Thursday, November 30, 2017
Recently I wrote about a high profile suit filed by AARP attorneys on behalf of residents at a California skilled care (nursing home) facility to challenge evictions.
I've also been hearing about more attempts to evict residents from Continuing Care Communities, also known as CCRCs or Life Plan Communities. For example, in late 2016 a lawsuit was filed in San Diego County, California alleging a senior's improper eviction from a high-end CCRC. The woman reportedly paid a $249k entrance fee, plus additional monthly fees for 15 years. When she reached the age of 93, however, the CCRC allegedly evicted her for reasons unconnected to payment. The resident's diagnosis of dementia was an issue. Following negotiations, according to counsel for the resident, Kelly Knapp, the case reportedly settled recently on confidential terms.
Is there a trend? Are more CCRC evictions happening, and are they more often connected to a resident's diagnosis of dementia and/or the facility's response to an increased need for behavioral supervision? If the answer is "yes," then there is a tension here, between client expectations and marketing by providers. Such tension is unlikely to be good news for either side.
CCRCs are often viewed by residents as offering a guarantee of life-time care. Even if any promises are conditional, families would not usually expect that care-needs associated with aging would be a ground for eviction.
The resident and family expectations can be influenced by pricing structures that involve substantial up-front fees (often either nonrefundable or only partially refundable), plus monthly fees that may be higher than cost-of-living alone might explain. Marketing materials -- indeed the whole ambiance of CCRCs -- typically emphasize a "one stop shopping" approach to an ultimate form of senior living.
In one instance I reviewed recently, the materials used for incoming residents explained the pricing with a point system. The prospective resident was told that in addition to the $100+k entrance fee, an additional daily fee could increase as both "medical and non-medical" needs increased. A resident who "requires continual and full assistance of others . . . is automatically Level C" and billed at a higher rate. The graded components included factors such a need for assistance with "cognition, mood, or behavior," or "wandering." All of that indicates dementia care is part of the "continuing" plan.
CCRCs, on the other hand, may turn to their contract language as grounds for an eviction. Contracts may have language that attempts to give the facility sole authority to make decisions about a resident's "level" of care. Sometimes that authority is tied to decisions about "transfers" from independent living to assisted living or to skilled care units within the same CCRC, as the facility sees care needs increasing. Even same-community transfer decisions can sometimes be hard for families. Complete evictions can be even harder to accept, especially if it means a married couple will be separated by blocks or even miles, rather than hallways in the same complex.
November 30, 2017 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Medicaid, Medicare, Property Management, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)
The National Institute on Aging has information for caregivers about various housing options for an elder when the elder can no longer live at home alone. When It's Time to Leave Home offers information for caregivers, not only about housing options, but about things to consider and questions to ask. For example,
Older adults, or those with serious illness, can choose to:
- Stay in their own home or move to a smaller one
- Move to an assisted-living facility
- Move to a long-term care facility
- Move in with a family member
Some families find a conference call is a good way to talk together about the pros and cons of each option. The goal of this call is to come up with a plan that works for everyone, especially your parent. If the decision involves a move for your mom or dad, you could, even from a distance, offer to arrange tours of some places for their consideration.
Before deciding on moving the parent into the caregiver-child's home, the website offers these questions for consideration and discussion:
Is there space in your home?
Is someone around to help the older person during the whole day?
What are your parents able to do for themselves?
What personal care are you willing and able to provide—moving your parent from a chair to a bed or toilet, changing adult diapers, or using a feeding tube, for example?
What kinds of home care services are available in your community?
What kind of specialized medical care is available nearby?
