Monday, January 20, 2020

Dispute Resolution Issue on Eldercaring Coordination

The latest issue of the magazine for the Association of Conflict Resolution is devoted to eldercaring coordination. Twelve articles make up the issue. Check it out!

 

January 20, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 13, 2020

DOJ Elder Justice Initiative Resources for Law Enforcement

The Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative has some great resources for all of us. The EJI recently released a number of resources for law enforcement, located here.

The resources include information about an online training from the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C),  downloadable fliers, data, the Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE), roll call videos and more.

Although the resources are targeted for law enforcement, they are still very helpful to others. In particular, I thought this chart showing how the different departments within law enforcement might encounter victims of elder abuse. I think this will help my students more fully understand the numerous ways these cases come to light. Check it out!

 

January 13, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other | Permalink

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Report from 2020 AALS Annual Meeting Section on Aging and the Law

For the last few years, I've found myself with conflicts during semester breaks that interfered with attending the AALS Annual Meeting.  So I was especially happy this year to attend and catch up with long-time and new friends, especially those who work in fields relevant to elder law.  

The annual meeting kicked off for me with a Joint Session hosted by the Sections on Aging and the the Law, Civil Rights, Family & Juvenile Law, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, and Immigration Law.  The collaborative event offered lots of interesting "Emerging Issues in Elder Law," with speakers including:

Mark Bauer, Stetson Law, who spoke about recent enforcement efforts to combat elder exploitation, and pointed to a lingering weakness associated with banks that make SARS reports that never go beyond the regulatory body, and therefore never reach first responders, such as local police.  He talked about support for a state-wide effort in Florida to improve police reports to make it easier to identify abusers who target older persons.  He also called for better record-keeping for sales of gift cards, as these have become the number 1 method that telephone scammers get older adults to send them money.  

Wendy Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law, who focused on the impact of immigration laws and policies on the health of older adults, including attempts by the current administration to change the definition of "public charge" to include anyone who could receive any public benefits whatsoever,  thereby expanding the the pool of inadmissible immigrants and further restricting eligibility for legal permanent residency.  She traced the impacts of such policies on older adults once eligible for family reunification, on older citizens overall, and on a nation that once took pride in providing help to immigrants who were "tired and poor."

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, Duquesne Law, who talked about how some states are not applying sentencing reforms to elderly offenders, even though such inmates statistically are at the least risk of reoffending and, at 19% of the total prison population, are often generating care costs that are unsustainable.  I learned, sadly, that my own state of Pennsylvania is one of the states that is not yet making significant progress on sentencing reforms for older adults.

Rachel Lopez, Drexel University Law, who is director of Drexel's Stern Community Lawyering Clinic, carried forward the theme of needed prison reforms for older inmates, reporting the latest events that follow the Graterford Think Tank Prison Project in Pennsylvania, and making the sobering observation that the most effective argument may not be one that sounds in human rights or human dignity, but the demonstration that return to the community for aging and ill residents saves the state money.  

Naomi Cahn, George Washington Law, who is also the incoming chair for the AALS Section on Law and Aging, presented facts and figures on "gray divorce," especially with respect to financial impacts on women.  She urged a de-coupling of Social Security benefits from marriage (or perhaps marriage longevity requirements), arguing that Social Security credits should be available for time spent as caregivers.  

Browne Lewis, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, pointed to the emerging issue of "reproductive rights" for older individuals, identifying jurisdictions that restrict women's access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) including placing age or time restrictions on use of banked or stored eggs.

For faculty members who would like to be part of next year's Law and Aging program at the 2021 AALS Annual meeting in San Francisco, contact Naomi Cahn with your topics and interest.  

January 8, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, International, Retirement, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elder Justice Mapping Webinar

Register now for an upcoming webinar from the Department of Justice webinar on Mapping Elder Justice Networks.  The webinar is scheduled for January 21, 2020  at 2 p.m. est.   Here is info about the webinar

Join us for the webinar, Mapping Elder Justice Networks, where we will introduce the new Elder Justice Networks Locator. 

The Locator is a map designed to help elder justice professionals to locate and collaborate with elder justice networks/teams across the nation.  Networks will be added in an on-going fashion.

