Thursday, September 2, 2021
I'm a fan of Star Trek. I'm not a hard core Trekkie, but I enjoy all the variations of Star Trek, whether movie or TV. I was saddened to read about a conservatorship battle surrounding the trailblazing actor Nichelle Nichols, our beloved Lieutenant Uhura. Inside the heartbreaking conservatorship battle of a 'Star Trek' legend explains that "[a] three-way fight over Nichols’ fate involves her only child, Kyle Johnson, who is also her conservator; her former manager Gilbert Bell; and a concerned friend, Angelique Fawcette." Here's a brief summary. "In 2018, Johnson filed a petition for conservatorship, arguing that his mother’s dementia made her susceptible to exploitation. In 2019, Bell filed a lawsuit against Johnson, alleging attempts to remove him from Nichols’ guest home, where he has lived since 2010, and 'aggressive and combative behavior.'" Here's how the neighbor came into the suit. "Fawcette, a producer and actress who met Nichols in 2012, entered the legal fight opposing Johnson’s conservatorship petition. Fawcette pushed for visitation rights to spend time with her friend, and she argued for Nichols to stay in Woodland Hills — a scenario that has looked increasingly improbable."
The article goes in depth into her life and career and how the current litigation came to be, including declining health, a power of attorney, transfers of assets, a conversation about marriage and more. Ms. Nichols is not the first famous person to be in the center of a conservatorship fight, nor will she be the last.
Thanks to Julie Kitzmiller for sending me the link to the story.
September 2, 2021 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Film, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases | Permalink | Comments (1)
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Remember when you went to the movie theater (I know, it's been a while) and before the movie, there would be displayed on the screen that the movie would be in Dolby sound. Well, guess what. Dolby is more than sound. Dolby is the man who invented it, Ray Dolby to be exact. Mr. Dolby died a few years back from Alzheimer's. It's only fitting that his son has released a new movie, The Artist's Wife, abut Alzheimer's, New Film "The Artist’s Wife" Tells the Story of a Family Navigating an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis.
The film, described as "show[ing] the difficult and often raw dynamics of a family facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis ... stars Lena Olin and Bruce Dern, and [Dolby's] own family’s experience facing the disease." An interview with the filmmaker about the film and his family experiences is available here.
The Alzheimer's Association is doing an advance screening of the film. "Visit this link to register to watch “The Artist’s Wife” before it is released in theaters and virtual cinemas on September 25. Access is limited, so please reserve your spot today. The film is currently only available to U.S. viewers."
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
One of the questions I ask my students at the beginning of the semester is to quickly tell me characteristics of someone the students consider to be old. I typically get responses that involve wrinkles, grey hair, use of assistive mobility devices and the like. I will sometimes ask them to tell me about positive aging representations in television and movies. In the past someone would mention the Golden Girls, now I'm not so sure current generations of students are familiar with the show, so instead I expect someone to mention Grace and Frankie.
To this point, I was quite interested in the project between AARP and Getty Images, Media Image: Age Representation in Online Images. The report from AARP reveals the common use of negative images in media to portray elders.
Visual portrayals and stock photography build and reinforce stereotypes. The current landscape of online images does not accurately reflect the 50-plus population. This portrayal may exacerbate ageism in the workplace by rarely showing adults age 50-plus at work or with technology but rather as isolated or dependent on others for assistance. Images are often intended as heartwarming, showing younger people helping the 50-plus, but this portrayal has unintended consequences.This media scan suggests that visual representations need to reflect greater diversity and authenticity. Specifically, more images are needed that portray older adults as independent and actively engaged in their communities. In addition, more images are needed that show the 50-plus in work settings and using technology with confidence.
Here are some of the key findings from AARP's study
- Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. are 50 and older, but only 15 percent of the random sample of images studied showed people in this age group. That's fewer than 1 in 7 images.
- Adults 50-plus are portrayed in a positive light 72 percent of the time. That's much less than people 49 or younger, who are featured in a positive light 96 percent of the time.
- Although 1 in 3 people in the U.S. labor force are age 50-plus, only 13 percent of online media images show a middle-aged or older adult in a work setting.
To remedy this, AARP & Getty have launched an online collection of positive stock aging that can be licensed for use, AARP and Getty Images Launch Photo Collection to Fight Ageism.
