Tuesday, January 19, 2021
A DOJ press released announced that a Home Health Aide [has been] Charged in Twenty-Two Count Indictment for Stealing Elderly Clients’ Identity, Banking, and Credit Card Information and Using it to Commit Financial Fraud.
According to allegations contained in the indictment and previously filed criminal complaint, for over a year starting in January 2019, Cofer worked as a home health aide servicing senior citizens in the South Florida community. During that time, Cofer gained access to her elderly clients’ social security numbers, dates of birth, bank accounts, credit cards, and other information. Without the knowledge or consent of these elderly clients, Cofer allegedly used the information to steal money from bank accounts, open unauthorized credit card accounts, deposit unauthorized checks, make herself an authorized user on credit accounts, make unauthorized purchases of items such as a mannequin head and wig stand, pay her mobile phone, insurance, and other bills, and send money to a prison inmate, among other things.
The press release notes that additional information, including "court documents and information" here www.flsd.uscourts.gov. Use case #s 20-MJ-8273 and 21-CR-80003-Middlebrooks.
Monday, January 11, 2021
The American Bar Association Commission on Law & Aging has released its 2020 summary of guardianship legislation. The summary, Directions of Reform: 2020 Adult Guardianship Legislation Summary, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging is available .here.
The summary is divided into the following: pre-adjudication issues, multi-jurisdictional issues, guardian selection, guardian actions, fees, rights of the individual, capacity matters, guardian & fiduciary misconduct, and post-adjudication/monitoring matters. The summary includes a chart at the end for a quick reference. The link to the archives for prior year summaries is available here.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Mark your calendars for January 21, 2021 at 2 p.m. eastern for a webinar on Elder Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Remediation from the National Center on Law and Elder Rights.
Everyone who works with older adults has a role to play in prevention, intervention, and remediation of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Helping starts with understanding the landscape of elder abuse and the service providers and systems involved in addressing abuse. This legal basics training will provide an overview of the fundamentals of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and the signs and signals of abuse that attendees can reference in their daily lives and work.
At the end of this training, participants will be able to:
- Describe the three stages of responses to abuse
- Apply basic definitions of abuse, neglect, and exploitation
- Identify risk factors or signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
- Identify the differences between undue influence, exploitation, and fraud
- Describe added risks in a time of COVID-19
To register, click here.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Although in truth, there is no "season" for scammers. They operate year round. The only thing that changes is the scam. The Washington Post a few weeks ago highlighted this with the following story, A professor thought he was sending money to help federal officials catch human traffickers. It was a scam.
The story seemed hard to believe, but whatever doubts the professor said he harbored melted away as the purported agent unspooled detail after detail of the man’s life. He knew his Social Security number. He listed properties the man had purchased 20 years ago and knew the banks he used.
** *Government impersonation scams are an exploding category of crime with losses increasing tenfold from $12.5 million in 2017 to $124 million in 2019, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The FBI, U.S. Marshals, IRS and police departments nationwide have reported issues in recent years, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been one of the hardest hit.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
GeriPal, a geriatrics and palliative care blog, has released a podcast, Guardianship and End-of-Life Decision Making: A Podcast with Andy Cohen and Liz Dzeng, discussing a recent study led by Dr. Cohen.
The big surprise finding of this study was veterans who were nursing home residents aged 65 and older with moderate to severe dementia and who had a professional guardian were no more likely to receive high‐intensity treatments than the same population who died with decision makers who were not professional guardians. We talk to Andy about his study, potential reasons behind the study, and what, if anything, we should do differently knowing these results. We also talk to Liz about whether substituted judgement is really all that it’s cracked up to be.
The article, Guardianship and End‐of‐Life Care for Veterans with Dementia in Nursing Homes and editorial, We Need a Paradigm Shift Around End‐of‐Life Decision Making, are available here and here.
December 20, 2020 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, December 14, 2020
On Thursday, December 17, 2020, for a webinar through the National Center for State Courts Elders and Courts. The webinar covers "a new web-based interactive tool: the Judicial Response Protocol for Guardianship and Conservatorship abuses (http://www.eldersandcourts.org/guardianship_conservatorship/guardianship-conservatorship-resources-for-courts/responses-to-allegations-of-wrongdoing). This webinar will be helpful for judges and for court staff. This project was developed with the support of the State Justice Institute..'
To register, click here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EuKscJoASJaNSY4hJs2jlg
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Last week I tweeted a link to an article from the AP about poor care in SNFs that wasn't due to COVID, Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care wrote a response; and their full statement is available here.