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Regular readers of this blog know that I will periodically post about identity theft, hacking, etc. even though not specifically elder law issues. With the end of the year looming, I thought it timely to write about a new report from the GAO, Identity Theft: Improved Collaboration Could Increase Success of IRS Initiatives to Prevent Refund Fraud.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched an Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) pilot for the 2017 filing season. It aims to allow IRS, states, and tax preparation industry partners to quickly share information on identity theft (IDT) refund fraud. The ISAC pilot includes two components: an online platform run by IRS to communicate data on suspected fraud, and an ISAC Partnership, a collaborative organization comprised of IRS, states, and industry, which is intended to be the governance structure. As of November 2017, the ISAC had 48 members: 31 states (including full members and those receiving alerts only), 14 tax preparation companies, and 3 financial institutions. In addition, IRS is using a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in partnership with states and industry members to coordinate responses to IDT refund fraud incidents that pose a significant threat within 24 to 72 hours of being discovered. IRS deployed the RRT for six incidents in 2016 and once in 2017.GAO found that the ISAC pilot aligns with key aspects of all five leading practices for effective pilot design GAO previously identified, but none fully. For example, IRS has worked to incorporate stakeholder input, but its message about the ISAC's benefits has not fully reached states. Further, IRS does not have criteria for assessing whether the pilot's objectives have been met. Without this assessment and better alignment with leading practices, IRS, its partners, and Congress will have difficulty determining the effectiveness of the pilot and whether to implement it more broadly.
Given the number of folks whose personal identifying information was stolen in the Equifax hack, let's hope that the IRS efforts are effective. Stay tuned.
Monday, November 27, 2017
A Frameworks Institute initiative, Reframing Aging, now includes a free video on reframing aging and ageism. The video can be ordered here. (Although free, you still need to enter your contact information and then receive an email with login info to start the course. The course info explains that the "lecture series, [provides] a guided tour of how to use new, evidence-based framing strategies to communicate more powerfully about aging as a social policy issue." The sponsors of the lecture series are Grantmakers in Aging and the Leaders of Aging Organizations. Topics include “What's in a Name?,” “The Swamp of Cultural Models,” “Rethinking Narrative,” “Stories to Stop Telling,” “Embracing the Dynamic” and “Confronting Injustice.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) released a new report, Report On Vulnerable Investors: Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation, Undue Influence And Diminished Mental Capacity, which can be downloaded as a pdf here. The report was a joint project between CCEL and FAIR (Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights). Here is the executive summary of the report
Canadian investment firms and their financial services representatives1 (hereinafter referred to as "financial services representatives" or simply "representatives") serve millions of vulnerable investors, many of whom are older Canadians. Vulnerable investors may be persons living in isolated, abusive or neglectful situations which can make them more likely to be subject to undue influence. They also may be persons with diminished mental capacity due to health issues, developmental disability, brain injury or other cognitive impairment. Such social vulnerabilities may be episodic, or long-term.2
Who is a Vulnerable Investor?
Older investors, persons with fluctuating or diminished mental capacity, and adults who are subject to undue influence or financial exploitation are collectively referred to in this report as vulnerable investors. This concept of vulnerability is often a contentious one. This report uses the term "vulnerable" to refer to social vulnerability, and does not ascribe vulnerability to older persons as an inherent personal characteristic.3 Rather, the term reflects an understanding that differing social conditions may make a person more or less vulnerable. Individual older investors may personally not be socially vulnerable. But as a group, older individuals may be subject to external conditions—such as ageism—that negatively affect them. This report specifically notes that ageism can make older people broadly vulnerable as a class, even while individual older adults may not be, or identify, as particularly vulnerable themselves.
This report adopts the core aspects of the Quebec definition of vulnerable investor. A vulnerable investor is a person who is in a vulnerable situation, who is of the age of majority, and lacks an ability to request or obtain assistance, either temporarily or permanently, due to one or more factors such as a physical, cognitive or psychological limitation, illness, injury or handicap.
It is important, and a goal of this report, to highlight the increased social vulnerability risks associated with aging and to raise awareness that aging life-course benchmarks may trigger a representative to start ensuring that increased appropriate protections or standards are in place. In this way, the issue of older investors will be drawn to the fore, without supporting the myth that all old people are vulnerable and in need of protection.
Actions by Attorneys and Their Investigators Trigger Sanctions Affecting the Underlying False Claims Act Suit
A decision earlier this year in a qui tam suit, alleging the submission of false claims to Medicare for the off-label prescription of a drug for dementia, seems especially interesting in light of recent high profile allegations involving Harvey Weinstein's alleged use of private investigators to befriend his victims in order gather information.
