Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pandemic Scams

Not surprising, but come on scammers.  Well anyway, there's a proliferation of scams tied to COVID, not that any of us should find this unexpected.  See, e.g., Corona Virus Scams,  recently published in the ABA Senior Lawyers Division magazine, Voice of Experience.

So it was good news to see The Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act would help prevent scammers from taking advantage of seniors during the coronavirus pandemic and future emergencies introduced in the Senate.  Here's the info about the bill:

The Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report to Congress on scams targeting seniors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and make recommendations on how to prevent future scams during emergencies. The bill also directs the FTC to update its website with information that will help seniors and their caregivers access contacts for law enforcement and adult protective agencies, and directs the FTC to coordinate with the media to distribute this information to ensure seniors and their caregivers are informed. 

Keep an eye on this bill; hopefully it will get some traction!

June 3, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

In Memory of Kenney Hegland

Professor Hegland died over the weekend.  The following is courtesy of Robert Fleming:

Kenney Hegland, long-time law professor, author, and advocate for various causes, died in Tucson on May 30, 2020. He had been a major force in the lives of many law students and lawyers for a half century.

Prof. Hegland arrived in Tucson (in 1971) as a 30-year-old lawyer with four years of experience, to help run the Neighborhood Law Office. The NLO, a clinical program offered by the University of Arizona College of Law, was the brainchild of Kenney and fellow young lawyer Andy Silverman. The two of them defined law school clinical programs in Arizona for the next couple decades. The idea of standalone clinical programs was brand-new, exciting and not a little bit edgy. It was a perfect fit for his vigorous, eclectic and avant garde style.

The NLO offered a generation of law students an opportunity to better understand the mechanics of client management and the economics of law practice. It was an excellent idea, much beloved by those who went through it. Of course it couldn’t last.

But Prof. Hegland did. He moved into the academic arena with gusto. He wrote extensively – his writing credits include sole or joint authorship of two dozen books and dozens of articles. His interests were wide – from legal clinics, to law-related education for high school students, to mental health issues to aging and the law. In fact, that last interest blossomed into our continuing collaboration, beginning in about 2005.

I had often said that Kenney Hegland was one of the most interesting and inspiring teachers I never took a class from. Working with him for the last fifteen years has deepened that belief. He was driven. He was remarkably funny and literate to an extent that helped me maintain my humility. He was acerbic, and affectionate, and always looking for a new way to help other people. He would have been perfectly okay with getting rich while offering help, but the help was more important than the riches.

Kenney and I wrote three books together (one of them twice). We had vigorous discussions on many issues – from the significance of living wills (he called them “Suggestions, Not Demands” in an article in the Arizona Attorney in 2004) to the utility of YouTube videos (he created one, ironically, on hospice care earlier this year – see

But here’s the thing I’ll always remember best about Kenney: he didn’t think the study of law should be about reading cases, diagramming holdings and annotating casebooks. Students in his elder law seminar at the UofA were required to visit a senior center, or talk with patients in a local nursing home, or ride along with Meals-on-Wheels providers. They were also given novels to read and discuss, or topical movies to watch. He wanted them to learn about humanity while studying the law.

Kenney’s favorite class, which he taught for many years: Law & Humanities. What an opportunity for him! It helped him focus on a half dozen pieces of literature with a legal tinge – but seldom more than a passing reference to the law. And it gave him another reason to read voraciously and discuss intellectually – with co-presenters, local attorneys he drafted into co-teaching, and students who must not have known what was about to hit them.

Kenney’s wife, retired Judge Barbara Sattler, wrote a few books herself, including two novels focused on legal issues (“Dog Days” in 2013, and “Behind the Robe” in 2019). Not to be outdone, Kenney tried his hand at the genre, as well – his 2014 novel “Law Prof” was about – well, you can guess.

Prof. Hegland leaves behind his wife Barbara and four children. He was immensely proud of all of them, and truly enjoyed a late-life opportunity to practice law in connection with one. He also leaves a legacy of nearly half a century of law students, most of whom are likely to say that he was one of the most energized, inspiring and humane teachers they ever had.

