Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Highlights from Touro Conference on Aging, Health, Equity, and the Law (9.13.21)

Touro College's Jacob Fuschberg Law Center hosted a fabulous half-day, interdisciplinary program on Aging, Health, Equity and the Law.  Among the highlights:

  • A perfect kickoff with opening remarks on the theme of the conference from Syracuse Law Professor Nina Kohn, who outlined the civil rights of older persons, reminding us of existing laws and the potential for legal reforms;
  •  A unique "property law" perspective on the importance of careful planning about ownership or rights of use, in order to maximize the safety and goals of the older person, provided by Professor Lior Strahilevitz from University of Chicago Law School;  
  • Several sessions formed the heart of the conference by taking on enormously difficult topics arising in the context of Covid-19 about access to health care, including what I found to be a fascinating perspective from Professor Barbara Pfeffer Billauer  from her recent work in Israel. She started with an interesting introduction of three specific pandemic responses she's identified in her research. She then focused on how "Policy Pariah-itizing" has had a negative effect on health care for older adults, with examples from Israel, Italy, and China.  I was also deeply impressed by the candid presentations of several direct care providers, including nursing care professionals Esperanza Sanchez and Nelda Godfrey, about the ethical issues and practical pressures they are experiencing; 
  • Illinois Law Professor Dick Kaplan offered  timely perspectives on incorporating cultural sensitivity in Elder Law Courses.  His slides had great context, drawing in part from an article he published about ten years ago at 40 Stetson Law Review 15;
  • Real world examples about tough end-of-life decisions involving family members and/or formally appointed surrogates, with Deirdre Lock and Tristan Sullivan-Wilson from the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice leading breakout groups for discussions.

I know I'm failing to mention other great sessions (there were simultaneous tracks and I was playing a bit of leap-frog).  But the good news is we can keep our eyes out for the Touro Law Review compilation of the articles from this conference, scheduled for Spring 2022 publication.  I know it was a big lift to pull off the conference in the middle of the fall semester.  Thank you!

September 14, 2021 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Books, Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, International, Property Management, Science | Permalink

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Colorado City Makes Public Apology & Pays $3 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over Violent Takedown and Arrest of Older Woman

In May of 2021, we linked to emerging information about a June 2020 arrest of a 73 year-old woman with dementia in Loveland Colorado.  

The family of the older woman, Karen Garner, filed a civil suit.  On September 8, 2021, the City of Loveland issued a press release announcing a $3 million dollar settlement and expressing an apology to the family:  

“The settlement with Karen Garner will help bring some closure to an unfortunate event in our community but does not upend the work we have left to do. We extend a deep and heartfelt apology to Karen Garner and her family for what they have endured as a result of this arrest,” said Loveland City Manager Steve Adams. “We know we did not act in a manner that upholds the values, integrity, and policies of the City and police department, and we are taking the necessary steps to make sure these actions are never repeated.” 

***

“There is no excuse, under any circumstances, for what happened to Ms. Garner. We have agreed on steps we need to take to begin building back trust. While these actions won’t change what Ms. Garner experienced, they will serve to improve this police department and hopefully restore faith that the LPD exists to serve those who live in and visit Loveland,” Chief Bob Ticer stated.

Criminal charges are still pending against the officers involved in the violent takedown,  in her arrest, and for the detention of the injured woman who was then left without medical care in a holding cell while officers sat comfortably in a booking room, reviewing their own bodycam videos, appearing to laugh over the sound of her breaking arm.  For more, read here and here. 

There is a lot of work still ahead for so many police and detention units.  

September 9, 2021 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Examining Use and Misuse of Tax-Exempt or Deferred Financial Retirement Savings Plans As Increasing Economic Disparity

Check out "America is Spending A Fortune to Help Rich People Retire in Luxury," authored by Michael Mechanic. Published this week in Mother Jones, the article examines how "America's most affluent" use Roth IRAs and similar "federally subsidized retirement accounts meant for middle-class savers" to maximize their wealth.  

But it turns out IRAs are only the tip of the iceberg. The bigger problem, according to Steve Rosenthal, a tax attorney and senior fellow at Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, is that, thanks to a series of bipartisan bills Congress has passed over the past quarter-century, the government spends a fortune subsidizing a whole range of retirement plans whose benefits flow overwhelmingly to America’s most affluent. “It’s unbelievable the amounts of dollars at stake, and how tilted they are to the high end,” Rosenthal told me. “It’s just staggering.”