In the qui tam suit the drug in question was Namenda, described in the opinion as "approved by the FDA for treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease," but allegedly also promoted illegally by the companies for prescription to individuals with milder stages of dementia. In Leysock v. Forest Laboratories, et al, the United States District Court in Massachusetts dismissed the complaint as a sanction for conduct by the plaintiff's attorneys and the investigator hired by those attorneys:
The present dispute arises out of the conduct of counsel for relator, the Milberg law firm, in investigating the case. As set forth below, Milberg attorneys engaged in an elaborate scheme of deceptive conduct in order to obtain information from physicians about their prescribing practices, and in some instances about their patients. In essence, Milberg retained a physician and medical researcher, Dr. Mark Godec, to conduct a survey of physicians concerning their prescription of Namenda to Medicare patients. In order to obtain the cooperation of the physicians, Dr. Godec falsely represented that he was conducting a medical research study. Dr. Godec, at Milberg's direction, conducted two internet-based surveys as well as follow-up telephone interviews. Among other things, the physicians were induced to provide patient medical charts and other confidential medical information to Dr. Godec. Information derived from those surveys was then set out in the Second Amended Complaint in this action, and was relied on by the Court in denying defendant's motion to dismiss in 2014.
Defendants have now moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint as a sanction for alleged violations of attorney ethical rules. For the reasons stated below, that motion will be granted.
November 26, 2017 in Cognitive Impairment, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicare | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
One of the many things that I am thankful for is the assistance of kind and patient individuals who have helped my mother and father for more than five years, as age-related issues make my parents' lives more challenging. On the top of my list is my sister -- who is a constant, loving presence -- and who makes it all possible. She tolerates my jet-fueled attempts to help on my drop-in visits to Arizona from Pennsylvania.
Our father was at home with progressing dementia for more than two years before it became necessary to find a dementia-care living center that could provide a safer setting. For most of that time, we had 24/7 assistance in the home -- and we still have help now for our mother at home.
But, it just become too hard for Dad at home, especially as the multilevel, 90-year old house was full of traps for his unsteady steps. Mom participated in the search for a better setting. When the time came, she made the ultimate decision about where and when. While the transition was anything but easy, with every passing day we knew more clearly it was the right decision.
On good days, Dad would declare to anyone who was passing, "this is a very good place." He was usually sitting on his favorite bench in the center courtyard, holding "court" with everyone who walked by on the five acre campus. (On a bad day, he might ask rather insistently for a cigarette, something he hadn't done in 50 years!).
My sister and I came to revel in the holiday parties organized by the caring staff. We knew the parties would be festive, with great food and often with music and dancing, and that extended families would join together. One holiday, another visiting son who looked about my age, asked my name and it turned out we had attended high school together, not far down the road. A modern way to hold a "high school reunion," right?
Dad's center was entirely devoted to residents with dementia, with or without additional physical disabilities. Once a resident was admitted, and as long as they did not need certain types of skilled medical care (such as IVs), the Center could be their home until the last days. I'm still in touch with members of the staff who helped my Dad, and I think of all of them with fondness and gratefulness.
Each year we celebrated a traditional Thanksgiving meal at Dad's center (usually a few days before the actual holiday) as a big group. On Dad's last Thanksgiving, in 2016, families gathered on the covered porches of each of the four cottages in the community. It was a typically warm -- but also an atypically rainy -- November day in Phoenix.
A key to the success at Dad's center is a setting that facilitates behavioral approaches to dementia care, rather than drugs or restraints. The 48 residents -- 12 per cottage -- have free run of the secure campus, and in Dad's case he used every inch. His walking grew stronger in the early days after his admission (even with his "bad" knee), while the agitation and anger he had while at home eased significantly. For the first time in more than a decade, his blood pressure stabilized and we soon realized even his hearing and vision improved.
Dad was at the center just a week shy of three years, passing at age 91. Of course, after the initial improvement in strength with his regular walking, his fragility over the years increased slowly, but he was still out and about until his last two weeks. Two of his former judicial law clerks visited Dad close to Thanksgiving last year. Such kindness from everyone.
I commented near the end of Dad's time at the center, while chatting with the Director, that perhaps some of the residents might enjoy having more "reasons" to walk. I suggested the possibility of a mail box, where residents could collect or deliver cards and letters, both real and "created" especially for the holiday.
This is a community that welcomes suggestions -- and doesn't ignore them -- and thus I was pleased but not really surprised to get an email this week from the Director. Dad passed away some 10 months ago, but the staff nonetheless took action -- installing an old-fashioned mailbox outside each cottage, with decorations to help residents identify their home spot. I hear deliveries are made regularly -- even on holidays! I like to think how much Dad would have enjoyed being part of the postal delivery.