This webinar will discuss the development of this resource, walk through how to find and use the Locator, and explain how to submit your network for inclusion.

Mapping Elder Justice Networks

Talitha Guinn-Shaver, Presenter

The Locator represents the teams that have provided information to participate in this project. Networks interested in being included in the Locator may submit their network name, type, address, web address and email to elder.justice@usdoj.gov. Please note that for-profit organizations and dot coms cannot be included.  Other rules may apply.  Submission is not a guarantee of inclusion in the Locator.

To register for this webinar, click here.

January 8, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Programs/CLEs, State Cases, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Reframing Elder Abuse on Social Media-New Webinar

National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) and National Center on Elder Abuse is offering a webinar on Friday January 24, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. est, on How to Reframe Elder Abuse on Social Media.

Over the past few years, the NCEA’s Reframing Elder Abuse project, an initiative to change the way we talk about elder abuse with the public has built momentum. The project aims to demonstrate how we can restructure our communities to put elder abuse on the public agenda, generate a sense of collective efficacy on the issue, and boost support for systemic solutions to prevent and address it. Social media can be the first, and in some ways, the easiest place to begin to reframe how the public thinks about elder abuse. During this webinar, participants will review best practices in public communications on elder abuse based on an evidence-based strategy and receive tips and resources in social media application.

Click here to register for this webinar.

January 7, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 3, 2020

New Personal Safety Toolkit for APS Staff

Adult Protective Services Technical Assistance Resource Center released a new personal safety toolkit.

APS casework can create personal safety risk for staff conducting investigations, assessments, and home visits. The safety of personnel can have a noticeable impact on the ability of APS programs to provide services to the adults who need them most. Commitment to worker safety includes maintaining a safe work environment with a focus on prevention, mental health training, and emergency preparedness planning.

The purpose of this toolkit is to provide a resource to administrators and front-line staff to increase the safety of APS staff. It includes helpful information such as a presentation slide template for basic training, smart technology tips, and policies and procedures. APS programs are encouraged to add program logos, emergency contact numbers, etc., to customize the templates to fit their needs. The APS TARC requests that any adapted materials be credited to us.

Resources that make up the toolkit include a webinar, slides. sample procedures and policies, smart phone apps, and more, accessible here.

 

January 3, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Save the Date: Reframing Elder Abuse on Social Media Webinar

Here's a save the date announcement about an important upcoming webinar on Friday January 24, 2020 at 8 a.m. est, 11 pst. 

National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) and National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) presents:

How to Reframe Elder Abuse on Social MediaWebinar

Over the past few years, the NCEA’s Reframing Elder Abuse project, an initiative to change the way we talk about elder abuse with the public has built momentum. The project aims to demonstrate how we can restructure our communities to put elder abuse on the public agenda, generate a sense of collective efficacy on the issue, and boost support for systemic solutions to prevent and address it. Social media can be the first, and in some ways, the easiest place to begin to reframe how the public thinks about elder abuse. During this webinar, participants will review best practices in public communications on elder abuse based on an evidence-based strategy and receive tips and resources in social media application.

Mark your calendars to register for the webinar, once registration is open.

December 17, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 16, 2019

New Resource on Hoarding Disorders

The National Center on Law & Elder Rights released a new FAQ on hoarding disorders. Frequently Asked Questions: Hoarding Disorders and Older Adult discusses several important FAQs including how to differentiate between hoarding and clutter or being unorganized, how hoarding is different than collecting, available tools to identify potential hoarding disorders, what to do when hoarding is a factor in the person’s eviction, therapies for treating hording, resources and more. Corresponding PowerPoint slides from a legal training webinar are available here.  Accompanying materials on self-neglect can be accessed here with the link to the webinar recording here.

December 16, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

New Replication Guide on Guardianship WINGS Projects

WINGS (the Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders) 2019 Replication Guide has been released by the American Bar Association Commission on Law & Aging. The replication manual makes a case for reform, gives an update and then provides info on the 10 core principles of WINGS. It then provides a step-by-step guide for launching a WINGS project in a state, and concludes with this thought

WINGS can breathe fresh air into the drive by courts and community stakeholders to advance adult guardianship reform and promote less restrictive options. WINGS have sparked numerable interactions that can have ripple effects in the lives of vulnerable people. WINGS is collective impact at work!