 

Indeed, such subsidies are the federal government’s single biggest tax-related expense, costing hundreds of billions of dollars per year. From 2020 through 2024, the JCT estimates, tax breaks and deferrals for retirement contributions will cost the Treasury $1.9 trillion—far more than the cost of the child/dependent or earned income tax credits, tax deductions for charitable donations, tax exclusions on long-term capital gains, or corporate tax breaks for employer-provided health and life insurance benefits. “These retirement reform packages are exceptionally confusing and technical and long and really hard for anyone to sort out,” says Rosenthal, a former JCT staff lawyer himself. “But embedded in every one are easter eggs: big giveaways to the retirement industry and to high-net-worth individuals.”

There is a lot to unpack here, and I could certainly see a seminar course built around this topic, including the complexity of finding solutions that don't harm the more-modest investor who will need every dime in retirement.  

My thanks to University of Virginia Law Professor Naomi Cahn for sharing the article, and to her colleague at UVA, Professor Michael Doran, who is prominently cited in the article  for his critiques of so-called savings reforms that "delivered expensive and unnecessary tax subsidies," that benefited higher income families and the financial services industry.

September 2, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Retirement, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Biden Administration to Mandate COVID Vaccinations for Nursing Home Employees

The Biden Administration announced today that it will push for federal regulations to mandate employee vaccinations for COVID-19 for employees of "nursing homes," making the vaccinations a condition for nursing homes to continue receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.  It will be interesting -- or perhaps frustrating -- to see how long that rulemaking process will take!  The new regulations "would apply to over 15,000 nursing home facilities, which employ approximately 1.3 million workers and serve approximately 16 million nursing home residents."  

Some sources suggest to date that "only about one-quarter of nursing homes had at least 75 percent of staff vaccinated." 

The announcement about nursing homes was combined with other announcements related to COVID-17 protections.  

My motto for the last 18 months has been "nothing is simple."  

August 18, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Medicare | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Reminder! Here is Program for Upcoming Aging, Health, Equity & the Law Conference at Touro

Here is a link to the full schedule of speakers and topics for the virtual conference on "Aging, Health, Equity and the Law" hosted by Touro Law College on Monday, September 13, 2021.  The program runs from noon to 6:15 and registration is free.  Highlights include:

  • 12:20 Keynote Address 

    Nina A. Kohn, the David M. Levy Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education at Syracuse  Law, and the Distinguished Scholar in Elder Law for the Solomon Center   for Health Law & Policy at Yale Law School.

  • Afternoon Tracks on Different Topics, including (you will have other great options too, so I encourage you to look at the full schedule linked above!):  

        1:00 "Property Law for the Ages," by University of Chicago Law Professor Lior Strahilevitz 

        1:30 "Allocating Scarce Medical Resources During a Public Health Crisis:  Should Age Matter?" by Houston Law Center Professor Jessica Mantel

        2:00 "Anti-Racism in Nursing Homes," by Elizabeth Chen, Acting Assistant Professor, NYU Law

        3:00 "Incorporating Cultural Sensitivity in Elder Law Courses", by Richard Kaplan, University of Illinois Law

        4:00 "End of Life, Elder Abuse, and Guardianship: An Exploration of NY's  Surrogate Decision-making Framework," by Deirdre Lok and Tristan Sullivan, Counsel at the Weinburg  Center for Elder Justice

Registration (Free!)  is here, and New York CLE credits are available.  

July 28, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 19, 2021

UVA Law Professor Naomi Cahn: Why Conservatorships Like the One Controlling Britney Spears Can Lead to Abuse

 Prolific writer Naomi Cahn, who in 2020 moved from George Washington to University of Virginia School of Law as a distinguished professor and director of UVA's Family Law Center, has a new commentary on the potential impact of the Britney Spears' litigation challenging her California-based conservatorship.  Professor Cahn observes at the outset:

Spears’ case is unusual: Conservatorships are typically not imposed on someone who doesn’t have severe cognitive impairments, and Spears has toured the world, released four albums and earned US$131 million, all while deemed legally unfit to manage her finances or her own body.

Despite the unique circumstances of Ms. Spears' circumstances, her case demonstrates the lack of national data tracking such "protective" proceedings.  Professor Cahn writes:

Broad powers and “anemic” oversight make conservatorships subject to multiple forms of abuse, ranging from the imposition of unnecessary restrictions on the individual to financial mismanagement. Nothing can be done if no one finds out about the abuse.