To fight ageism and illustrate the active lifestyles of adults age 50-plus, AARP has joined with Getty Images in launching a collection of more than 1,400 stock photos available for a fee to media outlets, ad agencies and other firms.
The Disrupt Aging Collection features photos of older Americans as vibrant and engaged, some of whom are singing, skiing, swimming in the sea, traveling abroad, playing team sports and hoisting adult beverages with their friends at the beach.
Check out the photos here. Now, if only they were free....
Monday, February 25, 2019
The 2019 Oscars are behind us. Prior to the awards being announced, there was some attention given to the potential for recipients breaking the "age ceiling." The NYC Elder Abuse Center published this blog post, 2019 Oscar Watch: Actors Set to Break the Silver Ceiling. Noting the issues of ageism and the ability of computers to make folks look years younger, the post references a recent study showing lack of progress on inclusivity in film. "While adults 50 and older make up more than 30 percent of all moviegoers, the study found less than one-third of the highest-grossing films of 2017 featured a male 45 years of age or older at the time of theatrical release. Only five films featured a woman in the same age bracket, including Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler, Judi Dench, Halle Berry, and Frances McDormand." The blog post lists various nominees who are older, and also points out that the documentary about Justice Ginsburg is also up for an award.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Periodically as elder law profs, we have shared ideas for videos that we might use in our classes. It seems to me that it's been a while since we have done that, so I thought I'd share that I used the movie UP by Pixar recently in discussing property concepts regarding people who are older. I thought the first 15-20 minutes were good illustrations of aging in place, new urbanism, ageism, ADLs, crimes, stereotyping and even land use principles. Particularly the sequence that shows the husband and wife aging together is very compelling as the entire segment has no dialogue, yet the students completely know what was going on.
Any of you elder law profs have movies you use in your classes?
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Bryan Devore, an engaging realtor in California, recently wrote to me to report on his latest venture, a cable television program devoted to showing folks how to consider options for senior living. After I reviewed the first promotional trailer, I joked with Bryan about whether his target channel was HGTV, a favorite in my own family (resulting in the fact that now we know all too much about shiplap and sliding barn doors). Bryan responded by joking that perhaps the Lifetime network was the better target.
In any event, the concept is now "reality" and the first episode of Senior Savers TV is available. You can catch the 30 minute episode (with surprisingly interesting commercials for those of us who track senior living marketing topics) here:
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
We all know that family dynamics are not always the most pleasant and can lead to strife, stress and litigation. Kaiser Health News ran a recent story that details a conflict within a family. A Tale of Love, Family Conflict And Battles Over Care For An Aging Mother focuses on the story “'Edith + Eddie,' a short documentary vying for an Academy Award Sunday,[which] is a gripping look at a couple in their 90s caught up in an intense family conflict over caring for an aging parent." The short film starts a few months after the couples' marriage and ends (spoiler alert) "months later with the couple being separated by Edith’s court-appointed legal guardian, with police on the scene, and Edith taken off abruptly to Florida. Shockingly, Eddie died only a few weeks later." Interwoven with the love story are allegations within Edith's family of fighting siblings, guardianship and financial concerns.
The movie is focused on the love story. The columnist took a broader approach, diving into the family dynamics, finding "[t]hree daughters in distress over the care of an aged mother and roiled by disputes played out in courtrooms among far-flung siblings." Eventually two of the three daughters were named co-guardians , but even so, the road was bumpy; "the sisters for years had bickered over what was best for their mother." The marriage occurred after the guardianship was established, so the question of the validity of the marriage was also at play here. The co-guardians didn't work well together. One wouldn't consult the other and moved her mother frequently without telling the other family members of the mother's location. Finally a non-relative guardian was appointed, but even she wasn't able too keep track of the mother's location. The guardian wanted Edith to go to Florida for a bit so the guardian could find an appropriate ALF for her. After more hurdles, Edith finally went to Florida where her health slowly began to improve.
The story ends with this "Edith passed away last March of natural causes at the age of 98, after living with her daughter in Florida through the end of her life. She never went to an institution. Her home wasn’t sold until after her death; there was no attempt to plunder her estate by lawyers or family members. That’s the other story of Edith+Eddie."