The full replication manual is available here.

November 21, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Guidelines for Financial Institutions

The National Adult Protective Services Assoc  (NAPSA) and the Philly Corp. on Aging have released  National Guidelines for Financial Institutions: Working Together to Protect Older Persons from Financial Abuse.

The Guidelines and forms were introduced at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event on June 11, 2019 at the Securities and Exchange Commission designed to promote standardization and clarity among financial institutions and Adult Protective Services. We are asking that all APS programs use this form to request records from financial institutions.

The full guidelines are available here.

November 18, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Passes House

HR 4334, Dignity in Aging, which provides appropriations for the Older Americans Act through 2024, passed the House of Representatives on October 28, 2019. The text of the bill is available here.  According to a press release from the Elder Justice Coalition which brought this good news to my email box,

EJC National Coordinator Bob Blancato said, “The bill retains the all-important Title VII of the Older Americans Act, especially maintaining funding for the work of the long-term care ombudsman program. We support a new provision in the bill which updates elder justice activities to include community outreach and education and ensures innovative projects capture programs and materials for developing partnerships in communities.”

Blancato continued, “Further, we are hopeful that the 35 percent increase in authorization provided for the five-year life of the bill will be followed by adequate appropriations to allow this new initiative to go forward without reducing any existing funding related to elder abuse prevention.”

The EJC also appreciates the continued authority contained in the bill for the National Center on Elder Abuse and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, as well as the new codification of the National Resource Center on Women and Retirement.

Other new provisions in the bill include first-time social isolation screening, further coordination of services to address this issue, and creation of an advisory council on social isolation. Since social isolation is a leading risk factor for elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, these interventions are critical to preventing abuse and neglect.

You can sign up to track the bill and get updates here.

Blancato also had special praise for the Education and Labor Committee’s Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Chair Suzanne Bonamici for her leadership on this bill and noted that she is also the co-chair of the House Elder Justice Caucus.

November 13, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Elder Justice Toolkit Released

The National Center on Law & Elder Rights   has announced the release of the Elder Justice Toolkit.  According to the website

The Elder Justice Toolkit is a resource created by the National Center on Law & Elder Rights. It contains practical information on civil legal remedies, practice tips, and sample pleadings for attorneys seeking protection and redress for their clients who have experienced elder abuse. Multiple states’ perspectives are considered and used as examples, but the Toolkit is designed for national use.

Some of the resources contained in the Elder Justice Toolkit have come from legal assistance organizations and have been re-formatted or re-purposed by NCLER...

This resource will continue to grow and have materials added to it over time. To receive NCLER communications and updates on resources, sign up here.

To find additional resources on elder justice topics, please read our Elder Justice Compendium.

A collection of our elder abuse webcast trainings can be found here.

Each topic includes a summary, an issue brief and step-by-step guide and a video.  Here's an example of an issue brief on mandatory reporting for elder abuse cases.

Check it out and bookmark the webpage!

November 11, 2019 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2019

New Resources on Elder Abuse

Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be a lot of items in the news of late about elder abuse. Here are some new tools to add to your toolbox in the fight against elder abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) have released 3 new fact sheets:

  1. Six Ways to Care for Yourself When Caring for Someone with Dementia 
  2. NAPCA: Emotional Abuse and
  3. NAPCA: Neglect

All of the fact sheets are available in several languages and are added to an extensive library of fact sheets.

 

November 8, 2019 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Scams & Older Adults: The Picture Isn't Pretty

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent a report to Congress, Protecting Older Consumers 2018-2019: A Report of the Federal Trade Commission.   Here is the introduction to the 40 page report:

As the nation’s primary consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has a broad mandate to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace.1 It does this by, among other things, filing law enforcement actions to stop unlawful practices and, when possible, returning money to consumers. The FTC also protects the public through education and outreach on consumer protection issues. Through research and collaboration with federal, state, international, and private sector partners, the FTC strategically targets its efforts to achieve the maximum benefits for consumers, including older adults. Protecting older consumers in the marketplace is one of the FTC’s top priorities. Unfortunately, in numerous FTC cases, older  adults have been targeted or disproportionately affected by fraud. For example, the FTC has brought numerous enforcement actions in federal court to stop deceptive technical support schemes that affected older consumers.As the population of older adults grows,the FTC’s aggressive efforts to bring law enforcement action against scams that affect them, as well as provide useful consumer advice, become increasingly important.