Thank you Professor Hegland. You will be remembered.

June 2, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 1, 2020

ABA Commission on Law & Aging

I'm a huge fan of the work of the ABA Commission on Law & Aging (COLA).  I frequently recommend their publications to others and look forward to their annual statutory updates, among other of their projects.  The work they do has a huge impact both for the legal profession as well as clients. They recently released a short video about the Commission to explain more about the work they do. You can find the video here (it runs a little over 5 minutes).

June 1, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

25 Years Since 1995 White House Conference on Aging

The amazing Bob Blancato who chaired the 1995 WHCOA wrote a thought piece recently about the conference.  In 25 Years After the 1995 White House Aging Conference, Where We Are Now,  Blancato writes that "[t]he top resolution approved by the delegates, who were chosen from the grassroots and involved in aging programs: 'Keeping Social Security Sound for Now and for the Future.'  Two others: 'Preserving the Nature of Medicaid” and “Ensuring the Future of the Medicare Program.'”

Wait, wait, wait. I was a delegate to the 1995 WHCOA; it was quite an honor.  But looking at these top resolutions, aren't they still issues today? Have we not made any progress?

Blancato interviews a few folks who were integral to the WHCOA and then looks at other issues of import during that time:

This conference also introduced new issues in aging policy.

One of them: grandparents raising grandchildren. Another: a recognition of the growing constituency of LGBTQ older adults.

The first sign of post-conference progress was the 2000 passage of the National Family Caregivers Program within The Older Americans Act. The second was the steady increase in funding for Alzheimer’s research, a strong priority of the conference. A third was the 2000 law to eliminate the limit on Social Security’s benefits for people 65 and older due to earning outside income.

Some of the Affordable Care Act’s improvements in Medicare, especially for expanded preventive benefits, were outgrowths of the 1995 conference. And improvements to The Older Americans Act in the four reauthorizations after 1995 can also be traced to the conference.

He also discusses other goals, yet unmet, and then opines on whether older adults are better off now than 25 years ago. 

Answering that partly requires a focus on how the pandemic might radically alter parts of national aging policy in the future. The ageism and generational disputes that have erupted during the coronavirus crisis are disturbing. The devaluing of an older person’s life — shown by the tragedies occurring every day in our nursing homes and the increased reality of isolation among older adults — are troubling.

But on the brighter side, there are groups speaking out and offering alternatives to pitting generations against each other.

We’re also seeing Congress and the Trump administration starting to address some of the shortcomings in nursing homes. And we have a new appreciation for the value of certain key community-based aging programs like The Older Americans Act, which has received a large infusion of emergency funding because of what it does to help older adults maintain a good quality of life and reduce social isolation.

That said, if today’s national motto is “we are all in this together,” we must adopt those words to shape national aging policy and policies for all ages.


May 13, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Elders Struggle In Isolation Without Community Gathering Points

The New York Times has also addressed the topic of social isolation from the standpoint of what happens when the senior centers and other agencies close during the pandemic.  ‘I’m Really Isolated Now’: When Elders Have to Fight Coronavirus Alone explores this, "[t]he shutdown of community centers means enforced solitude and a loss of structure."  These gathering points go by many names, senior center, activity center, community center, neighborhood center, but they all have something in common-a place for an elder to go---to get a meal, to get information, to get services, to get referrals and to socialize. "For 30,000 elders each day, senior centers were an outlet from their homes. And now, by order of the mayor, all on-site activities are closed, though the centers can still provide meals to go."  There's a catch-22 at play here:

It is a terrible irony of the virus: that for older adults, steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19 increase the risks of social isolation, which carries its own devastating health effects. A study by the AARP compared the effects of prolonged isolation to those of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Normally programs for elders aim to increase human contact. Now that contact is potentially deadly.

In many instances, this results in a feeling of loss of control, according to the article.  Social engagement, the provision of clear and accurate information  is a plus while " alarmist news programs, on the other hand, can make people feel helpless."

