams" use in long term care facilities.

February 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Al Jazeera America presents four- part series on Aging in America

This week, Al Jazeera America’s AMERICA TONIGHT presents an in-depth series of segments that explore the many facets of aging in America. Details on the series as follows:

  • The Silent Army airs Monday, February 24 – There are an estimated 29 million unpaid and culturally invisible family caregivers – 9 percent of the US population – who help take care of someone over 74. We profile three women who have given over their lives in different ways to care for their parents. One woman took her father in and has to pay for daycare and a caregiver so she can continue to work; another suffered through forcibly putting her angry father into a home; a third went on what she thought would be a two week visit to help her parents and ended up staying to care for them, giving up life with her husband and son. They are members of the silent army. Michael Okwu reports.
  • Street Angels airs Tuesday, February 25 – Many families with aging parents rely on caretakers, aides that one daughter called “street angels” because they provide compassionate care and allow families to keep their loved ones out of an institution. But who takes care of the caretakers? Despite poor pay and often harsh lives of their own, they draw on wells of compassion and emotional skill to care for parents their own children may not have time for. They are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime or other protections because their services are often interpreted as mere companionship. We profile one such street angel, who barely makes it on her salary as she cares for an elderly man in Brooklyn.
  • Seniors Helping Seniors airs Wednesday, February 26 – With a burgeoning senior population in the United States - more seniors need care - and there's not enough help. There is one demographic with extra time on their hands though - retired seniors. We profile New Hampshire resident Larry Davis who supplies the elderly in his town with firewood, helps them winterize their homes and shovels snow. He’s part of a growing community of seniors helping seniors. His help means an elderly woman can stay in her home a little longer. Davis is paying it forward; he can still haul firewood and shovel snow, but it won’t last forever and he hopes that when he needs it, someone will be around to do the same thing for him. Christof Putzel reports.
  • Techno-Care airs Thursday, February 27 – Will high tech homes help grandma avoid the nursing home? Meet the early adopters in elder care technology who are testing the limits of how robots and "aware homes" can prolong the time that older adults stay in their own homes. We profile a man who bought his mother a telepresence robot. Using the robot, he and his 3 siblings can roam around her apartment and check in on Edith's well-being. We also look at sensor technology -- mounted on beds, bathrooms, hallways, medicine cabinets, stoves, doorways -- that allows adult children to wire up their parent's home for 24-hr a day monitoring. For some families, it provides a valuable safety net, but at the expense of privacy.  Adam May reports. 

Join the conversation at @AmericaTonight.

February 24, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Elder Drivers Getting Safer?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a 2014 study on elder driver accident rates. The February 20, 2014 status report, Fit for the road: Older drivers' crash rates continue to drop notes good news for elder drivers:

Today's older drivers are noCart only less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, they are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash... That's likely because vehicles are safer and seniors are generally healthier. It's a marked shift that began to take hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that the growing ranks of aging drivers aren't making U.S. roads deadlier.

The article notes the "crash outlook" has improved for younger drivers as well.

The article looks at the demographics of drivers, changes in travel patterns, improved vehicle safety and recent trends.

Photo by Colin Dayton Stacy.

February 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Growth in Senior Living Projects: A Leading Indicator of Improving Economy?

Levin Associates is hosting one of their periodic Senior Living webinars, with the intriguing title, "Senior Living: New Construction Heats Up."  The explanation for the program:

"New construction is picking up in some markets after the near standstill caused by the recession, although developers seem more favorable to building needs-driven models of seniors housing—assisted living and memory care facilities—rather than independent living communities. Yet, there's also an interest in niche development—university partnerships, for example."

On a seemingly related note, Erickison Living announced earlier this month the start of  construction of "Lantern Hill," a new CCRC community in Union County, New Jersey.  The plan is to open in the second half of 2015, which would appear to be one of Erickson's  first new starts since it emerged from bankruptcy court in 2010 with new owners. 

The Levin Associates webinar is set for March 13 at 1 p.m. ET, with developers and architects, brokers and financers scheduled to speak, including individuals from Greystone, Perkins Eastman, and CBRE, Inc.  

February 24, 2014 in Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)