 

A 2010 U.S. government report identified hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial impropriety by conservators. Most of them related to financial exploitation, and that, in turn, often meant that the victim’s family was affected, losing not just expected inheritances but also contact with the person subject to the conservatorship.

 

A 2017 New Yorker article on abusive guardians highlighted the case of April Parks, who was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for financial conduct related to numerous conservatorships she handled. She was also ordered to pay more than half a million dollars to her victims.

 

But beyond these anecdotes, no one even knows the magnitude of the problem. That’s because conservatorships are subject to state law, and each state handles the imposition of them as well as data collection differently. And a 2018 Senate report found that most states are unable to report accurate data on conservatorships.

Professor Cahn sees Britney Spears' case as generating a national outrage that was missing from earlier anecdotal indications of problems for older adults trapped in "protective" proceedings.  She concludes: 

Spears may soon find herself free of her conservatorship. Regardless, her situation has already put a spotlight on the potential for abuse – and it may lead to a better system for those who genuinely need the assistance.

July 19, 2021 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 2, 2021

Elected Officials and Advanced Age

Politico ran an interesting story, ‘You don’t have to die in your seat’: Democrats stress over aging members.

Using a Florida Congressman as an illustration, the article notes that "[t]he entire episode has brought into sharp focus an awkward conversation that Democrats have been having for a while: at a time of deep polarization and narrow congressional majorities, do older or infirm members have a responsibility to step down to ensure the party has enough votes to advance its agenda?"  The issue is one for both Democrats and Republicans. "Both parties have their share of elderly members ... But Democrats have been grappling with a noticeable generational divide within their ranks for some time — President Joe Biden and top Democratic congressional leaders are all well over 70. Ten of the 12 House members over the age of 80 are Democrats."  The article discusses various other issues, including the slim majority held by the Democrats, the desires of younger folks to serve, and perhaps a lessening value of seniority.

Thanks to Professor Naomi Cahn for sending us the article.

July 2, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other, Statistics | Permalink

Thursday, June 17, 2021

New Elder Justice Resource Guide

The New York courts have released a new Elder Justice Resource Guide, "the result of collaboration between The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Justice at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale and the New York State Unified Court System’s Division of Policy and Planning, and ... provide[s] a list of resources, information and support for New York’s judges, court personnel, and other legal professionals."

The 136 page guide is available online or as a pdf, and covers various topics. "The Elder Justice Resource Guide includes information about elder abuse, accessible courtrooms for older adults, capacity and confusion, effective communication, and available resources for older adults experiencing abuse. The Guide also includes a comprehensive directory of national, state, and local services available to older adults."  (I particularly was interested in pages 12, 16-18 where Stetson's own Eleazer Courtroom is mentioned!)

June 17, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other, State Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

More on Ageism

Yesterday I was blogging about positive aging birthday cards. Today, I want to note a couple of articles from last month about ageism, and its prevalence in our culture. First, an article published in Time magazine: Ageist Attacks Against President Biden Reinforce Outdated Stereotypes—and Hurt Younger People, Too.  "Age has long been a powerful political weapon, and Biden has by no means been the sole target. Similar questions have recently been raised about California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who, at 87, is the oldest member of the U.S. Senate, and Wilbur Ross, President Trump’s former Commerce Secretary, who’s now 83."  Don't forget we also think about age when we think about some of the Supreme Court Justices.

The title suggests ageism harms us all. How does it hurt younger folks? The article offers this: "experts say age-based attacks ... demonstrate how common ageist stereotypes are in American culture—to everyone’s detriment. 'Cultural messaging gets internalized, and it can shape the attitudes that people have about their own aging process, and about their awareness of their age related changes when they do happen,'" one expert stated for the article. 

The article points out the weakness of trying to correlate age and ability.  "[M]edical advancements mean that people are not only living longer, but are often at their maximum cognitive capacity deeper into old age. The prevalence of older people with dementia “declined significantly between 2000 and 2012,” a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found. 'Chronological age in and of itself is not a good indicator of what a person is capable of doing....'"

The article explains the impact of ageist attacks on us collectively and individually and suggest that "The key...  is for people to be mindful of underestimating people based on their age, and instead look for instances in which individual older people defy stereotypes." 

Follow the Time article with this one also from last month: The Old Guy’s Taking His Shot.  Here's an excerpt:

Just days away from 100 days in office, there’s already a vigorous record of achievement that belies the notion that an old guy can’t handle the rigors of the job. Quite the opposite. For all those who complained before the election about another old white guy taking the reins, whined that we needed someone younger and fresher, and worried that he was the last guy to take the country into the future, Biden has proffered a compelling (and calm) counterpunch.