My thanks to everyone who is part of a care-giving team. You mean so much to all of us. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Dr. Muriel Gillick, a Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Program in Aging at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute had a new book. Old & Sick in American: The Journey Through the Health Care System sounds like it hits the nail on the head, demonstrating topics that a wise consumer will need to recognize in order to navigate biases and weaknesses in the system.
For a timely Q & A interview with the author, see How Older Patients Can Dodge Pitfalls Entrenched in Health Care System, published by California Healthline.
Monday, November 20, 2017
The Wall Street Journal published an article by Maddy Dychtwald, The Surprising Benefits and Costs of Family Caregiving. A significant number of folks are already serving as caregivers (40 million per the article) and "[a]s the massive baby-boomer generation hits their 70s, the demand for family caregiving will skyrocket—and it’s poised to become America’s biggest off-the-books industry." The author explains about a survey her company did with Merrill Lynch, "The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity." The author notes one unexpected positive found in the study is the caregivers finding the act of caregiving benefitting them, perhaps as much as those receiving the care.
The majority of respondents (65%) also said that caregiving has brought meaning and purpose to their life. Most (77%) went so far as to say they would gladly take on the role of caregiver for another loved one. More than half (61%) told us the biggest benefit of being a caregiver is feeling that they’re doing the right thing. And often, caregivers begin to take better care of their own health as a result of their caregiving experience (86%).
The article discusses the obstacles encountered in caregiving, including the role reversals that can make the relationship difficult. "Nearly half (45%) of all caregivers say they are struggling with this, while trying to meet what they tell us are their top three goals: preserving the dignity of their loved one, providing the best care possible, and keeping their loved one out of an institution. Many caregivers also believe part of their role is to make sure the recipient does not feel like a burden, even when they might be."
The article stresses the importance of a family conversation--and early. The talk needs to include financial caregiving, which may end up being a big part of the need.
As it turns out, financial caregiving is a critical part of the picture—but one that’s not often discussed. Financial caregivers in our study are contributing to the cost of care, coordinating and managing finances for their loved one, or both. More than half (52%) of respondents have no idea what they have spent on caregiving-related expenses. In fact, many contribute financially to the care of their loved one even when it’s detrimental to their own financial future.
The cost of caregiving is not easy or comfortable to talk about, but finances are an integral piece of the puzzle. Seventy-five percent of family caregivers have never discussed their financial role with their care recipient. It could be that talking about money is taboo, especially in the face of grave illness, or that the care recipient does not have the mental acuity to discuss finances. But the financial burden and emotional toll can be minimized if families talk it through and plan appropriately.
It’s important to get our heads around the costs and benefits of caregiving now, because it’s likely to be in each of our futures. As founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter once said: “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who currently are caregivers; those who will be caregivers; and those who will need caregivers.”
University of Missouri Law Professor David English, who is part of a team working on new Guardianship Law proposals for the Uniform Law Commission, was reportedly in Albuquerque New Mexico recently. His appearance is in response to one of the latest regional scandals in the U.S. about the use of so-called "professional" guardians. See here and here for more on the recent history in New Mexico, including the summer 2017 federal indictment of key individuals .
According to news reports, part of Professor English's concern is about the dangers that can attend unnecessary secrecy about proceedings:
“What struck me when I first looked at New Mexico, I was very surprised as a general matter that guardianship proceedings were not open to the public. That’s not consistent with how most other states address the issue,” he told the guardianship commission on Friday.
In New Mexico, guardianship proceedings are sequestered and closed to the public. The only publicly available record is a court docket sheet identifying the parties involved and a general list of the actions and filings in the case. But, in Missouri, where English lives, the public can attend hearings in which judges decide whether a guardian should be appointed for an incapacitated person. Typically, those placed under guardianship or conservatorships are elderly, those with dementia or Alzheimer’s or others who need help with their decision-making or finances.
He said the intent of the new reform laws would be to open guardianship proceedings to the public, unless the person for whom the guardianship is being considered asks for a closed hearing or a judge decides otherwise. “It’s very important that the public have some access to what’s going on in guardianship cases,” English told the guardianship commission. “At least be able to attend the hearing.”