Watch the film. Read the article. Lots of class discussion could come out of this.
March 7, 2018 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Film, Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, November 27, 2017
A Frameworks Institute initiative, Reframing Aging, now includes a free video on reframing aging and ageism. The video can be ordered here. (Although free, you still need to enter your contact information and then receive an email with login info to start the course. The course info explains that the "lecture series, [provides] a guided tour of how to use new, evidence-based framing strategies to communicate more powerfully about aging as a social policy issue." The sponsors of the lecture series are Grantmakers in Aging and the Leaders of Aging Organizations. Topics include “What's in a Name?,” “The Swamp of Cultural Models,” “Rethinking Narrative,” “Stories to Stop Telling,” “Embracing the Dynamic” and “Confronting Injustice.
Monday, November 6, 2017
PBS NewsHour has been running a series of interviews, Brief but Spectacular, where the subject opines on the question: what vital things make life spectacular. They recently aired their 100th episode, which featured a person who is 92 years old and who has begun to have memory problems. You can read the transcript here or listen to the audio of the interview here. Another interviewee, a 91 year old author, opines on aging with grace. That transcript can be accessed here. You can access the full series here.
Monday, June 26, 2017
LGBTQ older adults face unique challenges as they age—caused by a lifetime of discrimination and bias. LGBTQ older adults are more likely to be poor and face social isolation because of thin family support structures. They may also have difficulty visiting doctors, receiving competent care that’s tailored to their needs, or even finding an attorney who understands their issues. Since June is Pride month, and much of the point of Pride is to promote visibility of LGBTQ people, we created a short video, See Me Age in Dignity, to bring visibility to the unique needs of LGBTQ older adults as they age. Please watch the video and share it widely. This video was created as a companion piece to our 2016 Special Report on the unique legal needs of older adults.
It was worth watching last year and it's worth watching now!
Friday, June 23, 2017
Are you aware of the Coming of Age in Aging America Project, a "one hour documentary distributed by American Public Television [that] asks … 'What will it mean for us all to grow up, live and age in a society where a third of the population is over age 65?' We are an aging society – and will continue to be. Coming of Age in Aging America explores the demanding reality of this permanent transformational phenomenon."
According to the website
Coming of Age in an Aging America is an extensive public media project aimed at creating conversation and action to productively shape America as an aging society. Content was developed in collaboration with the MacArthur Network on Aging and Society.
are an aging society – and will continue to be. Coming of Age in Aging America explores the demanding reality of this permanent transformational phenomenon.
It will air June 30-July 1, 2017 on the WORLD channel.
Monday, May 15, 2017
Here's a seven-minute video on elder financial abuse, focusing mostly on "scam artists," from the Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Banking & Securities. You might find this useful for classes.
I found the discussion of "mild cognitive impairment" interesting, especially as it allows a conversation about planning without the dreaded words, dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.
May 15, 2017 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
A new one hour documentary, Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts, is scheduled to begin airing nationally on PBS stations on Wednesday, January 25.
In part, the documentary will focus on research funding issues. Dr. Ruby Tanzi, a Harvard Medical School researcher who appears on the film, explained for NextAvenue's website:
We should be absolutely panicked at the government level. When the Medicare and Medicaid [treatment and care] bill for Alzheimer’s goes from one in five dollars to one in three dollars — that could happen over the next decade with baby boomers getting older — we could single-handedly collapse Medicare and Medicaid with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, the government [research funding for Alzheimer's] has gone up to about a billion dollars. Which is great, it’s more money. It’s still not the billions of dollars that go to other age-related diseases. I’m glad that cancer and heart disease and AIDS get many billions of dollars, but Alzheimer’s has to get as much or more now given the epidemic and the urgency here with how many cases we’re going to have.
It’s going to crush us. Never mind the social burden on the families. I might add that two-thirds of patients are women. And most caregivers are women. What’s going to happen when so much of our female population is (struck) with this disease? So it’s a huge problem and if we don’t throw a ton of money at it now, it’ll be a disaster.