Keep an eye out on your relatives and neighbors. Let them know they aren't alone in this-even if it's  just waving to them across back yards.


March 27, 2020 in Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

OK Boomer

I've waited quite a while to blog about this issue. For some months now, I've been discussing "Ok Boomer" with my students. It's a great opportunity to discuss the interaction of generations on various issues, including the funding of social programs and whether the phrase is ageist.  We know it became main stream when Chief Justice Roberts used it. It also appears as the subject of a number of memes.

Then the pandemic came, and one of my students told me about "boomer remover" which frankly left me aghast.  Then finally, one of my friends sent me the link to this cartoon, (see below, reprinted with permission) showing a kinder take  on the pandemic's impact on boomers.  So if you need an uplifting moment, check it out here.  To learn more about the author, Syne Mitchell, and to follow her cartoons, click here.



March 24, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

More on Social Isolation and Elders During the Pandemic

Another article from Professor Naomi Cahn provides  Five Tips To Decrease Social Isolation For Older People During COVID-19. First, recognize "that approximately one-third of those 65 and older may have never used the internet and may not have internet access at home; among those who do use the internet, almost half need someone's help when it comes to setting up or using a new device.  And substantial differences in the adoption of technology adoption exist based on factors such as income and educational level."

First, most older adults do own a smartphone or have a desktop or tablet. That means that, even if they have not yet found youtube or figured out how to attend a Zoom’ed yoga class or even used Skype or Facetime, they have a digital device that will enable them to do so once they know what’s available on the web and once they have the appropriate hardware....

Second, using that device to stay connected then becomes a matter of finding the appropriate programs to do so. ....

Third, while much of going online may seem intuitive for many of us, that was not true at the beginning. As someone who has been both patiently walked through learning how to use Google hangouts, and as someone who has taught a family member how to use iMessage, I appreciate the importance of practice and of the patience of those teaching me.  ... 

Fourth, as older people go online, there is the risk of scams and fake information.  ....

Finally, for those who don’t have a smartphone or tablet, a landline remains a good way to stay connected. Family members can set up a schedule of who will call, and maybe, during those calls, even talk about connecting through the internet.

March 24, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Webinar on Remote Provision of Legal Services to Older Adults

Everyone should sign up for this upcoming webinar from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights. O March 25, 2020 they will offer this webinar, Strategies for Providing Remote Legal Services to Older Adults.

Here's the info about the webinar:

Legal assistance providers and aging services advocates are evolving their service delivery models in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote legal services are particularly important for older adults and people of all ages with compromised immune systems who are at high-risk if exposed to COVID-19. This webinar will share strategies and highlight technology-based tools that can enhance the provision of virtual legal assistance. The Administration for Community Living will provide an introduction to this topic and will share information on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presenters: • Hilary Dalin, Administration for Community Living, Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services • Sarah Galvan, Justice in Aging • Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net.

March 21, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Legal Practice/Practice Management, Other, Programs/CLEs, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How to Stay in Touch with the Elders in Our Lives

Most all of us are practicing social distancing now and although many of us can face time friends and family, some folks just aren't that comfortable with digital communications.  Naomi Cahn and Amy Zietlow wrote this timely and helpful article, Loving Our Elderly Neighbor During the Coronavirus.

After discussing the choices each of us face about social distancing, they offer several suggestions for us:

Meeting the challenge of social distancing can take different forms personally, recreationally, socially, and religiously. Older men and women can take steps now to make sure they stay connected to loved ones and friends, perhaps electronically, and the rest of us can find ways to continue to nurture those connections by reaching out to our elderly family members and neighbors, without causing harm to others. 

Here are a few suggestions for keeping our elderly family and friends safe during this time:

1.At the individual level, elders and those in their kinship circles can create schedules to help them stay in contact with family, friends, and community. 


2. Encourage older Americans who must stay home to stay active if possible.


3. Take an inventory of the older adults in your web of relationships and identify their needs.


4.Recognize the importance of faith and religious practice to the well-being of older Americans.