For more on the hearings and possible changes in New Mexico laws and procedures, see New Reforms in Guardian Law Presented by the Albuquerque Journal's investigative reporter, Colleen Heid.
November 20, 2017 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, November 19, 2017
As I wrote last week, the dramatic five-alarm fire at a senior nursing care unit near Philadelphia (actually, in West Chester) was something we might want to keep an eye on, to see if lessons emerge about emergency response. The good news is that the community around the nursing home wing (which appears to be part of a CCRC rather than a stand-alone nursing home) has been warm, loving and helpful to the residents. Today's Sunday morning news showed donations of clothing and key supplies arriving at the door step of a local fire department, along with practical expertise:
Tom Short, a statistics professor at West Chester University, said he and his wife, Darlene, had just moved to the area from Cleveland. He saw the ambulances taking the seniors to the university during the fire and knew he wanted to help. The couple had already had experience helping seniors.
So they arrived at the firehouse early Sunday to help with crush of donations. “I knew how to organize,” Short said.
“We just want to help out,” his wife said. “We printed out a list of things that were needed.”
So, the first lesson is positive -- the importance of community -- and folks with organizational skills stepping forward to volunteer.
But, there also seems to be a question about whether all of the residents of the care facilities have been accounted for.
See: Barclay Friends Nursing Home Fire: What We Know and Don't Know [as of late Saturday].
Some of the residents are being cared for in family members' homes; others at hospitals or other care facilities, but it seems that one lesson could be that a system of accountability for individuals who could be uniquely at risk in a fire or similar disaster should be part of an emergency plan, regardless of the age of the affected individuals. More details on the cause of fire and a casualty report are expected on Monday.
Friday, November 17, 2017
In Pennsylvania, we awoke today to news media images of flames shooting into the night sky from a nursing home near Philadelphia. I suspect many of us feared the worst outcome, including serious injuries to helpless residents, or worse. In the region, wooden structures, narrow streets, and densely populated neighborhoods are the norm.
But, although we are still in the early aftermath of the fire which reportedly ignited around 10:30 at night in a dementia care unit, evacuations occurred swiftly and with the help of the entire community, including college students who joined in the effort. As my blogging colleague has pointed out recently in the context of hurricanes, often the real impact for seniors displaced by emergencies occurs in the days or even weeks after the event. Let's hope we hear positive news about "best practices" in this instance. Lesson number one may involve whether sprinklers in the building operated appropriately.
From one early news account:
November 17, 2017 in Consumer Information, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Property Management, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Recall that I had previously blogged about the impact of Irma on some nursing homes and how the Florida Governor had issued an emergency administrative rule requiring nursing homes to have emergency generators. The suit brought by facilities challenging the rule wasn't a particular surprise. The judge assigned the case ruled in late October in favor of the facilities. As reported in an article in the Wall Street Journal, the judge "ruled against state efforts to force elder-care facilities to rapidly upgrade their generators by mid-November, siding with industry groups that argued the state’s time demands were unrealistic." Florida Judge Rules Against Emergency Nursing-Home Generator Measures notes that in the lengthy opinion, the ALJ explains “it is impossible for the vast majority of nursing homes” and assisted-living facilities to comply with the orders by the deadline." The Governor's office indicated that it would appeal while also working with the Florida legislature regarding bills filed on this issue. The article notes some facilities are already in compliance and that the objection was more about the timeline than the requirement. Stay tuned....
The issue of "evictions" in residential facilities for older adults has long been on my radar screen, and I was especially interested to hear (and read) news of a lawsuit initiated by the AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) against a California skilled nursing facility and its parent entity following the facility's refusal to "readmit" an 82 year-old resident following her temporary hospital stay. As reported by NPR for All Things Considered on November 13, 2017:
[The Defendants] say that she became aggressive with staff and threw some plastic tableware. So Pioneer House called an ambulance and sent her to a hospital for a psychological evaluation. The hospital found nothing wrong with her, but the nursing home wouldn't take her back. They said they couldn't care for someone with her needs. Jones protested his mother's eviction to the California Department of Health Care Services. The department held a hearing. Jones won.
"I expected action — definitely expected action," says Jones. Instead, he got an email explaining that the department that holds the hearings has no authority to enforce its own rulings. Enforcement is handled by a different state agency. He could start over with them.
