Sunday, May 8, 2022

Residents Are Asking a Lot of Questions -- Tough Questions -- about CCRCs

It is Sunday, and I'm looking at a long list of things to do next week, with grading exams at the top of my list.  Significantly, however, in the last six to eight months, at increasing rates, I'm hearing from current and prospective residents of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs, also sometimes called Life Plan Communities).  Here are examples of some of the most often asked questions:

  • "The company that runs my CCRC is about to engage in development of a new CCRC.  Is the money I've already paid in the form of an admission fee, or the money I continue to pay as monthly service fees, going to support this new development?"
  • "During the lock-down associated with protecting residents and the public from COVID-19, we were asked to give up services that were the very reason we choose this community.  But now that we are no longer locked down, the services either are not returning or the fees we are charged are actually increasing.  Is there some effective way to object to this disconnect between the promises and the delivery of services?"
  • "My parents are thinking about moving into a CCRC.  On the one hand, I like the idea of the active community they are choosing.  But on the other hand, the amount they are expected to pay in the form of an admission fee is astounding.  Why are some communities calling this a refundable fee and others are saying it isn't a refundable fee? What are the protections for the 'refundable' fee?"
  • "We have just learned that our nonprofit CCRC is being transferred to a for-profit company as the owner-operator.  How is this likely to impact my wife and I as residents?"

Answers to many of these questions depend on the state's laws governing this form of senior living operation and, even more, on the particular contracts between the resident and the provider.  State regulators have concerns here too.  For those looking for legal assistance in their particular community, I sometimes recommend looking for attorneys in the caller's home state, someone who understands CCRCs from a resident perspective. I first wrote about the need for attorneys who understand resident perspectives in 2006.  

Sometimes "elder law" attorneys have this expertise, but not always.  Plus, it can be important to consult with an attorney who understands consumer protection laws, and not "just" CCRC law.  Finally, if litigation is actually on the horizon, the choice for legal advice can depend on whether the attorneys have expertise in litigation or dispute resolution and not "just" contract law. 

So, all of this is a short way of saying that even though, as an legal academic,  I often write about the importance of resident rights in CCRCs, and even though I believe the future of CCRCs is very much tied to the answers, I'm not in a position to respond to individual questions. The very fact that I'm writing this Blog Post is a potential indication that something important could be going on in the industry.  Perhaps that "something" should be addressed by the industry itself, especially if it wants the CCRC concept not just to survive, but thrive.  In my opinion, it is not enough for the industry to say that "every CCRC is different."  

May 8, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Property Management, Retirement, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

RFP: Washington State Seeks Expert Consultation to Develop CCRC Regulations with Heightened Consumer Protections

I'm always interested when I start getting lots of calls or emails about a certain topic in aging.  Today I was hearing from a lot of people wanting to talk about Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs, sometimes also called Life Plan Communities or LPCs). It is safe to say that all forms of senior living operations are facing new challenges after being hit hard by the lockdowns and staffing problems of the last two years with COVID-19.

But one of the most interesting set of calls was from the State of Washington, where residents have been using their time together during COVID to think carefully about the need for certain key protections for consumers who put their money and trust into CCRCs.  The Washington Continuing Care Residents Association (WACCRA) has worked carefully, calmly and diligently to reach the ears of legislators and regulators in the state.  I had the pleasure of hearing from  members and residents of CCRCs in Washington last October and speaking at their annual meeting.  WACCRA Annual Meeting in Seattle  October 2022 (2)

Today, I heard that the  Office of Insurance Commissioner in Washington has initiated a Request for Proposals for a time-sensitive research project:

This project is designed to assess federal and state authorities regulating continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and provide a report with recommendations on creating a legal framework for shared regulatory oversight of CCRC products under Chapter 18.390 RCW, which may achieve heightened consumer protections.

Interested researchers -- with background in regulatory systems for CCRCS -- should act quickly as the deadline for submissions is May 23, 2022.   

Click HERE FOR THE FULL DETAILS!  

May 3, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Grant Deadlines/Awards, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Retirement, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, April 22, 2022

Smart Home Tech Makes Aging in Place Easier

The Washington Post recently published this article, Aging in place can be so much easier with smart home technology. "Supporting health, safety and security are important components of successfully aging in place. So are home management systems that maintain a comfortable environment, and communication and recreation systems that enable social engagement, stimulation and entertainment."  As the article notes, the type and amount of tech is vast, ranging from pretty simple types that do just a little, to more comprehensive setups that integrate into much of every day life.  The article focuses on two couples who added tech to their homes.  It also looks at the pros and cons, as well as advances and includes a list of recommendations.  The article also mentions concerns about privacy and how to mitigate that. I would also add the topic of consent, when family want to install the tech in the home of the elder.  Lots of good info in the article.