Knowledge, experience and the wisdom of age—matched with the common sense to surround himself with talented professionals and experts—looks not only like the right package for this moment, but a winning approach at any time. I’m not doubting that younger people are capable of handling the job, of course, but the 78-year-old might have one extra ingredient that his younger colleagues don’t.

 

P.S.  Why do we refer to products as those that "fight aging" or are "anti-aging" instead of  referring to them as "enhancing aging" or are for "positive aging"? 

May 25, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 24, 2021

Positive Approach to Aging

A few days ago I read about a website that offers positive aging birthday cards. The cards are part of a project based out of Colorado, Changing the Narrative: Ending Ageism Together, which "is a strategic communications and awareness campaign to increase understanding of ageism and to shift how Coloradans think about aging."  Here's more info about the Colorado campaign:

Changing the Narrative in Colorado builds on five years of national work initiated by eight leading aging organizations that recognized a shared challenge: that what they were seeking to communicate about aging and ageism, and the social challenges and opportunities posed by demographic change, was not getting through in the way intended to the general public. They engaged FrameWorks Institute to research how the public thinks about aging and ageism, and to test messages that could shift thinking in a positive direction. This resulted in a toolkit and training trainers who could teach others effective ways of communication about aging and ageism. Read more about the organizations and funders involved in the national effort here.

Changing the Narrative in Colorado is one of two efforts [1] currently underway to bring this evidence-based messaging and communications about aging and ageism to regional audiences.

[1] The other is an effort in Northern New England by the Endowment for Health and Maine Community Foundation to build communications capacity through in-person and online training in reframing aging.

Now, about the birthday cards...  The project is called the "Anti-ageist Birthday Card Project" where the organization "selected a diverse group of Colorado artists to design anti-ageist birthday cards. The designs defy negative views of aging and celebrate the joys of getting older. ... It’s time to celebrate the fact that we get to age."

There are a number of designs available for purchase, all of which may be viewed here.  For more information about why positive aging birthday cards are so important in the fight against ageism, read the blog post available here.

 

May 24, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Colorado: "Former Police Officers" Facing Criminal Charges For Conduct in Arrest of Woman with Dementia

On May 19, 2021,  the District Attorney's Office covering Loveland Colorado announced criminal charges against two officers who had already been removed from the force after details became public about their June 2020 arrest of a 73 year-old woman with dementia.  The primary arresting officer was charged with second degree assault causing bodily injury, attempt to influence a public servant (both being felony charges) and official misconduct, a misdemeanor, while a second officer who arrived midstream, was charged with misdemeanors, of "failing to intervene" in a case of excessive force, failing to report the use of force, and official misconduct, according to records from the DA's office.  

More details here:

 New York Times:  Former Police Officers Charged Over Arrest of Woman with Dementia

The Coloradan:  Arrest Documents - Former Loveland Officer Downplayed Force in Report on Karen Garner

 

May 20, 2021 in Cognitive Impairment, Crimes, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Caregivers React to Loveland Colorado Police Treatment of Aging "Shoplifter"

I've had several recent opportunities to talk with individuals serving as primary caregivers for family members who have varying stages and types of neurocognitive disorders, including but not limited to age-associated dementia.  One common concern in these conversations has been "that could have been my family member."

They are referring to news reports and body-cam videos of two officers in Loveland, Colorado in June 2020, as they apprehended, handcuffed, and took down "in a controlled manner" (the officers' description) a disoriented 72-year old woman. The officers were intent on arresting the woman following a report of her alleged "shoplifting" attempt of $14 dollars' worth of items at a local Walmart.   

According to the federal civil rights suit filed on April 16, 2021, the actions of the police officers fractured Karen Garner's left arm, dislocated her shoulder, and terrified her.  She was left for hours, crying and begging to go home while handcuffed in a booking cell, with no medical assistance offered or provided.  One booking room video shows the officers laughing and commenting about the body-cam footage.

Such conversationa explained what many caregivers were thinking about when they learned what happened to the "frail little thing" (the officer's word), the 5 foot tall, 80 pound woman who had earlier been diagnosed with "mild" dementia:

  • It could have been a lawyer's uncle, who has PTSD following return from tours of military duty and an IED injuty in Afghanistan;
  • It could have been a colleague's father, who was diagnosed with FTLD causing him to lose inhibitions, sometimes involving confusing behavior in public;
  • It could have been an older friend who recently needed help because she could not find her way through the "new" self-checkout system at the grocery store;
  • It could have been a member of my family, as my sister related to me a story I had not heard before, about how our mother, distracted by a cell-phone call, walked out of a grocery store without paying for groceries and didn't realize that until after she had loaded them into her car;
  • It "was" a man in his  60s with early onset dementia who wandered away from his home one night, only to be arrested for loitering and placed in a special containment area of the jail, where he was beaten to a pulp during the night by his cellmate (as I have written about before, here).