This Catch-22 situation attracted the interest of the legal wing of the AARP Foundation. Last year, attorneys there asked the federal government to open a civil rights investigation into the way California deals with nursing home evictions. Now, they're suing Pioneer House and its parent company on Gloria Single's behalf. It's the first time the AARP has taken a legal case dealing with nursing home eviction.
For more, read AARP Foundation Sues Nursing Home to Stop Illegal Evictions.
My thanks to my always alert colleague, Dickinson Law Professor Laurel Terry, for sharing this item.
November 17, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Aging, Teresa Osborne was interviewed on Smart Talk, a Public Radio program in central Pennsylvania on November 16, 2017. Secretary Osborne is well-spoken, and using the fact that Pennsylvania has one of the fastest growing "older old" populations in the country (usually defined as age 85+), she reports on some of the ways that Pennsylvania is attempting to assist healthy aging, including making available resources better available to age-in-place at home through a program called Community Choice. One of her observations? While everyone "hopes" to stay in one's own home, "'hope' is not a plan." Active steps to make that happen safely are needed -- and one of the boomers interviewed talked about his own periodic, "five year review" plan. You can listen to a podcast of the approximately 30 minute interview here.
The radio interview also introduced a segment from a public television Health Smart series on The Aging Boom-The 2030 Problem, scheduled to be aired for the first time on WITF-TV on November 16 at 8 p.m. (with additional broadcasts planned for various times of day on November 17 and 18).
Recently I had a good chat with a former student, who has already retired from practicing law. I was surprised as I had assumed he was younger than I am. Why? Because I was the teacher, right? But, as it turned out, he was about 10 years older than I was when he was my student, and, of course, that margin remains. I was guilty of a form of reverse-ageism.
I have another friend who teaches non-law courses on aging-related topics for Oregon State University. She uses cartoons effectively in the course -- handing out provocative cartoons without any captions that include some imagery associated with aging and inviting the students to provide their own captions. Pretty quickly the students get to see the difference between humor that both old and young could chuckle about -- and ageist humor. She also admits to her students that her courses get more relevant with every year -- to her, of course -- as she and her friends are rapidly reaching silver or gold status as "older" adults.
Along that line, The New Yorker magazine has a current piece addressing ageism that is both thoughtful and eclectic. Amusingly, it begins with scenes from a classic movie, where a young Paul Newman is toiling away in a Philadelphia law firm, resenting his elders. Of course, for readers of a certain age, they might find it impossible to imagine a "young" Newman as all they know is his gray haired image (or, perhaps, his salad dressing bottles).
The author suggests that perhaps our biggest problem with ageism starts with ourselves -- our own unwillingness to confront the realities of our own aging. He uses an example from retirement communities, where residents sometimes attempt to ban walkers and wheelchairs from the dining areas. Ironic, yes?
Lots of good food for discussion in Why Ageism Never Gets Old, written by Tad Friend, for the November 20 issue of The New Yorker.
Our thanks to Dick Kaplan at University of Illinois Law for sending the link our way.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a new report Models and Strategies to Integrate Palliative Care Principles into Care for People with Serious Illness: Proceedings of a Workshop The website explains the purpose of the workshop
The Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness hosted a full-day workshop on April 27, 2017 to explore Models and Strategies to Integrate Palliative Care Principles into Care for People with Serious Illness. The workshop aimed to highlight innovative models of community-based care for people of all ages facing serious illness. The workshop featured invited presentations and panel discussions exploring community-based palliative care from a population health management perspective as well as a health system perspective; pediatric palliative care, concurrent care, and palliative care within the context of a multispecialty accountable care organization; potential policy levers, as well as the challenges and opportunities to scale and spread successful palliative care models and programs. The workshop rapporteurs have prepared this proceedings as a factual summation of the workshop presentations and discussions.
Here is an excerpt from the introduction
Remarkable developments in health promotion and disease treatment and prevention have led to significant improvements in life expectancy throughout the 20th century and into the present. Concurrent with those improvements has been the reality that most Americans will experience a substantial period of time living with serious illness; an estimated 45 million Americans currently are living with one or more chronic conditions (IOM, 2015; NASEM, 2016). Those living with serious illness can be found across the age spectrum and in a broad range of care settings, from pre-birth to geriatric care. Recognizing the need to thoughtfully consider and address the challenges and opportunities to improve care for people of all ages and all stages of a serious illness, the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness serves to convene stakeholders from government, academia, industry, professional associations, nonprofit advocacy organizations, and philanthropies. Inspired by and expanding on the work of the 2014 Institute of Medicine consensus study report Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life (IOM, 2015),2 the Roundtable aims to foster ongoing dialogue about critical policy and research issues to accelerate and sustain progress in care for people of all ages experiencing serious illness.