Consumer Voice has heard from hundreds of families whose loved ones have been harmed by neglect. Family members report that many residents have experienced significant physical decline, such as losing their ability to move, or sit up or stand up without assistance. Others no longer talk because almost no one has spoken to them since March. There are residents who have not been bathed nor had their teeth brushed for months, and residents who have been confined to their rooms -while missing their eyeglasses and hearing aids. One resident sat in her room with a fractured hip for a month – the result of a fall and lack of medical attention, despite complaints of pain for weeks. Weight loss, bed sores, infections, and cognitive decline are ravaging nursing home residents. Much of this suffering could have been prevented.
The statement called on Congress for changes, including '"[ensuring] adequate numbers of well-trained and well-compensated staff. ... [and] [opposition of] any kind of immunity from civil liability for nursing homes" They also called on CMS to "[i]ncrease oversight of resident care ... [and] [r]equire facilities to permit family to conduct compassionate care visits."
November 24, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, November 20, 2020
The ABA Commission on Law & Aging released recently this paper, WINGS Briefing Paper
Advancing Guardianship Reform and Promoting Less Restrictive . Here are some highlights from the report.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded a grant to the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging (ABA Commission) to establish, expand or enhance state Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS)…
This briefing paper discusses the ABA Commission’s WINGS Project, its results, and its potential for positive changes. Specifically, it (1) describes the challenges of adult guardianship reform and the rationale for creating WINGS; (2) presents project findings and conclusions about WINGS; (3) discusses the potential for applying the CIP model to the adult guardianship system; and (4) makes recommendations for next steps in federal policy.
The ACL funding was awarded with the goal of testing whether WINGS is an approach that can advance guardianship reform to:
(a) avoid unnecessary and overbroad guardianship when less restrictive options are available, promoting self-determination; and
(b) prevent, detect and address abuses in the guardianship system.
* * *
While the project WINGS, and indeed all state WINGS, have advanced adult guardianship reform, their modestly funded efforts are not enough to significantly improve outcomes for adults subject to, or potentially subject to, guardianship… Programs like WINGS should exist in every state under a national infrastructure with consistent, ongoing technical assistance and support… [T]he Commission on Law and Aging offers the following … Recommendations:
- Recommendations for Federal Policy
ACL, in coordination with other federal entities, should provide funding to support the following recommendations:
- Support WINGS Through Systems Change Grants
- Administer a five-year WINGS systems change grant initiative.
- Include programmatic requirements for monitoring guardians.
- Create a WINGS capacity-building/technical assistance entity.
- Support local or regional WINGS.
- Take Steps Toward Establishment of a Guardianship Court Improvement Program
Plan for establishment and implementation of a Guardianship Court Improvement Program. Pilot the program and support a capacity-building center.
• Secure federal legislation with appropriations to implement and sustain a Guardianship Court Improvement Program.
The full report is available here.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
I love the Marvel movies and always enjeoyed seeing the cameos of Stan Lee in the movies. I'd heard stories about the last few years of his life.
The Last Days of Stan Lee: A heartbreaking tragedy about the (alleged) abuse of the Marvel Comics creator by those who swear they loved him opens with the telling of a video of Mr. Lee filmed at a Comic Con, followed a few days later by a story in another publication. The article notes that almost 2 years after Mr. Lee's death, there are many unanswered questions and several cases pending in courts:
[A] half-dozen civil suits are pending and a criminal elder-abuse prosecution by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office remains mired in pretrial maneuverings. The courts have yet to shed light on many of the details and the veracity of the elder-abuse charges against several people. Elder-abuse cases are difficult to bring to trial, tough to litigate and hard to win. Was Stan Lee, like 1 in 10 Americans over age 60, a true victim of elder abuse, which can include physical violence, emotional torment, financial exploitation and willful deprivation? Plenty of evidence and testimony suggests that may be true.
The article details the decades of his career and his personal life. The article focuses on Mr. Lee's relationship with those close to him, including his daughter.. As the story wraps up, the writer tells us
THE LAWSUITS churn through the system. Delays give way to delays, and the accused sit mostly at home like the rest of us this year. As with so many elder-abuse cases, those involving the Lee estate will likely come down to “he said, she said.” Except, in this situation, there’s a three-ring circus of barkers and performers who may not have had Lee’s best interest at heart, in a charade that went on for years. Call it the long con, but “those types of relationships are much more difficult to pinpoint as being perpetrators,” said elder-abuse prosecutor Paul Greenwood. “I always say that the longer the victim and suspect have known each other, the more difficult it becomes to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that undue influence was exerted over that person, because sometimes loyalty is rewarded.”
In a less lawyerly explanation, the villain in this story is love. Abuse of the elderly routinely cloaks itself in love, which is, in many cases, returned by the victim. The perpetrators might even call love their motivation.
It will be a while before we know the full story (if ever). Stay tuned.
