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Bankruptcy and The Elderly

Two free webinars slated for the elderly and their representatives by the NCLC – National Consumer Law Center – Consumer Alert for Elder Advocates – Their website is http://www.nclc.org

You can subscribe to the NCLC Elder Advocates E-Newsletter for free.

The first webinar is titled:  Bankruptcy Protections for Older Consumers – August 8, 2017

According to the NCLC:  “An increasing number of older consumers are struggling with unmanageable debt. Debt collectors are using aggressive tactics to pursue older adults with limited resources…”

The free webinar on August 8 outlines the issues facing older consumers and offers strategies to address the challenges. The webinar “ will highlight the various protections available and alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.”

You can register for the free webinar on the NCLC website.

The second webinar titled: Nursing Home Debt Collection is currently scheduled on  September 12.  Further details will be on the NCLC website.

About the webinar: “Nursing home residents and their families struggle to deal with debt arising from nursing home stays. This webinar will focus on efforts to collect this debt, review potential basis for liability, strategies to avoid the creation of unnecessary debt, and tactics to defend lawsuits. “

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Help For Families Coping With Dementia

My inbox received an interesting posting about the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) , a non profit organization that supports programs to help families with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

The AFA awards grants- the stated purpose of the grants is to help families “alleviate the cost or respite care for families caring for loves one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.”

According to the posting, the grants are awarded to AFA’s nonprofit member organizations. To learn more about the grants, the application process, the work of the AFA and FAQ’s about the grant program – go to the website  www.alzfdn.org/AFAServices/FamilyRespiteCareGrant.

The grant funds must be utilized for scholarships for respite services, such as adult day program, in-home aides, companion care or overnight respite.

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Aging In American Conference

For those of you reading my posts, you know I am interested in topics involved aging and the elderly. For that reason, I want to pass on information about the upcoming 2017 Aging in America Conference.

The Conference will be held his this year in Chicago, March 20-24, 2017.

According to the conference website: www.asaging.org – (well worth a visit to their website)

“Over 3,000 attendees from across the nation and abroad attend the annual ASA Aging in America Conference to learn, network and participate in the largest multidisciplinary conference covering issues of aging and quality of life for older adults.”

There are volunteer opportunities and if accepted as a volunteer you can attend the conference at a reduced rate.

Some of the event categories include: aging in the community; caregiving; clinical care; lifelong learning and technology. An example of a workshop offering is “Addressing Social Isolation Through Technology”

Many of the offerings give CEU credits.

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Spoofing Telemarketers

I have previously written blogs about fraud and the elderly. (on my website Archive – Elder Fraud Protection)

Recently a post dropped into my box about a new company that actually is trying to combat those pesky telemarketing calls. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to telemarketing tactics, so I really took notice of how The Jolly Roger Telephone Company is managing to make telemarketers “walk the plank.”

The site for  The Jolly Roger Telephone Company is www.jollyrogertelco.com.  The company is the brain child of Roger Anderson, a telephone systems expert.  Mr. Anderson’s  ‘robots’ counter the incoming calls of telemarketers.  With robots called Jolly Roger, Salty Sally, and Whiskey Jack, his strategy is to intercept the calls and then have the Jolly Roger bots ‘talk’ to the telemarketers…so you don’t have to.

The sophistication of telemarketers is increasing with the use of predictive dialers and ‘spoof’ local area codes. Mr. Anderson is using artificial intelligence to combat some of the worst abuses.

The puzzling and odd responses of his robots are amusing (the site offers a demo of some calls), but the reality of aggressive telemarketing and telephone fraud scams against seniors is not amusing.

There are seniors who have lost their savings, their credit card information and even their identity to online scams and fraud. And unscrupulous telemarketing calls can cause unsuspecting seniors to fall prey to a host of financial abuses.

According to an * article by Nick Bilton , “ Roger Anderson may not seem like a superhero. But to many, he has become one… For Mr. Anderson, this service isn’t just about wasting the time of people who want to waste our time. He sees his service as a way to help ordinary people, especially older Americans, from being defrauded.”