For more information on the documentary, including links to watch it on-line (free!), see PBS "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts." There is an important opportunity here for schools, including law schools, to host an airing of the documentary to promote discussion about strategies.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Huffington Post's Huff/Post 50 ran a story with an accompanying video, Millennials Show The World What They Believe ‘Old’ Looks Like. Not unexpectedly, their initial impressions involved some stereotypical perceptions of those who are older. Then watch the video to see what they have learned and how their views changed. Show the video to your class!
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
What a career Sally Fields has had, and all of her experience in playing determined, flawed, and intriguing characters comes into play in her central role in the recently released movie, "Hello, My Name is Doris." Lots to talk about here -- caregivers in family roles, friendship, hording, ageism-- including what it means to be an invisible woman of a certain age, who, after the death of her mother, decides to break away. Many laughs too (some of them rueful).
Friday, March 18, 2016
I was mulling over some recent press surrounding the announcement about the 5th Indiana Jones movie, starring Harrison Ford. The articles I saw were stories about Harrison Ford's age as far as playing the character. I first saw an article in The Guardian, titled Indiana Jones and the Tide of Ageism: why such a reaction to the fifth film? The Guardian article reported on the reactions regarding Mr. Ford's age: "[y]et the bulk of the backlash to the announcement instead concerned Ford’s age: 73 at the moment, 77 when the movie will be released in late summer 2019. The Noël Cowards of social media were swift to deploy their finest...." The article then includes some tweets where references were made (suggesting other movie titles that are pointed references to his age). I wondered how wide-spread these social media remarks had become, so I went looking for a few other articles, and found this one from USA Today, The world has loads of fake titles ready for 'Indiana Jones 5' which reports on more tweets and notes "[n]ow, Indy has never fought off pits of snakes in the digital age, therefore we welcome him to the future with a host of crowd-sourced titles for the currently untitled Indiana Jones 5. (Spoiler: ageism affects men too.)" I liked this statement in the Guardian article "[a]ll of this can be done just as easily at 77 as 37. Indeed, it could also be achieved at 87. Just as academia is not a young person’s game, neither is archeology."
Did I miss these types of stories when Mr. Ford reprised his Han Solo role in the most recent Star Wars movie?
All I can think is hmmm....
Monday, January 11, 2016
It's time for the new semester!!! Always such an exciting time for all of us. I wanted to see if anyone is doing anything new or innovative in your classes that you wanted to share. Are you assigning any movies or books (other than law school books) to your students? One of the books I'm considering suggesting is On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's. I'm also thinking of an assignment where the students research various technologies that are designed to help an elder age in place or stay safe. I'm happy to share results with those of you interested. Let us know your ideas and suggestions!
Thursday, January 7, 2016
As I reported frequently in 2015, in several jurisdictions around the U.S., family members are organizing to challenge abusive guardianships or conservatorships and to seek better accountability from court systems. Here are interesting video resources that examine issues, and which may provide useful opportunities for classroom discussion of this emerging movement.
See: Conservatorship: Legalized Elder Abuse (offering a perspective from California, by the Coalition for Elder and Dependent Adult Rights)
See also: Guardianships Under Fire (a 30 minute Contact 13 special, aired by KTNV on December 28, 2015, from Las Vegas, Nevada).
Monday, December 28, 2015
It's about an elder whose family can't make it home for Christmas and what he does to gather his family. You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6-0kYhqoRo
The Washington Post ran a story about it. This heartbreaking holiday ad is a powerful reminder of old people’s loneliness.
What do you think of the ad?
Monday, October 5, 2015
Illinois adopted a new law, Public Act 098-1093, effective on January 1, 2015 that assigns a "presumptively void" status to bequests made to non-family caregivers, if the transfer would take effect upon the death of the cared-for person. The law applies only to post-effective date bequests that are greater than $20,000 in fair market value. The statutory presumption can be "overcome if the transferee proves to the court" either:
1. by a preponderance of the evidence that the transferee's share under the transfer instrument is not greater than the share the transferee was entitled to receive under ... a transfer instrument in effect prior to the transferee becoming a caregiver, or
2. by clear and convincing evidence the transfer was not the product of fraud, duress or undue influence.
The law only applies in civil actions where the transfer is challenged by other beneficiaries or heirs.
(Fun) Spoiler Alert: The new law plays a clever "starring role" in the Fall 2015 season premiere of The Good Wife. Let's see how many of our law students were watching!
October 5, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Film, Property Management, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)