April 22, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Retirement, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Reverse Mortgage May Not Be A Last Resort Any Longer

Professor Naomi Cahn sent me the link to this recent article in the New York Times, Reverse Mortgages Are No Longer Just for Homeowners Short on Cash. "Until recently, it was conventional wisdom that a reverse mortgage was a last-resort option for the oldest homeowners who desperately needed cash. But a growing number of researchers say these loans could be a good option for people earlier in their retirement like [those]  who are not needy at all."

The article offers the basics about reverse mortgages and offers some insights into the thinking about greater utility of reverse mortgages:

Homeowners in their 60s and early 70s could use cash from a reverse mortgage to protect investment portfolios during market downturns, to delay claiming Social Security benefits or to pay large medical bills.

“The best use of this tool is to provide and supplement income during retirement,” said ... the director of the financial planning program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “A younger retiree can stay in the house while turning equity into an income stream.” 

The article discusses downsides for folks to consider as well.  Read it!

 

 

April 17, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Housing, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Increase in Multi-Generational Housing

Pew Research Center recently released a report on multi-generational housing. In Financial Issues Top the List of Reasons U.S. Adults Live in Multigenerational Homes   consider this key finding:

A third of U.S. adults in multigenerational households say caregiving is a major reason for their living arrangement, including 25% who cite adult caregiving and 12% who cite child care. Among the other reasons given for living in a multigenerational household, 28% say it’s the arrangement they’ve always had, while smaller shares cite a change in relationship status (15%), or companionship (12%) as a major reason why they live with family members. About one-in-eight adults (13%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a factor in why they live with multiple generations under one roof.

Breaking it down by age, the report notes that

[A]mong the oldest Americans – ages 65 and up – 20% of women live in multigenerational households, compared with 15% of men. Older Americans are less likely to live alone than they were several decades ago, a change linked to the growing share of older women who live with their spouse or children. 

By broad age group, Americans ages 25 to 39 and those ages 55 to 64 are about equally likely to live in multigenerational family households (each 22%). But within the younger group, those ages 25 to 29 (31%) are far more likely to live with multiple generations under one roof than those ages 30 to 34 (19%) or 35 to 39 (15%). 

The full report is available here.

March 29, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

You Don't Have to be a Parrot Head to Retire to Margaritaville

As the New Yorker explains in Retirement the Margaritaville Way, this active adult community was a logical step, "[g]iven the age of Buffett’s fan base, and the life style he’s hawking—as well as baby-boomer demographics... . The development in Daytona [Beach, Florida} was a joint project of Margaritaville Holdings and Minto Communities USA, the American branch of a builder based in Ottawa. In 2017, Minto had bought roughly two thousand acres of brush and swamp, about seven miles from the coast... [with] a plan to develop a retirement community there called Oasis. [which then] became Latitude Margaritaville, taking its name from Buffett’s breakthrough 1977 album...."  The article describes a number of features of the community and interviews with various residents.   And although you don't have to be a parrot head to retire to Margaritaville, you might have more fun if you are. 

March 23, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

You Don't Have to be a Parrot Head to Retire to Margaritaville

As the New Yorker explains in Retirement the Margaritaville Way, this active adult community was a logical step, "[g]iven the age of Buffett’s fan base, and the life style he’s hawking—as well as baby-boomer demographics... . The development in Daytona [Beach, Florida} was a joint project of Margaritaville Holdings and Minto Communities USA, the American branch of a builder based in Ottawa. In 2017, Minto had bought roughly two thousand acres of brush and swamp, about seven miles from the coast... [with] a plan to develop a retirement community there called Oasis. [which then] became Latitude Margaritaville, taking its name from Buffett’s breakthrough 1977 album...."  The article describes a number of features of the community and interviews with various residents.   And although you don't have to be a parrot head to retire to Margaritaville, you might have more fun if you are. 

March 23, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Aging in Place Village Model Has Its Limitations

According to a recent article in Kaiser Health News, Despite Seniors’ Strong Desire to Age in Place, the Village Model Remains a Boutique Option, "[t]wenty years ago, a group of pioneering older adults in Boston created an innovative organization for people committed to aging in place: Beacon Hill Village, an all-in-one social club, volunteer collective, activity center, peer-to-peer support group, and network for various services.  Its message of “we want to age our way in our homes and our community” was groundbreaking at the time and commanded widespread attention. Villages would mobilize neighbors to serve neighbors, anchor older adults in their communities, and become an essential part of the infrastructure for aging in place in America, experts predicted."  Fast forward to now. where even though "there are 268 such villages with more than 40,000 members in the U.S., and an additional 70 are in development ... those numbers are a drop in the bucket given the needs of the nation’s 54 million older adults. And villages remain a boutique, not a mass-market, option for aging in place."