* A Robot That Has Fun at Telemarketers’ Expense, Feb. 24, 2016  by Nick Bilton. The New York Times, Fashion and Style,  Disruptions. – A weekly column by Nick Bilton exploring how technology is shaping our lives.

Why might some elderly be more prone to scams and fraud?   One reason could lie deep with the human brain – an area called the anterior insula.

Why Older Adults are So Susceptible to Financial Fraud by Olivia DaDalt (Next Avenue Contributor).

According to the article, research showed that older participants of a study showed less activation of the anterior insula, a part of the brain known to support ineroceptive awareness, or what is commonly called a “gut feeling”. Thus, an older adult may not get a ‘gut feeling’ that warns them of an untrustworthy person, thus making them more vulnerable to the risk of scams.

Also, the MIT AgeLab Website has more tips and resources to help prevent seniors from falling victim to financial abuse. If you live near Cambridge you can even participate in studies by the MIT Age Lab. (www.agelab.mit.edu)

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Tips For Caregivers and Elder Leave

Our friends at Wiser Women (Womens’ Institute for a Secure Retirement) have offered up another basket of interesting articles.

By the way, Wiser Women is celebrating its 20th Anniversary!  As their website proclaimed: “Together we have helped women across the country access the information, tools and resources they need to achieve greater financial independence, security and dignity in retirement.”

One of the many articles from the website that may interest my readers:  The Real Life Golden Girls Scenario: Over 65 and Working (via Market Watch). According to some statistics – Over 15% of women 65 plus were working in 2015…” – a dramatic increase from prior generations’”

Another article: 7 Money Tips for Caregivers (via WiserPiggy) offers advice to help families who are caring for a loved one.

There is also an article about innovative “elder care leave” programs as part of the more traditional “family leave” programs. According to the article: Deloitte is one of the companies to incorporate elder leave (family leave for those taking care of an aging loved one) as part of its family leave programs.

Will this trend catch on and offer relief to the “sandwich generation”?

You can subscribe to the Wiser Women newsletter. It is free.

Keep in mind that the articles are not only for women! (www.wiserwomen.org)

 

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Aging Single – Considerations for the Single Never-Married

I have previously written about some of the unique issues of the single and never- married person as they relate to Estate Planning. (See previous post titled – Single and Loving It)

In addition to considerations and decisions of planning an estate; medical directives and beneficiary designations, there are other questions to ask as a single, never- married person approaches retirement and the years beyond. 

Will I enjoy a house, condo or apartment lifestyle?
How will I maintain and extend my ‘safety network’ of like-minded friends?
Do I want to choose a location that offers the opportunity of cultural experiences?
Will I need to seek post-retirement, part-time job opportunities or volunteer work?
How close will I be to medical facilities?
Will I have access to fitness opportunities to maintain my health?
Is it important to be close to the religious affiliation of my choosing?
Is transportation available if I can no longer drive?
Will I be able to use technology to enhance my lifestyle, for example use of the internet?
Is proximity to education facilities, for example continuing education, important to me?

These are just a few of the issues that a single/never -married might consider when making plans to retire or relocate.

Although many of the questions are not necessarily unique to single people, some are more critical to those who do not have any close family member to assist them through the aging process.

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Living to 100 + 13

The oldest living American died this past Friday. Goldie Michelson, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was 113 and her life spanned two American wars and nineteen American Presidents.  She was born in 1902 and emigrated with her family from Russia as a child.

Goldie Michelson, born at the beginning of the 20th century, had never thought that she would live past 100, but for those of our Millennial Generation the possibility of living more than a century has increased significantly.

Are we prepared for such extended life spans? What can we do to make sure both our health and our prosperity meet the demands of 100 years of living?

Planning for the future soon could mean that we plan for a “normal” lifespan of 100+ years.

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Colorado Conservation

Living and practicing law in a state like Colorado I am always interested in what is happening to the extensive agricultural and scenic lands in the state, not only from the legal perspective, but also from the POV of a resident of our lovely state.