5. Remember that elderly Americans may need help utilizing digital tools and navigating the online world.


6. As they move out of the public eye, we must be intentional about moving closer to older Americans through other means that do not necessarily involve physical contact.....

The entire article can be accessed here.

BTW, I haven't been ignoring the stories about Covid-19 and nursing home residents. There's just so much out there, I haven't decided where to start with it. But I hope you are staying current on that issue.

Also today, I was emailing with someone from my local AARP about whether neighborhoods should set a day/time to sit in their front yards, and talk to their neighbors in adjoining yards, just to get out and talk to folks....while maintaining the appropriate distance.

Thanks Naomi!

March 18, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Geographic Life Expectancy Gaps

Kaiser Health News ran this story, The Startling Inequality Gap That Emerges After Age 65. "[T]hose who reach age 65 are living longer than ever... But there’s a catch: Seniors in urban areas and on the coasts are surviving longer than their counterparts in rural areas and the nation’s interior, according to an analysis from Samuel Preston of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s leading demographers. ...This troubling geographic gap in life expectancy for older Americans has been widening since 2000, according to his research, which highlights growing inequality in later life." 

The article discusses the life expectancy disparity not only between urban and rural areas, but also between various parts of the U.S. For example, "

Notably, 65-year-olds in “rural areas have had much smaller improvements than those in large metro areas,” Preston remarked. “And people living in ‘interior’ regions ― particularly Appalachia and the East South Central region [Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee] — have done worse than those on the coasts.”

These geographic differences emerged around 1999-2000 and widened from 2000 to 2016, the study found. By the end of this period, life expectancy at age 65 for women in large metropolitan areas was 1.63 years longer than for those in rural areas. For men, the gap was 1.42 years.

Differences were even starker when 65-year-olds who live in metro areas in the Pacific region (the group with the best results) were compared with their rural counterparts in the East South Central region (the group with the worst results). By 2016, seniors in the first group lived almost four years longer. (The Pacific region includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

The article discusses the explanations of the disparities, including access to health care, smoking history and cardiovascular disease. It also discusses the differences from "death from despair" in younger generations to the older generation "Deaths from opioids, alcohol or suicide aren’t significant in the older population; instead, deaths from chronic illnesses, which take years to develop and which are influenced by social conditions as well as personal behaviors, are far more important .... "

The study is available here.


March 12, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

3-D Printed House!

3-D printers are amazing. I've read some stories about the application of 3-D printers to solve real-world problems. Now comes another one. Kaiser Health News is reporting about Around The Corner: 3D Housing Designed For The Homeless And Needy Seniors.

In a Northeast Austin neighborhood, these homes are taking their distinctive shape on the grounds of Community First Village, where about 180 formerly homeless people have found shelter and camaraderie in the most expensive city in the state. The 51-acre development (which will eventually include more than 500 homes) provides affordable permanent housing, including the 3D variety.

In this city of disruptors, Austin-based construction technology company Icon has formed a variety of partnerships to explore how 3D-printed homes could not only provide housing for people on the margins but also demonstrate how to dramatically reduce the time and money spent on construction.


These 400-square-foot houses are the nation’s first 3D-printed residences, according to Icon. Its process — which incorporates an 11-foot-tall printer that weighs 3,800 pounds — relies on robotics. Beads of a pliable concrete material dubbed Lavacrete ooze from the behemoth printer in ripples that stack and harden into a wall with curved corners.

The idea is to cut the time and as much as half the cost associated with traditional construction, limit the environmental footprint and trim the number of workers on crews, said Jason Ballard, Icon’s co-founder and CEO.

The article talks about supporters and detractors of the concept and gives more info about the project. Check it out!

March 10, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

ACTEC Journal Call for Papers

ACTEC (American College of Trusts & Estate Counsel) is devoting a volume of its Journal to Elder Law!  Here's the info about the call for papers.

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel announces a Call For Papers on the following topic:

With an aging generation of Boomers and increasing estate tax exemptions, the practice and study of trusts and estates may be driven less by tax planning and more by a host of other issues confronting an older population. Those issues may be broadly grouped under the term "Elder Law."