The FTC submits this second annual report to the Committees on the Judiciary of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to fulfill the reporting requirements of Section 101(c)(2) of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017. The law requires the FTC Chairman to file a report listing the FTC’s enforcement actions “over the preceding year in each case in which not less than one victim was an elder or that involved a financial scheme or scam that was either targeted directly toward or largely affected elders.” Given the large number of consumers affected in FTC actions, this list includes every administrative and federal district court action filed in the one-year period. Appendix A to this report lists all of the FTC’s enforcement actions over the preceding year. In addition to the list, the FTC files this report to provide detail on the agency’s efforts to protect older consumers, including its research and strategic initiatives, its law enforcement actions that noted an impact on older adults, and its targeted consumer education and outreach.

(citations omitted)

The full report is available here.

November 7, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other | Permalink

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Upcoming Webinars on Elder Abuse

There are two upcoming webinars you won't want to miss. First, register for the How to Talk About Elder Abuse webinar  on November 13 at 1 eastern. According to the announcement

Over the past few years, the FrameWorks Institute worked with the National Center on Elder Abuse to create a communication strategy that demonstrates how we can restructure our communities to put elder abuse on the public agenda, generate a sense of collective efficacy on the issue, and boost support for systemic solutions to prevent and address it. During this webinar, participants will learn about the NCEA’s Reframing Elder Abuse project; review a new evidence-based public communication strategy on elder abuse; and begin learning how to apply it in their communication practices.

To register, click here.

The next webinar, on December 3, at 2 eastern, covers New Research on Elder Abuse Among American Indian and Alaska Native Populations,

The webinar which is hosted by the National Center on Elder Abuse at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, will cover the following:

Many tribal communities are experiencing a silent epidemic of abuse of older adults. Limited research on elder abuse has suggested higher rates of abuse among tribal elders, yet little is known about promising strategies that can be implemented to prevent or manage cases of abuse. This webinar will provide an overview of elder abuse in Indian Country, including recent research identifying new national-level prevalence rates and predictors of abuse among American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Rates of various types of elder abuse for Native Americans-- almost double that of overall findings from original study findings -- will be shared. The unique, complex context that intersects to shape abuse correlates for tribal elders such as history of trauma, social support, and emotional problems will be discussed. Findings from a recent national needs assessment focused on screening and management of elder abuse in tribal health settings that included tribal health care providers, elder advocates, Title VI staff, and tribal Adult Protection Services will also be shared. Presenters will identify promising practices and strategies identified in the needs assessment, as well as a series of recommendations that can be implemented in local tribal communities to help combat elder abuse.

To register, click here.

November 5, 2019 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Programs/CLEs, State Statutes/Regulations, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pennsylvania's Unique Role for Older Adult Advocacy in State Government

On Monday, I participated in a panel discussion of aging services in Pennsylvania, at the invitation of Professor Patricia Aguilera-Hermida, who is on the faculty of Human Services and Family Studies at Penn State Harrisburg.  Even though I knew most of the panelists -- all experienced professionals from Pennsylvania's Department of Aging -- the occasion gave me new insight and respect for the role of advocacy on behalf of older adults.  The students were attentive and asked great questions, and I suspect some of them saved their best questions for the one-on-one time with the speakers.

Penn State Harrisburg  Panel on Aging Services 10.22.19

Robert Torres, the Secretary of Aging in Pennsylvania reminded us that our state has a uniquely strong, dedicated funding system to advocate for older adults through the Pennsylvania Lottery.  About 80% of the department's operations and outreach budget is funded by this source.  As anyone who has worked in state or federal government would know, the "fight" for adequate funding for operations can be intense, and in many states older adults would not have a strong position in the queue for necessary dollars.