What exactly is a "Village" you ask? The article explains the concept: "[they] share common features, although each is unique. Despite their name, physical structures are not part of villages. Instead, they’re membership organizations created by and for older adults whose purpose is to help people live independently while staying in their own homes. Typically, villages help arrange services for members: a handyman to fix a broken faucet, a drive to and from a doctor’s appointment, someone to clean up the yard or shovel the snow. Volunteers do most of the work." They also offer educational and social events and facilitate introductions to other residents of the village.   

The question posed by the article is whether this concept can have widespread acceptance and adoption with various socio-economic groups, especially given their costs. The article discusses some options pursued by existing villages, in addition to discussing the hurdles.

 

March 17, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Reconsidering the Implications of Togetherness As Couples Get Older

I have a fondness for California Rock & Roll from a certain era -- also known as my youth.  One of my favorites, Warren Zevon, is probably mostly remembered as a singer/songwriter, and he penned some great songs such as Hasten Down the Wind (performed by another favorite, Linda Ronstadt, who, like me was born next door to California in Arizona).  Some of his lyrics work equally well as poetry.  Right now I'm thinking to the opening lines to Reconsider Me, recorded and released by Zevon in 1987:   

If you're all alone

And you need someone

Call me up

And I'll come running

Reconsider me

Reconsider me

Those lines seem to echo in an article from the New York Times today, describing a trend among older singles -- they are willing to love again, but at least one half of the couple isn't willing to live together.  The article begins by describing a 78 year-old widow's friendship with a a widowed man that was turning romantic.   He wanted them to move into together.  She wasn't eager and she admits that his health woes were part of the concern.  She is quoted as saying "He was not in great shape."  Eventually, when he had surgery and needed recuperative care, she followed his directions and "using his funds, hired a live-in caregiver for him."  Once he recovered, they spent more time together.  

The NYT writer, Francine Russo, observes:

With greater longevity, the doubling of the divorce rate since the 1990s for people over 50 and evolving social norms, older people like Ms. Randall are increasingly re-partnering in various forms.  Cohabitation, for example, is more often replacing remarriage following divorce or widowhood, said Susan L. Brown, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

 

These older adults are seeking (and finding) love, emotional support and an antidote to loneliness.  But many older women, in particular, fear that a romantic attachment in later life will shortly lead to full-time caregiving.

The New York Times article also echoes topics addressed in the article I linked to last week by Cahn, Huntingdon and Scott, Family Law for the One-Hundred Year Life.  For more from the Times, if you have a subscription, see Older Singles Have Found a New Wat to Partner Up:  Living Apart.  

 

 

March 2, 2022 in Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 25, 2022

Adapting Family Law to Recognize Importance Of Older Members and Significance of Aging

Naomi Cahn of University of Virginia School of Law Law joins Clare Huntington, of Fordham Law  and Elizabeth Scott, Emerita Professor at Columbia Law, to propose needed changes in family law to reflect the impact of aging.  In their forthcoming article for Yale Law Journal (Vol. 132) titled Family Law for the One-Hundred Year Life, they contend family law must address the interests and needs of families across the life span, and not just those of younger people.  They point to three areas for focus: the dignity and autonomy interests of older persons, structural inequalities, and the need for legal mechanisms that are efficient and accessible.  An example of their calls for legal reform is the discussion of intrafamily personal care contracts:

The response of regulators and courts to intrafamily personal care contracts illustrates well the law’s failure to support family care, especially for low-income families. In arranging in-home care, older adults sometimes contract with service providers, but they also contract with family members. A care contract is especially helpful when an older adult wants to receive these services from a family member but the family member cannot provide care without compensation. But these agreements run into problems. If the older adult is trying to qualify for Medicaid, many states scrutinize the contracts to ensure they are not simply a means for transferring assets from the older adult to the younger relative, helping the older adult satisfy Medicaid’s means-tested eligibility requirements. Partly based on the assumption that familial care is provided altruistically, state regulators regularly find that the agreements are, indeed, fraudulent transfers. This is an example of class-based discrimination: intrafamilial contracts for care are not scrutinized by public authorities unless the care recipient seeks to qualify for public support through Medicaid.

Equally interesting is their discussion of "opt-in or opt-out" concepts for the definition of family.  All-in-all, this article looks to the future of judicial, regulatory and legislative legal systems, while also offering ways to challenge our students in the classroom now.  