A special issue of the ACTEC Law Journal will be devoted to a discussion of the intersection of Trusts and Estates and Elder Law and will be comprised of brief articles (2,000 word maximum). The conception of Elder Law is broad and intended to encompass all matters of legal concern that a trusts and estates lawyer might address for an aging client – or a client who is concerned about aging. Suggested topics include retirement planning, financial planning and wealth management, guardianship, disability and medical care, end-of-life planning, incapacity, powers of attorney, health care proxies, nursing homes and long-term care planning, special needs trusts, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, elder abuse (physical or financial), age discrimination, family succession planning, grandparent visitation rights, and classic core trusts and estates topics like wills, trusts, intestacy, probate administration, and nonprobate transfers.

Procedure for proposals: Authors wishing to contribute to this special volume should send a brief proposal to Professor Alyssa A. DiRusso, Editor, ACTEC Law Journal, at Please include “ACTEC Elder Law” in the subject line of your e-mail.

Proposals are due by April 1, 2020. Early submissions are encouraged as proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Given the brevity of each article, articles that delve into one or two topics in detail will normally be preferred over more general articles. We encourage submissions by authors from a variety of backgrounds, including those actively involved in fiduciary administration or the practice of law.

Final articles will be due by August 1, 2020 and will be published in the ACTEC Law Journal, Volume 46 Issue 1.

March 10, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicare, Other, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 9, 2020

Have You Had The Talk With Your Parents?

No, no not that talk. The finances talk?  Dear Mom and Dad: Are Your Finances Ready for Retirement?was published last month in the New York Times. How do you start such a potentially awkward conversation? The article suggests some options, including bringing up the topic naturally: “Mom and Dad: What does retirement look like for you?”  One expert suggests that

A natural point of pain in this conversation is that your parents have been the ones providing you with advice and guidance, and now you’re shifting the paradigm and asking questions that suggest you’re concerned whether they’re going to be O.K., [the expert] said. That shift can cause discomfort and tension.

[Another expert]  a financial therapist and financial wellness advocate ... advises that you tie the conversation to your own life as a way to maintain the original roles in which the parent is still the expert and helper. With this strategy, you’re not threatening the power dynamic, while also getting the insights you need.

Take into consideration timing, the location and method (in person, skype), goals, and the participants. 

Oh and for an article on that "other" talk, see Having ‘The Talk’ With My 80-Something Dad.

March 9, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Ga. Needs to Do More To Protect Vulnerable Elders

Last month the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a story, Audit: State failing elderly victims of abuse, neglect. "A state audit identified damning new evidence that Georgia’s system to protect seniors and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation is failing and the breakdowns are causing additional harm."  How bad is it?  The story goes on, "Among the significant gaps cited in Friday’s report by State Auditor Greg S. Griffin on Georgia’s Adult Protective Services system was that investigators are taking too long to respond to urgent cases, such as when the elderly were going hungry or were sexually abused. One year, some 500 vulnerable adults facing serious situations waited three days or more before an investigator arrived. APS employees also were rejecting reports that should have been investigated, the audit found." 

There are many concerns that arise from the story (and report). Consider this one: "Multiple law enforcement personnel the auditors interviewed indicated they don’t report all cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation to APS, despite statutory requirements to do so. ... The audit noted that law enforcement officers “are hesitant to report cases that involve certain types of victims or abuse.” Officers said they prefer to handle cases themselves because of negative experience with APS or a belief that APS is overworked and can’t handle all the cases reported."

The article notes that the slapdash reporting creates problems beyond failure to report, including the inability of the elders to get services.

Here's another big concern from the article: " It notes that after the General Assembly approved funding in fiscal year 2016 to hire eight agents to focus on elder abuse, GBI didn’t use the funds to hire the allotted additional agents. Instead, it trained an agent in each of its 15 regions to be a resource on elder abuse. The audit questioned how effective the agency has been in addressing elder abuse, although the agency in its response said it had increased its caseload."