November 19, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, November 2, 2020
The National Center for Law & Elder Rights is offering a free webinar on November 10, 2020 at 2 eastern on Representing a Person with a Guardian. Here's the info about the webinar
Attorneys, including legal services attorneys, should be open to representing individuals under guardianship. When representing a person with a guardian, an attorney may need to take extra steps to ensure their client has the right to counsel of their choice, and be a strong advocate to ensure that the proceedings are treated with dignity and the client’s due process rights are upheld. By using procedural and evidentiary tools—including alternatives to guardianship—advocates can increase clients’ independence and autonomy and restore their civil rights.
In this training, presenters will share:
Considerations for representing a legally incapacitated client;
Strategies for advocating for clients’ rights;
Standards and burdens for modifying or terminating guardianship; and
Information on requesting reasonable accommodations.
To register for the webinar, click here
Friday, October 16, 2020
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Alliance for Caregiving are offering a free webinar on Tuesday, October 20 at 2 p.m. eastern on Tools for Financial Caregivers of Older Adults.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) will provide a free webinar on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 from 2-3 pm ET. NAC will share findings from its joint study with AARP on caregiving, including ways financial strain can affect caregivers and older adults. The CFPB will share free resources for financial caregivers of older adults, with an emphasis on tips and tools that can be used during the Pandemic to manage someone else’s money.
Gabriela Prudencio – National Alliance for Caregiving
Lisa Weintraub Schifferle – CFPB, Office for Older Americans
Kate Kramer – CFPB, Office for Older Americans
Friday, October 2, 2020
The National Guardianship Association (NGA) has released a September 21, 2020 FAQ for guardians about the pandemic. Frequently Asked Questions by Guardians About the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Here are the top takeaways
• Contact with My Client or Loved One – Maintaining contact is essential, whether remotely or in person.
• Special Considerations for Nursing Home Residents – New federal guidance provides ways you can safely visit a resident in person. While there still may be some restrictions on in person visits, you have a responsibility to maintain contact and monitor well-being through remote access.
• Special Considerations for Residential Groups Settings and Hospitals – While there may be restrictions on in-person visits, you have a responsibility to maintain contact and monitor well-being through remote access.
• Protections and Services for My Client or Loved One in the Community – Maintain contact with your client or loved one in the community, and make sure he or she gets services and supports to maintain health and well-being.
• Access to Courts – Each state determines its own procedures during the pandemic. Courts have made many changes, including implementing or expanding remote hearings, and there may be changes in requirements for timelines, notices, and submission of reports.
• Protecting the Rights and Well-Being of My Client or Loved One – The rights of your client or loved one have not changed, but the pandemic makes it more difficult to exercise certain rights. Take actions to ensure the person receives fair health care treatment, facilities follow safety protocols, and support the individual during this difficult time.
• Protecting the Medical Decisions for My Client or Loved One – Work with health care
providers to ensure that the health care choices and values of your client or loved one are
• Protecting the Finances of My Client or Loved One – As guardian of the estate or conservator,
ensure that your client receives all COVID-19 and other benefits for which he or she is eligible; develop and implement a financial plan that is flexible enough to accommodate demands due to COVID-19; and manage investments and financial affairs with increased vigilance during the pandemic.
• Safety Precautions – Take steps to make sure you are not exposed to or transmitting illness, and to respond if your client or loved one is exposed to COVID-10, shows symptoms, or is hospitalized. Be alert to COVID-19 frauds or scams.
The 20 page FAQ with detailed explanations is available here.
October 2, 2020 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, October 1, 2020
We encourage the use of these best practice tips to aid your communication efforts:
• When anticipating a need to hire a new role on your team, screen for bilingual or multilingual candidates.
• Identify members among your team who speak other languages who you know can assist with outreach when connecting with people who speak different languages.
• Establish a list of translated basic phrases, such as “Do you speak English?”.
• If someone is contacting you by phone and has reception issues (Are they trying to reach you from somewhere remote or out of the country?), try to obtain as much information as possible to contact the person back, in the hopes of establishing a clearer second communication attempt.
• For people requesting information with language barriers or who may be hard-of-hearing, slow down your speaking pace, pronounce words clearly, and repeat phrases when necessary.
The full list of tips is available here.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Two researchers are collecting data on court monitoring involving conservatorships and guardianships.
The National Center for State Courts would like to learn about your experiences with court monitoring practices of guardians and conservators.
This survey is part of the research that [two researchers] are conducting in preparation for the 4th National Guardianship Summit to be held in May 2021, at the Syracuse University Law School.
Please answer the questions with reference to the jurisdiction you are most familiar with. Responding to the survey will take less than 15 minutes of your time. You will not be identified in any manner, as findings from the study will be presented only in the aggregate.
The researchers acknowledge the assistance of the State Justice Institute in conducting this survey.