Continue reading

May 4, 2021 in Cognitive Impairment, Crimes, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Call for Papers: AALS Section on Aging and the Law 2022 Annual Meeting

The AALS Section on Aging and the Law will focus its annual meeting program on inequality and aging. The conception of the program is broad and intended to encompass all matters of legal concern that involve age and inequality. Potential topics include but are not limited to aging in the criminal justice system, contact between family and nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the disparate impact of policies within the Medicare and Medicaid programs, vaccine distribution policies, the rights and wages of care workers, the impact of technology on access to legal assistance, and economic inequality in later life based on disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.


If you are interested in participating, please send a 400-600 word description of what you would like to discuss. We particularly encourage submissions from junior scholars and members of underrepresented groups in legal academia. Submissions should be sent to Professor Alexander A. Boni-Saenz, abonisae@kentlaw.iit.edu by June 1, 2021.

April 29, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Webinar on Ageism in SNFs

The Long Term Care Community Coalition is offering a webinar on April 20, 2021 at 1 eastern on an Antidote to Ageism in Nursing Homes. Here's the description

Residents thrive when helped to achieve their highest practicable level of physical, mental, and psychosocial wellbeing. When the requirements of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 are realized, the colonial, custodial injustice of long-term scare will finally end. In this webinar, Cathy Unsino, LCSW, will talk about how to transform nursing homes into warm, vibrant communities in which residents and staff thrive.

Click here to register.

April 6, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Global Report on Ageism

The World Health Organization released the Global Report on Ageism, which "outlines a framework for action to reduce ageism including specific recommendations for different actors (e.g. government, UN agencies, civil society organizations, private sector). It brings together the best available evidence on the nature and magnitude of ageism, its determinants and its impact. It outlines what strategies work to prevent and counter ageism, identifies gaps and proposes future lines of research to improve our understanding of ageism."

The executive summary is available here, discussing nature, scale, determinants, and impact of ageism, as well as strategies to reduce it and suggestions for actions. The entire 202 page report is available here.

March 25, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, International, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 1, 2021

Age Diversity in the President's Cabinet

Usually when I blog about ageism, it is not a story about something positive. So it's nice to see a positive take on age diversity.  How age diversity in a presidential Cabinet could affect policies and programs explains that "[h]aving so many advisers of different ages should – theoretically – bring perspectives from different age groups and better represent constituents of different ages." The section on intergenerational politics discusses whether the various generations lean conservative, moderate or liberal in their politics.

Age-based political theories are based on aggregate behaviors. They do not predict the political persuasions of an individual voter or political leader. After all, Sen. Bernie Sanders, at 79, is one of America’s most progressive senators.

Age is especially less likely to determine political allegiance among racial and ethnic minorities. These groups tend to vote more Democratic regardless of age.

Thanks to Professor Naomi Cahn for sending us the link to this article.

February 1, 2021 in Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Everyday Ageism

Before the holidays, The Washington Post ran an article that really resonated. At my age, it’s time to fight everyday ageism — especially when I’m guilty of it starts with a mention of birthday cards that make old age jokes, compliments (you don't look your age), and even lying about one's age. The author explains that this type of action is indicative of everyday ageism, that is "reinforcing the stereotype that old is bad (and young is good). I’d absorbed the negative messages about being older."  Please don't think this is something that happens occasionally. (Just think about greeting cards and party decorations).  The article notes that "the University of Michigan in conjunction with AARP reported the findings of its National Poll on Healthy Aging, which described how those .... 50 to 80  ...  are bombarded with negative and hostile stereotypes."

Here are some telling results from that poll:

The poll examined older adults’ experiences with nine different forms of ageism, which fall into three buckets: exposure to ageist messages (like advertising), ageism in interpersonal relationships (what friends or family say) and internalized ageism (negative beliefs we absorb).

According to the poll, “more than 80 percent of those polled say they commonly experience at least one form of ageism in their day-to-day lives.” And 40 percent said they routinely experience three or more forms of this everyday ageism...."