The breadth of programming outlined by the panelists is impressive. For example,  Christine Miccio, Director of the Bureau of Aging Services described in detail the OPTIONS program that provides direct support for more than 55,000 older adults who are still in their homes. Pennsylvania also has more than 500 publicly supported Senior Centers -- a way to reach additional people with meals, health care information, activities and social programs.  Margaret Barajas, a dynamo who is the Statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman, explained how a system of volunteer and paid advocates investigate and coordinate responses to concerns about senior living-based needs, including concerns about quality of services in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  Denise Getgen, as director of the Older Adult Protective Services Office, described the ever growing need for investigation of complaints about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.  In recent years, the number of complaints received and investigated by the state has grown to over 40,000 allegations per year, with the majority of concerns focusing on self-neglect for persons in isolated circumstances.  I've worked with several of these units directly over the years, especially when I was head of my Law School's Elder Protection Clinic.  Pennsylvania's Area Agencies on Aging continue to fund and coordinate certain free legal services for seniors in need in each county throughout the state.

One student asked about whether services from the Department are limited to "citizens" of the United States -- and it was impressive to hear the long list of services that are NOT restricted by citizenship.  Another student tossed a "softball" question -- "what is your favorite program?" -- and Christine Miccio hit it out of the park by describing the success of a new pilot program in rural Pennsylvania that matches up older adults who need housing or assistance -- with those who can provide housing or assistance.   She joked that she is now the eHarmony of housing matches, especially as the original pilot program is extending to several additional counties.  

My thanks to Professor Aguilera-Hermida for hosting this noon-time chat with so many students who are considering a wide range of aging services as part of their career goals.  One enterprising student explained to me that her interest in the field of gerontology at medical school was sparked when she found affordable housing as a student in a well-known, nearby nursing home that had "extra" space.  

October 22, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Loosening the Regs of Florida ALFs?

The Tampa Bay Times ran an article a few days ago that raises some important issues. Florida’s assisted living facilities write rules on reporting deaths, injuries . explains the current reporting requirements when a resident is injured and the proposed change to the requirement.

When a resident in one of Florida’s assisted living facilities falls, dies or is seriously injured, that facility is required to tell the state within one business day that something has gone wrong. But a bill before lawmakers would give operators weeks to report such critical incidents — potentially leaving residents in harm’s way, elder advocates warn.

Industry groups for assisted living facilities, which crafted much of the bill’s language and handed it to lawmakers, say the one-day reports are not needed, and eliminating them will reduce onerous paperwork and unnecessary administrative fines.

Hang on for a second and think about this.  There must be a reason for the current requirement... and advocates say it's because they "are necessary to inform state regulators quickly of potential incidents, and that the change is part of a decades-long deregulation of the industry that could put residents at greater risk."

The section on adverse incidents involves one of the key methods for alerting regulators when something goes wrong. Currently, an initial report must be filed if a resident dies, sustains serious injuries, goes missing or is transferred to a hospital or other facility for more intensive care — and facility administrators think they may be responsible.

Assisted living facilities are required by statute to submit up to two reports: one within one business day after an incident, and another full report within 15 days if the facility determines it is responsible. When a report is filed, the Agency for Health Care Administration can then use it to initiate an investigation if it raises concerns about resident safety.

The proposal requires just 1 report that is filed by 15 days, when the facility makes the decision that " the incident happened in the scope of its care, though it would direct the facility to begin investigating the incident within 24 hours" the article reports. The article indicates that the bill was brought by the Florida Senior Living Association, and is supported by AHCA. Advocates for residents take the opposing few-that is more regulation rather than less.  The bill's sponsor in the Florida Senate is quoted as saying "the legislation [is] a “modernization” bill that would primarily update language in the statute, and allow residents to use devices to move around more easily or prevent falls.... [and that] the language to reduce the number of adverse incident reports was meant to bring assisted living facilities in line with a recent change made to reduce those reports for nursing homes, and “to make sure the language would be as similar as possible." Although the Senator has spoken primary with the industry folks, she plans to talk to resident groups too, the article reports.

Read the bill and follow it. If you live in Florida, let your elected representative know your position on this. If you live in another state, pay attention anyway. The revisions could be proposed in other states as well.

October 15, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Updated Resources in the Fight vs. Elder Abuse

NAPSA has announced two resources for the fight vs. elder abuse. The first is an updated version of the National Guidelines for Financial Institutions: Working Together to Protect Older Persons from Financial Abuse. "The Guidelines and forms [are] ... designed to promote standardization and clarity among financial institutions and Adult Protective Services."  Note that the guidelines include a variety of useful forms, which are accessible here in addition to their inclusion in the guidelines. 