 

February 25, 2022 in Current Affairs, Discrimination, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Medicaid, State Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Webinar on Housing Rights Post-Disaster

The National Center on Law & Elder Rights has announced the following upcoming webinar, Addressing Housing Issues Facing Older Adults Following A Natural Disaster on February 9 at 2 eastern.

Older residents in areas affected by natural disasters face a number of challenges, including issues related to housing security and obtaining temporary shelter. Legal assistance and aging services professionals play a critical role in identifying these needs and providing assistance before, during, and after a disaster. This training will discuss common housing issues faced by homeowners and renters following a natural disaster, with a focus on how advocates and providers working with older adults can assist them pre-disaster to head off these housing issues. The webcast will also discuss post-disaster resources available to older adults and advocates to help address housing recovery needs following a natural disaster. 

Click here to register.

February 3, 2022 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Housing, Webinars | Permalink

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Roundup of Articles

I've been off the grid for a while, so I have a backlog of articles for the blog.  I think they are interesting, even though they may be dated by a couple of months. So I'm going to list some of them here and if the topic interests you, click on the link to read the article.  There are so many, I'm not going to summarize or discuss them.

Lowe’s sees sales growth by helping baby boomers stay in their homes.

Costs and considerations for home health care of aging loved ones in Florida. (48 minute podcast plus accompanying article)

End-of-life conversations may be helpful to patients and families

From my friend Professor Naomi Cahn: Contextualizing Menopause in the Law.

The data that shows Boomers are to blame for the labor shortage

‘Greatest Generation’ runs counter to its wholesome image in survey on race, sex and combat during World War II

Private Equity Is Gobbling Up Hospice Chains And Getting Involved In The Business Of Dying

Three key numbers that explain America's labor shortage (discussing early retirement).

I have more for tomorrow's post and then I'll be "caught up" with the news!

January 13, 2022 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

What Do We Mean by Care? Heather McGhee Interviews Ai-Jen Poo

The New York Times is a host for The Ezra Klein Show, a podcast (and short written commentary) with episodes that generally appear on Tuesdays and Fridays each week. Ezra Klein is on paternity leave right now, and in his absence, Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us, interviewed Ai-jen Poo, MacArthur grant winner and author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.  The discussion is timely.

Interestingly, the title assigned by the NYT to this podcast is "Every 8 Seconds, an American Turns 65.  How Do We Care for Everyone?"  

Use of that statistic seems to be intended to shock, or at least, to cause a nervous, worried reaction.  Yet the "8 Second" rate is also used for new births in the U.S.  At the outset of the interesting interview, Heather asks Ai-jen for a definition of "care."  Ai-jen responds in her usual fashion -- thoughtfully and carefully -- and says, in essence, "Care is the most fundamental form of support we offer others.  We both offer and rely on care; care is essential." She adds, however, that for most families, private care is unaffordable, whether the need is for child care, disabled family member care, or elder care.

I wonder why it is that we so often ask whether "we can afford" the care of older adults?  That implies the public form of "we." Yes, too often the response (if not the answer)  is "no," but I tend to think that one of the reasons for that fact is that we continue to think that we, as individuals, have some "right" to stay in our homes no matter how long we live, and no matter how much this becomes impossible to manage.  Is it just "too" hard as individuals to plan for alternatives? I think the answer is "yes," but if we aren't going to plan as individuals, it seems likely that the costs will always be treated as unaffordable by "the public."

December 7, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 3, 2021

Are Luxury Senior Homes Worth the Price?

The New York Times recently published an article about the market for and appeal of luxury senior homes, in Growing Old in High Style. The article features several high-end senior housing complexes.

There are

several luxury assisted-living homes that have sprung up in the last few years, especially in places like New York City with its many affluent retirees with upmarket tastes and cosmopolitan demands. .... These upscale retirement homes cater to the affluent end of the “the silver tsunami” — the coming wave of aging baby boomers who are still socially and culturally active, and who have become accustomed to a certain quality of life.

The vibe at these places is less dreary nursing home and more five-star wellness resort. 

The article notes the high cost of this type of housing, especially compared to ALFs.  One expert described these high-end housing options as "promoting “the idea of affinity rather than exclusivity” — that is, to live among like-minded people. And in cities like New York, the high cost of living and urban setting means that there is a large pool of highly educated, financially successful and culturally curious retirees who are seeking similar company."  The article discusses amenities, describing the services provided as giving the feel of luxury rather than an institution.