To read the full article, click here

March 8, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Other, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Where Do You Plan to Live When You are "Old"?

It's never too early to start making plans about where you will live once you are "old".  According to the Washington Post, Even in midlife, it’s smart to start thinking about where you’ll live when you’re old.

According to AARP, people turning 65 these days will probably live another 20 years — and 70 percent will need some level of long-term care. I needed a plan — actually a revised plan, because until then [the author] expected[the] husband to be part of [the] plan. But ... [divorce happened and the need] to think about an aging plan ... [With]contemporaries .... now approaching (or passing) Medicare age, [the author] asked for their thoughts on senior living. [A]  former work colleague [responded]  “Denial, Steven. Sheer denial.” A high school friend, ... hit the nail on the proverbial head: “Call me Peter Pan. My plan is to never grow up and need senior living.” ....

Like 90 percent of older Americans, [the author]  hoped to “age in place” — until [seeing] how difficult it was for [the author's] parents (and worrisome for their kids). And expensive: premiums for long-term care policies ... now average $2,700 a year, according to the industry research firm LifePlans, which AARP reports “puts the coverage out of reach for many Americans.”

The author, undertaking due diligence, visited examples of some housing options, ultimately sending in money to be placed on a waiting list. 

"I understand better now why my parents couldn’t make a plan: It’s scary to contemplate one’s own old age. I love my current house (with a ground-floor master, making it feasible for aging in place), but I’m glad to have a Plan B with that deposit check as my safety net. Without a spouse (at least for now), I’m guessing my three 20-something nieces will be pleased, too."

March 4, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Helping Elders Learn How to Spot Fake News

One of my colleagues sent me this interesting article about teaching elders how to verify a story.  With An Election On The Horizon, Older Adults Get Help Spotting Fake News ran last week on NPR. It's a very cool idea.  "At the Schweinhaut Senior Center in suburban Maryland, about a dozen seniors gather around iPads and laptops, investigating a suspicious meme ... The seniors are participating in a workshop sponsored by the nonprofit Senior Planet called "How to Spot Fake News." As instructed, they pull up a reputable fact-checking site like Snopes or and, within a few minutes, identify the meme is peddling fake news." 

Consider this from the article, which underscores why workshops such as these are so important:  "[a] recent study suggests these classes could be increasingly important. Researchers at Princeton and New York universities found that Facebook users 65 and over posted seven times as many articles from fake news websites, compared with adults under 29."

It's important for everyone to remember that this is not just about political stories. Think of all those scam emails you get (won a lottery recently?).  So, the project at this senior center "coaches participants about the difference between propaganda, deep fakes and sponsored content. [The instructor] runs through a checklist for evaluating information online: Who wrote the information? What's the source of a claim? Does the author have an agenda?"

I can see this having application to various scams that are perpetrated online. This could be a good community service project for our students, too.


Clark says her program, Senior Planet, which sponsors all kinds of tech classes for older adults at several locations across the country, has been trying to get digital literacy in front of more seniors. But in many ways, it's more challenging than it might be for school districts.

March 2, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Statistics, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Ann F. Baum Memorial Elder Law Lecture

Happen to be in the vicinity of the U. of Ill. School of Law on Monday? If so, be sure to stop by to listen to the Ann F. Baum Memorial Elder Law Lecture at noon est.  The speaker is  Omri Ben-Shahar - University of Chicago Law School who will speak on Personalized Elder Law.


February 29, 2020 in Books, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

What's in a Name? A Lot-As We Know.

I talk to my students about the vocabulary of aging, and what to call clients. (We have also been talking about "Okay Boomer").  One student sent me this great article from The Atlantic, When Does Someone Become ‘Old’?It’s surprisingly hard to find a good term for people in late life.