Shortages of Specialists to Screen and Diagnose Early Stages of Neurocognitive Diseases Are Part of the Looming Problem
A recent study by the Rand Corporation points to related problems with diagnosis AND treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and other neurocognitive disorders. Even as there is a growing need for effective treatment, there are "too few medical specialists to diagnose patients who may have early signs of Alzheimer's" and thus become eligible for therapies that might slow or or halt progression of such diseases. From the Rand news release:
“While significant effort is being put into developing treatments to slow or block the progression of Alzheimer's dementia, little work has been done to get the medical system ready for such an advancement,” said Jodi Liu, lead author of the study and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “While there is no certainty an Alzheimer's therapy will be approved soon, our work suggests that health care leaders should begin thinking about how to respond to such a breakthrough.”
An estimated 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's dementia today, with the number projected to increase to 11.6 million by 2040.
Advanced clinical trials are underway for at least 10 investigational therapies that have shown promise in slowing or blocking development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers say the progress provides guarded optimism that a disease-modifying therapy could become available for routine use within a few years.
Liu and her team examined the pathway patients would likely take to receive an Alzheimer's therapy and created a model to simulate the pressures that such an approved therapy would put on the health care system.
The analysis assumes that a therapy is approved for use beginning in 2020 and screening would begin in 2019, although researchers stress that the date was chosen only as a scenario for the model, not as a prediction of when a therapy may be approved.
Under such a scenario, about 71 million Americans aged 55 and older would have to be screened for signs of mild cognitive impairment. After follow-up examinations and imaging to confirm evidence of Alzheimer's, the RAND analysis estimates 2.4 million people ultimately could be recommended for treatment.
For additional analysis, see The Washington Post's article from its Business Section, We're So Unprepared for Finding An Alzheimer's Treatment.
Special thanks to George Washington Law Professor (and friend) Naomi Cahn for making sure we did not miss this item.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Kiplinger ran a story promoting the idea of practicing for retirement. 4 Reasons to Hold a Retirement Dress Rehearsal suggests you take a trial run at retirement before making it permanent. For example, thinking about moving to a warmer climate, buying a condo on a golf course, moving into a senior housing complex, or something else, the article suggests trying out the plan temporarily. The advantages of doing so allow you to get a better idea of the expenses of living this new life, whether you physically can manage this new life, discover if more hours for hobbies translate into more (or less) fun, and learn whether you want to be closer or farther away from your family. The article offers this list of things to check out when thinking about moving:
- Availability of health care
- Recreational opportunities
- Access to transportation (area airports, major highways, etc.)
- Community and potential friendships
- Ease of visiting family (or visa versa)
Monday, November 13, 2017
Boots on the Ground - Fighting Financial Abuse of Elder Veterans explains the Veterans Benefits Protection Project. "One form of financial abuse targets elder veterans and their families, promising to assist them with qualifying for veterans benefits through the sale of unsuitable financial products and irrevocable living trusts. These scams threaten the health, safety, and financial well-being of thousands of elder veterans across the country." The project started "outreach and website last Veterans Day to share reliable resources for veterans and professionals working with veterans. Since then, the IOA has conducted 14 trainings to over 725 individuals, notified and trained administrators at all licensed residential care facilities and senior centers in San Francisco about the scam, and received an Aging Innovation Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging."
Here's an explanation about the scam
Financial predators have been making large commissions by selling medium-and-high wealth seniors unnecessary or unsuitable financial products or services. They tell the seniors that in order to get the benefit, they need to “appear impoverished,” and they can accomplish that by converting their assets into their “veteran-friendly estate plan.” Seniors who follow their advice end up with irrevocable trusts or financial products that tie up their money so they cannot access it for the rest of their lives, while the predators walk away with large commissions or service fees for their “help.”
November 13, 2017 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Veterans | Permalink | Comments (0)