The article notes the physical and psychological impact on those subjected to everyday ageism. And it's just not in person interactions. [T]he more time we spend watching television, browsing the Internet or reading magazines, the more likely we are to experience everyday ageism, meaning negative — and incorrect — images of older people such as those depicting us as frail or dependent, or unable to use new tech devices or social media platforms." The article offers some steps we can take to push back against this everyday ageism.

I plan to use this article in my class. My hope is it will make my students think...and change their behaviors.

Thanks to Professor Naomi Cahn for sending me the link to the article.

December 29, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 9, 2020

Court Called Upon to Prevent Misuse of Law to Penalize Homeless People

As many of our regular readers know, I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona.  One of the developments I have followed over the years is the number of homeless residents of Phoenix.  I'm a cyclist in my spare time and one of my regular downtown bike routes in Phoenix takes me past an ever-growing encampment.  In addition, a large park near my parents' home now serves as a daytime gathering spot for many.  In the scorching heat of the summer, and the desert cold of the winter, there are more and more people without adequate shelter.  The New York Times recently pointed out that in contrast to historical statistics suggesting that nationwide, "elderly" persons make up a small percentage of the homeless population, in the last few years we are seeing a surge among older adults.  See Elderly and Homeless: America's Next Housing Crisis, a feature article published on September 30, 2020, that, in part, profiles the issues in Arizona.  


Stryker PhotoSo, it was with great interest that I read a report on a federal appellate decision, limiting the ability of municipalities to use criminal laws to penalize individuals, in an attempt to discourage or remove people who are living on the streets.  The report is by one of  Dickinson Law's third year law students, Jacqueline Stryker.  She writes in part:  

"The city of Boise, Idaho attempted to fight homelessness in the community through a combination of its public camping ordinance and its disorderly conduct ordinance.  In Martin v. City of Boise, 920 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2019), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment bars a city from criminally prosecuting people for sleeping outside on public property when those people have no shelter.  The Court concluded that it does.  A municipality cannot criminalize people who sleep outside when no sleeping space is practically available in any shelter. "

Ms. Stryker observes in her conclusion, "Whether the decision of the Ninth Circuit in Martin will gain traction a local governments grapple with the growing problem of homelessness and homeless encampments is yet to be seen."

For more of Ms. Stryker's timely, concise case analysis, see:  Municipal Efforts to Combat Homelessness.

October 9, 2020 in Crimes, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Housing, Property Management, Statistics | Permalink

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Upcoming in July: AALS/CLEA Virtual Clinical Conference to include Pandemic-Impact Speakers on Clinics that Serve Older Adults

AALS's Clinical Section and CLEA are hosting a free Virtual Clinical Conference that begins Tuesday, July 21, running through Thursday, July 23.  The conference offers two plenary sessions, a webinar, asynchronous videos, large group discussions, small group discussions focued on specific topics or within affinity groups, very timely programs sponsored by Clinicians of Color, and a final community building session.

Jam-packed! -- but also easy to navigate through the virtual platform.  Here's the link to the full schedule.  The sessions will begin each day at noon, Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Register for the Conference here.  

And did I mention it is FREE?!

Elder Law/Disability Law Clinical gurus Martha Mannix (University of Pittsburgh) and Mary Helen McNeal (Syracuse) will be facilitators for three afternoon sessions on "Student Representation of Elderly and Special Needs Clients in Virtual and COVID World" and the brainstorming topics include: 

    1. Discussion on how we might reimagine our encounters with our elderly clientss or clients with disabilities through communications technology or creative reconfiguring of in-person client meetings.

    2. Discussion on the role of students.  Does the COVID-19 emergency require us to restructure or reimagine the role of the clinic student and our supervision of them in light of the challenges presented by remote learning and representation and institutional desires to shield student from risk?

    3. Discussion on whether we might consider altering the nature of our legal work in clinical settings: Is this the moment best met by continuing individual representation or should we turn our ckubucak efforts to addressing systemic issues or engagement in policy advocacy?  

And to add to the intrigue -- the final session of the three-day program includes a Dance Party!  Let your inner "Hairspray" shine! 

July 7, 2020 in Current Affairs, Discrimination, Ethical Issues, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Topics and Speakers Announced for AALS January 2021 Program on Intersectionality, Aging and the Law

Hard to believe we are scheduling for January 2021, isn't it!  Here's the scheduled speakers and topics for the co-hosted program during the AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco on "Intersectionality, Aging and the Law:"

July 2, 2020 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Cognitive Impairment, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, International, Programs/CLEs, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)