Of course, calling someone old is generally not considered polite, because the word, accurate though it might be, is frequently considered pejorative. It’s a label that people tend to shy away from: In 2016, the Marist Poll asked American adults if they thought a 65-year-old qualified as old. Sixty percent of the youngest respondents—those between 18 and 29—said yes, but that percentage declined the older respondents were; only 16 percent of adults 60 or older made the same judgment. It seems that the closer people get to old age themselves, the later they think it starts.

Overall, two-thirds of the Marist Poll respondents considered 65 to be “middle-aged” or even “young.” These classifications are a bit perplexing, given that, well, old age has to start sometime. “I wouldn’t say [65] is old,” says Susan Jacoby, the author of Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age, “but I know it’s not middle age—how many 130-year-olds do you see wandering around?”

The article discusses the meaning of hte word "old" when applied to people,  the meaning  we already know.... According to the article, it appears as though we are moving to the use of the word "older"

So if 65-year-olds—or 75-year-olds, or 85-year-olds—aren’t “old,” what are they? As Jaffe’s phrasing suggests, American English speakers are converging on an answer that is very similar to old but has another syllable tacked on as a crucial softener: older. The word is gaining popularity not because it is perfect—it presents problems of its own—but because it seems to be the least imperfect of the many descriptors English speakers have at their disposal.

The article reviews other words we often use, such as elderly, senior and words of that ilk, and their lack of precision, or negative connotations.  With this trend toward older as a modifier, we will probably start seeing the use of older person, older adult, older individual. But couldn't we use people-first language, using adult who is older, individual who is older, etc.?   Why does there seem to be some consensus around the word "older"?  I was amused by this:

Older may be catching on because it seems to irritate the smallest number of people. Ina Jaffe, the NPR journalist, found early on in her reporting on old age that people had strong reactions to the existing linguistic palette. Several years ago, curious to get a better sense of which terms people liked and which they didn’t, she helped arrange a poll on the NPR website soliciting opinions. Older adult was “the winner … though you can’t say there was any real enthusiasm for it among our poll takers. Just 43 percent of them said they liked it,” she explained on air. Elder and senior had roughly 30 percent approval ratings.

Another solution is to use an age range to refer to a person, such as "people age 50 and up".  The article is excellent and I'm assigning it to my students.  Take a look and see what you think. Oh and how about this, can we describe members of this cohort just as people?

February 20, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Prospective Residents Need More Info About ALFs

Friend and colleague, Professor  Naomi Cahn sent us this story. In the article,  Incomplete and inadequate: Information lacking for seniors looking for assisted living, early on the authors explain the reasons for their research:

We and our colleagues track the ever-changing circumstances of long-term care in the U.S. As we study policies and practices, we have observed that the expansion of assisted living is clearly a game-changer, creating new challenges in the industry. Many states have increased assisted living regulation in recent years. Some consumer advocates have called for nursing-home style federal rules, though others oppose this, saying assisted living should remain flexible enough to serve residents with a range of needs, from personal care only to end-of-life comfort.

Now we know why they did the research, here's what they did: "Using criteria formulated from prior research, along with information provided by some states, we examined 39 key elements of each website. Those elements included the size of the facility, cost, license status, the insurance it accepts, and any special services offered, such as memory care. We also looked at each website’s usability – the ease in finding critical information."

The article reports they found gaps in provided info, websites that they thought were difficult to navigate although they found some websites that had better info and were easier to use. "True, the state websites are better than they were 15 years ago. But they are less than what they should be. Many of the elderly, the disabled, and the families who love them require more to make appropriate choices. When navigating the internet, the principle of “buyer beware” should not be the driver."

February 19, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, State Statutes/Regulations, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

What Type of Multi-Generational Housing is Right For You?

Threr are a lot of choices.... The New York Times covered this in  this article: In They Wanted a Multigenerational Home in Brooklyn. Which Apartment Did They Choose?  the goal for the recently married couple with a baby on the way was to have a home where her parents could live with them. The article is interactive, after summarizing the 3 properties reviewed by the couple, the readers can select which property they would choose, and guess at the property actually chosen by the couple.  (I guessed wrong).  Check it out-and see if your reasoning is the same as the couple featured in the article.

February 4, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)