NAPSA also announced  the creation of  "the National Clearinghouse on Financial Exploitation, your "go to" for for all things related to financial exploitation. The Clearinghouse will provide answers to questions, links to resources, introduction to partners and problem solving to help strengthen our resources and partnerships in our fight against financial exploitation."

Go to NAPSA-Now for more information and resources.

October 13, 2019 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

GAO Report: Protecting Vets from Financial Exploitation

The GAO recently issued this report, Veterans Benefits: Actions VA Could Take to Better Protect Veterans from Financial Exploitation. Here are the highlights from the report

Why This Matters

Veterans with disabilities who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be tempting targets for exploitation and scams. Veterans and their survivors who need help performing everyday activities, like bathing and dressing, can receive increased pension benefits known as aid and attendance.

Key Takeaways

VA paid $3.2 billion in total pension benefits to 232,000 recipients of aid and attendance in fiscal year 2018. Most recipients were over 80.

Scams that target them include:

  • being overcharged for home care, or charged for services they did not receive, and
  • getting bad investment advice from financial services organizations.

VA does not centrally collect and analyze information, such as complaints made against companies, that could show the prevalence of these scams, help VA target outreach to veterans, and help law enforcement go after scammers.

Other threats to veterans include:

  • VA’s applications do not warn them about exploitation or scams: For example, forms do not warn veterans that they cannot be charged fees for filing claims.
  • Misdirected benefit payments: VA does not always verify direct deposit information on applications, which could lead to payments being stolen. In contrast, the Social Security Administration verifies this information by reviewing individuals’ checks or account statements.
  • What GAO Recommends

    We made four recommendations to VA, including that it collect better information on potential financial exploitation, post warnings on applications, and examine if it should take more steps to verify veterans' direct deposit information. VA agreed in principle with the need to collect better information, but its proposed actions do not fully address our concerns. VA agreed with the other three recommendations.

The full report is available here.

October 8, 2019 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Veterans | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Cognitive Impairments and Using Technology

Who among us doesn't have a smart phone or computer, or even a tablet? They are not only ubiquitous, they are integral, and perhaps essential, to our daily lives.  What happens when someone, due to cognitive impairments, is no longer able to use these devices? Kaiser Health News made that the subject of a recent article. The Delicate Issue Of Taking Away A Senior’s Smartphone describes the potential problems

Increasingly, families will encounter similar concerns as older adults become reliant on computers, cellphones and tablets: With cognitive impairment, these devices become difficult to use and, in some cases, problematic.

Computer skills may deteriorate even “before [older adults] misplace keys, forget names or display other more classic signs of early dementia,” Zorowitz wrote recently on a group email list for geriatricians. (He’s based in New York City and senior medical director for Optum Inc., a health services company.)

“Deciding whether to block their access to their bank accounts, stocks and other online resources may present the same ethical dilemmas as taking away their car keys.”

Consider that some folks stay in touch with family and friends through their digital lives. But also consider how scammers can use email to perpetrate a fraud.  The article notes a difficulty in using these devices---a difficulty that did not previously exist--may be an indicator of cognitive issues signaling a need for a comprehensive exam of cognition.  Family can be helpful, but still realize there are issues

[B]eware of appropriating someone’s passwords and using them to check email or online bank or brokerage accounts. “Without consent, it’s a federal crime to use an individual’s password to access their accounts,” said Catherine Seal, an elder-law attorney at Kirtland & Seal in Colorado Springs, Colo. Ideally, consent should be granted in writing.

The article notes that some with dementia lose interest in their devices, but that is not true for everyone-it depends on the type of cognitive impairment.  "More difficult, often, are situations faced by people with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which affects a person’s judgment, self-awareness and ability to assess risk." The article then profiles the experiences of a noted elder law attorney and friend of mine, whose husband as an FTD diagnosis. She shared the steps she takes to keep her husband safe online.

Read the entire article, especially the last part where personal experiences and tips are shared.  It's an important topic-we all need to think about this and plan for the eventuality in case we need to give up our digital word.

October 3, 2019 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)