December 3, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A New Map of Life

The Stanford Center on Longevity has released a new report, The New Map of Life. Looking at the 100 year life,  "make a clear distinction between aging, the biological process, and longevity, the measure
of long life. The Center’s goal is not to advocate for longer life—a phenomenon that is well underway—rather, it is to identify ways to enhance the quality of those century-long lives, so that people experience a sense of belonging, purpose, and worth at all ages and stages." One focus is looking forward, "on the economic potential of a more age-diverse population in which older adults contribute in increasingly significant and measurable ways to the social good and to GDP, so that opportunities for healthy longevity are shared across races, geographical regions, and socioeconomic status." (citations omitted).

The report addresses the following: Age diversity is a net positive, investment in centenarians to gain big returns, realignment of health spans to life spans, be amazed by the future of aging, work to an older age courtesy of flexibility in working, lifelong learning, invest in longevity communities, and look at life transitions as a positive.  In preparing to take this new road on the new map of life, the authors note that "[m]eeting the challenges of longevity is not the sole responsibility of government, employers, healthcare providers, or insurance companies; it is an all-hands, all-sector undertaking, requiring the best ideas from the private sector, government, medicine, academia, and philanthropy."

Be sure to read this report!

December 2, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Retirement, Science, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

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)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Playing Cards About Resident Rights

Now here's a clever idea. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is selling playing cards that contain the rights of a resident of a SNF. The playing cards sell for $8.  It's not just the idea that's clever. The design is as well. "Each card highlights a different residents' right.  The back of the cards features colorful artwork created by rolling wheelchairs through paint in order to represent how residents move through their facility, designed by residents in Lanai City, Hawaii."  How's that for clever!  The deck comes in a box--and wouldn't this be a thoughtful gift for an attorney to give a client who has just finished planning for long-term care?

 

August 16, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Games, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other | Permalink

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Nursing Homes & Covid: Here We Go Again?

Another surge, another rise in COVID in SNFS? According to a recent article in the New York Times, Nursing Homes Confront New Covid Outbreaks Amid Calls for Staff Vaccination Mandates, the cases are rising.  Featuring one company, the article notes

The case count has ticked up again: It’s still below 100 among residents and staff, the company said, but includes many breakthrough cases of vaccinated residents testing positive. Then last week, two vaccinated residents died with Covid .... The company said it had pinpointed the cause of the spread there and at other of its facilities: The breakthroughs had happened in the same homes where unvaccinated staff were testing positive, seemingly carrying the virus into the home from the community.

The company recently announced it was requiring all staff to be vaccinated, the article notes.  As we all know, vaccine mandates are controversial.

Growing calls for vaccine mandates among health care workers have gained urgency but also met resistance in the nursing home industry, where some homes say it will cost them staff members in an industry already plagued with high turnover. Only about 60 percent of nursing home staff members are vaccinated, and some states report an even lower rate, with less than half inoculated, according to the most recent government data.

Staff immunization has been an issue in many states, especially as the highly contagious Delta variant races through regions with low vaccination rates. Some states and cities, not waiting for the nursing home industry, are imposing their own mandates for vaccinations on long-term care employees or operators may face penalties or additional testing requirements for unvaccinated staff.... 

Some states have reinstated visitation restrictions and the CDC is monitoring the number of cases. The article goes on to discuss in depth the issues surrounding a vaccine mandate, with some states requiring frequent testing in lieu of adopting a mandate.  Looks like we are going to be dealing with this through the end of 2021. I go over with my students a list of questions regarding choosing a nursing home. I'm adding "how many of your staff and residents are vaccinated again COVID" to the list. 

August 4, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Science | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 30, 2021

Are In-Law Apartments the Answer to Housing for Elders and Folks with Disabilities?

The Boston Herald addressed housing needs in this article, Massachusetts advocates say in-law apartments will help older adults, people with disabilities.   The article advises that "[t]he region’s restrictive zoning laws around accessory dwelling units, or in-law apartments, are being reexamined by lawmakers and advocates who say easing up would be a game-changer for older adults or residents with disabilities."  The author of the bill noted specific provisions of the bill apply to elders as well as those with diabilities, and allows for a special need trust "for those with disabilities 'so an owner could create a long-term housing plan for after they passed away to allow their child to stay there....'" A companion bill has also been filed in the Massachusetts Senate. Another bill has broaden the regulation of accessory dwelling units, because as noted in a "2019 study ... that only 37 of 100 of the communities closest to Boston allow for ADUs to be rented out. Another 31 municipalities allow for temporary ADUs for family members or caregivers. The remaining 32 communities have no zoning allowances for ADUs at all."

Consider the role of zoning ordinances not only on the availability of housing, but how it impacts housing specifically for elders and individuals with disabilities.

July 30, 2021 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)