September 28, 2020 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Mark your calendars for the 2020 Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center Virtual Symposium: The Current State of Elder Law. The symposium will be October 12, from 10-5:45 edt. Here's a description about the program
DePaul’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center is hosting a full day virtual symposium on the area of elder law. Through various panel discussions with experts in the field, panelists and attendees will explore the intersection of family law and elder law, emergency guardianships, advance directives, public benefits, caregivers, choices in end of life matters, protecting your loved ones from financial exploitation, and LGBTQ Seniors. There will also be an elder law case law update that you don't want to miss.
Click here for more info and to register.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
The DOJ announced a guilty plea in a huge prize notification scam, Defendant Pleads Guilty In Multi-Million Dollar Prize Notification Scam Affecting Elderly Victims.
Here's some of the salient information
A Las Vegas area resident charged with perpetrating a prize-notification scheme that bilked victims out of more than $10 million pleaded guilty... to conspiracy to commit mail fraud based on her participation in a scheme that preyed upon hundreds of thousands of victims, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, with fraudulent prize notices. The notices led victims to believe that they could claim a large cash prize if they paid a small fee. This was false; victims who paid the fees did not receive anything of value.
. . .
“The defendant and her co-conspirators exploited the elderly and vulnerable by bombarding them repeatedly with false promises of wealth,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Ethan P. Davis of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the Department’s continuing commitment to bring to justice those who prey upon the elderly.”
The good guys win! Thanks to my colleague, Professor Podgor, for alerting me to this.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
The American Elder Abuse Conference announce its webinar, Elder Fraud Prevention and Response Networks – Building Collaboration, on September 17, 2020 at 2 p.m. edt.
This 90-minute session aims to help establish multi-disciplinary networks (MDTs) and expand the capacity of existing ones to better address the issue of elder financial exploitation. The webinar’s instructors are Jenefer Duane (Senior Program Analyst in the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and Talitha Guinn-Shaver (the Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Team Technical Assistant for the Elder Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice). The event is hosted by the American Elder Abuse Conference, the leading multi-disciplinary national conference dedicated to protecting our elders.
If you need further information, contact the American Elder Abuse Conference at: Events@ElderAbuseConference.org.
Click here to register for the conference.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
At the recent annual meeting, the ABA House of Delegates Urges Congress to Invest in a Guardianship Court Improvement Program.
A Guardianship Court Improvement Program will provide states with the necessary federal
funding and support to improve their court processes and thus the lives of individuals with
guardians by improving outcomes for adults in the system, increasing the use of less restrictive options other than guardianship, and enhancing collaboration among courts, the legal system, and aging and disability networks.
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges Congress to create and fund a Guardianship Court Improvement Program for adult guardianship (following the model of
the State Court Improvement Program for child welfare agencies created in 1993) to
support state court efforts to improve the legal process in the adult guardianship system, improve outcomes for adults subject to or potentially subject to guardianship, increase the use of less restrictive options than guardianship, and enhance collaboration among courts, the legal system, and the aging and disability networks.
Friday, July 24, 2020
APS TARC has released a new brief, Trauma-Informed Approach for Adult Protective Services. This brief includes a discussion trauma and of "The Four Rs of a Trauma-Informed Approach" (realize, recognize, respond and resist). The brief includes information from experts in the field, discusses COVID and APS, and then concludes
As outlined in this brief and highlighted by the guest experts above, there are tools to approach recent challenges posed by COVID-19 using trauma informed approaches. APS research and practice was already beginning to understand the critical intersections between adult maltreatment and trauma and now it’s time to pivot quickly and move forward with research, practice, and training for all levels of APS staff using a trauma-informed framework.
The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), recommends these steps for organizations to “Lead Ahead” during times traumatic times:
Vision - Developing a vision for moving forward
Ask questions – Be curious, be direct
Plan – Develop a plan
Respond – Execute the plan
Innovate – Practice continuous quality improvement (CQI)
(American Public Human Services Association, 2020)
All the APHSA steps listed above can be conducted through a trauma-informed approach framework to cultivate safety, support and resiliency. The road ahead, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be challenging to navigate for everyone. Let us all maintain and grow the resiliency of leadership, staff, and clients to move from urgent, trauma response to recovery response and planning in the days and weeks ahead.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
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:"
Alex Boni-Saenz (Chicago-Kent), Age Diversity
Naomi Cahn (GW) & Nina Kohn (Syracuse), How Law and Sex Shape What It Means to Be Old
Veronica C. Gonzales-Zamora (UNM), The Triple Threat: Millenium Women of Color
Jessica Mantel (Houston), Allocating Scarce Medical Resources During a Pandemic: Rationing Based on Age is not the Same as Rationing Based on Disability
Katherine Pearson (PSU-Dickinson), Pandemic Protections: Where is the Line in Patient Autonomy?
Tara Sklar (U Arizona), Frailty, Vulnerability, and Big Data
Ruqaiijah Yearby (SLU), The Dark (Trinity): How Structural Discrimination, Wealth Inequalities, and Lack of Access to Health Care Cause Health Disparities for Elderly Women of Color
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)