Friday, March 27, 2020
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.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
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.
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.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
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.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
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.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
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!
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 email@example.com. 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
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.
Sunday, March 8, 2020
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.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
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."
Monday, March 2, 2020
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 FactCheck.org 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.
Saturday, February 29, 2020
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.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
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  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?
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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."
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
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.
Monday, February 3, 2020
The Borchard Center has announced the opening of its grants period for recent (or soon to be) law grads who seek a fellowship in law and aging.Here's the announcement
The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging Invites Applications for the 2020-2021 Borchard Fellowships in Law & Aging. Applications due April 1, 2020
The Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging offers the opportunity to carry out a substantial project related to law and aging in partnership with a host agency. Up to three fellowships are available to law school graduates interested in, and perhaps already in the early stages of pursuing, an academic and/or professional career in law and aging.
During the fellowship period, the Center’s director and former fellows are available to help fellows with the further development of their knowledge, skills, and contacts. A legal services or other non-profit organization involved in law and aging must supervise a fellow’s activities and projects. In addition to the fellow's planned activities and project (unless the fellow's project includes the provision of legal services), the fellow is encouraged to provide some pro bono direct legal services to older adults under appropriate supervision. A fellow is expected to provide the Center with monthly activities reports.
The fellowship is $54,000 and is intended as a full-time position only. The fellow’s sponsoring agency is responsible for providing employee benefits, employer’s FICA payment, administrative support, workspace, computer, telephone, and email access, and appropriate professional education program opportunities. Fellows may live and work where they choose in the United States. Fellows must be either U.S. citizens or legally resident in the U.S.
The twelve month fellowship period runs from July 1 to June 30 for those already admitted to the Bar and from not later than September 1 to August 31 for those who must sit for the Bar exam after law school graduation.
Fellows participate in conference calls and other planned activities with other current and former fellows to encourage networking. Former fellows who successfully complete the fellowship period may also participate in the Center’s Former Fellows Grant Program.
Examples of some activities and projects by Borchard Fellows:
- Working with an established legal services program to enable vulnerable, isolated, low-income seniors to age-in-place by addressing their unmet legal needs;
- Providing holistic services to older clients facing consumer debt and foreclosure-related concerns;
- Implementation of a courthouse project to help elderly pro se tenants achieve long-term housing stabilization through the interdisciplinary use of legal representation and social services, allowing more elderly tenants to “age in place” at home;
- Development of mobile clinics to help Chinese-speaking elders improve their access to public benefits and health care;
- Development of a medical-legal partnership for low-income seniors;
- Development of legal services and informational materials to caregivers working on behalf of beneficiaries with cognitive impairment;
- Development of a non-profit senior law resource center providing direct legal services and public education;
- Development of an interdisciplinary elder law clinical program at a major public university law school;
- Development of a mediation component for a legal services program elder law hotline;
- Development of an interdisciplinary project for graduate students in law, medicine, and health advocacy to foster understanding and collaboration between professions;
- Development of training materials and statewide trainings for lawyers, judges and other court personnel, and social service providers on new comprehensive state guardianship laws;
- Development of legal services programs for older clients in consumer law and small claims matters, end-of-life matters, and in protection from financial and elder abuse for older clients whose first language is other than English;
- Development of free legal clinics for older clients in suburban areas;
- Development, administration, and interpretation of statewide senior legal hotline outcomes study;
- Organizing and/or attending national conferences on law and aging issues;
- Writing and publication of law review articles on law and aging issues;
- Writing and publication of state specific, consumer oriented handbooks on legal issues affecting older persons;
- Analysis of Medicare policies;
- Analysis of SSI non-disability appeals; and
- Teaching elder law and related courses at law schools where fellows reside.
Applications are due on April 1, 2020. Applicants must submit a completed online application including an information form, an explanation of the applicant’s planned activities and projects, a current curriculum vitae, a law school transcript, a letter of support from the proposed supervisor, and two other letters of support. All fellowship application information and the required online application are available between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2020, at http://www.borchardcla.org/fellowship-program.
For further information, contact Mary Jane Ciccarello, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, February 2, 2020
One of the many articles on this news is from the New York Times, American Life Expectancy Rises for First Time in Four Years explains that "[l]ife expectancy increased for the first time in four years in 2018, the federal government said Thursday, raising hopes that a benchmark of the nation’s health may finally be stabilizing after a rare and troubling decline that was driven by a surge in drug overdoses.” The increase is very small (one month the article notes) but it may represent an upswing although "demographers cautioned that it was too early to tell if the country had turned the corner with opioid overdoses, which have claimed nearly 500,000 lives since the late 1990s." Crossing our collective fingers it's an actual upswing and not a blip.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
My colleague and dear friend, Mark Bauer sent me this article, An orphaned teen is being forced out of his grandparents' senior community because he's too young. Here's what happened. The kid's parents both died and he moved in with his grandparents in Prescott, Az, where they live in a 55+ community. "[T]he homeowner's association said it could face legal issues if he stayed." He has about 5 months to move out. Although younger folks can live there, the minimum age noted in the article is 19. Both sides have representation and no solution was noted in the article. My sense from the article is the positions boil down to these: have some compassion from the one side, and from the other-there are rules and those who live there have an interest in the purpose of the rules. The young man is 15 years old. I do understand both sides of the argument-there are those who chose to live there because they wanted to live in a community with age restrictions. But on the other hand, both of his parents died..... This is a great fact pattern for our students, and I'm planning to assign them to represent each of the sides and make their arguments.
Monday, January 27, 2020
It may just be me, but it seems there are a lot of stories about Boomers recently. I guess it makes sense, given the ages of boomers. Some of the stories may be a bit more tongue-in-cheek, or cultural illustrations rather than substantive, (see, e.g. Chief Justice Roberts: Is 'OK, Boomer' Evidence Of Age Discrimination? and Saturday Night Live-Undercover Boss: Where are they now). A recent article in the New York Times reviewed a myth about boomers living in urban environments. The Myth of the Urban Boomer Baby boomers are actually less drawn to urban living than previous generations.
Baby boomers are such a large group that you can find them practically everywhere in great numbers, including in urban areas. Today in cities, for example, you’re more likely to run into a 54-to-72-year-old with your bike or scooter (please be careful!) than you would have in the past.
Maybe that’s the reason many news media accounts have promoted the idea that boomers are returning to cities at a rapid rate.
It seems to make sense. Many downtowns are safer and livelier than they were 30 years ago. At a certain point, downsizing and moving back to the city has appeal — it’s closer to work and all those interesting things to do, and the children might have finally left the nest.
There’s one problem. The story line is wrong: Boomers today are actually less urban than previous generations of older people.
The article has some interesting data regarding housing preferences and trends for boomers. The article's closing paragraph gives a good snapshot for those who don't have time to read the entire article: "[f]or developers and public officials in cities, the rising number of older city dwellers is real, and it matters. There is growing demand for the housing features and public services that many older adults prefer. More of the urban housing stock will need to be homes that work for seniors. But that’s not because boomers love cities or are more drawn to urban living than previous generations — just the opposite. It’s simply that there are more of them, almost everywhere." (As an aside, the article at one point refers to some boomers as "the urban oldster.")