The Colorado Coalition of Land Trust (CCLT) is an interesting group, working toward conservation within the state. Their website offers information about land initiatives and there are many other articles available of interest.

Two of the free (and free is good) offerings from CCLT are:  “The Disappearing West report”  and the “Mountain & Prairie” podcast by Ed Roberson (interviews with “creative individuals who are helping to shape the future of the American West.)” Note: For the podcast you will need Apple iTunes.

If you live in Colorado, or are interested in conservation topics, check out the CCLT website.             www.cclt.org

Another interesting read (whether you agree or disagree with the concept of land trusts):

Journal Advocate – guest column post – Conservation gives landowning families a choice       By Erik Glenn and Jordan Vana (Guest column)  06/08/2016

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Mixing Up The Generations

Recently, an interesting headline caught my eye about the “Senior” class of Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona campus. No, I am not writing about those students who are ready to graduate.

There is a movement to build apartments for SENIORS (yes, the older generation) on the campus of the university.

“Arizona State University is looking to put a new twist on senior living in Arizona by opening a retirement community on a college campus.”*

*New kind of senior living: ASU wants retirement community on Tempe campus By Mike Sackley | April 13, 2016 @ 5:15 am KTAR news

Yep, it would be a campus for and of retirees! The proposed ‘senior’ development would consist of 230 units for independent living retirees and 60 units for those retirees requiring assisted living.

The upside: proximity to vibrant young community; promised benefits: ability to audit classes; dining, health club and game room on premises; student i.d. for library use;  concierge services;  possibly even a doctor on call. It will remain to be seen whether all or most of these benefits are achieved by the developers.  Things are currently in the planning stages for the project.

The downside – proximity to community of ‘youth’ with possibly different ideology/values from your own; costs/fees (although these have not been established; the costs of all of the above could be outside the reach of many retirees…time will tell.)

The concept: Although intergenerational developments are not unique, the concept of having such a development as part of a college campus definitely is unique.

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Nursing Home Agreements/Contracts

An agreement/ contract with a nursing home on behalf of a loved one is like any other written agreement/contract. It will be in writing, enforceable and defines – among other things – the legal responsibilities and rights of each party.  Before signing any agreement/contract one should read it thoroughly and if in doubt it would be advisable to have it reviewed by an attorney.

Many contracts contain a ‘forced arbitration clause’. (Other terms used are binding arbitration, mandatory arbitration, as opposed to “voluntary arbitration”)  The use of forced arbitration clauses in contracts has been a hot topic for a long time.

The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) recently posted an article titled: Forced Arbitration Clauses in Nursing Home Contracts May Put Older Adults at Risk

According to the NCLC article (referencing a New York Times article): “ In essence, a person signs away their constitutional right to their day in court and instead agrees to an arbitration hearing for any grievance”.

Under forced arbitration the company can choose the arbitrator and sets other terms of the arbitration hearing,….”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had announced a proposed regulation restricting the use of binding arbitration agreements by nursing homes and importantly would ban admission to a nursing home conditioned on signing a binding arbitration agreement. (See Federal Register below)

By accessing the link below of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), you can read at length the webinar documents entitled: Nursing Home Admissions Agreements: A Discussion of the Unfair Terms in the Agreements Presented to Elders on Entering a Nursing Home

Eric Carlson, Directing Attorney, National Senior Citizens Law Center and David H. Seligman, Irving Kaufman Fellow, National Consumer Law Center Jessica Hiemenz National Consumer Law Center (April 2, 2014) https://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/conferences_and_webinars/webinar_trainings/presentations/2013-2014/nursing_home_admissions_agreements_webinar.pdf

 Additional Reading:

 Modern Healthcare. An end to mandatory arbitration agreements in nursing homes? By Lisa Schencker | (July 17, 2015_ is an article that thoughtfully presents the issue of voluntary/mandatory/binding/forces arbitration agreement clauses in nursing home residential agreements.

  Deal BookPivotal Nursing Home Suit Raises a Simple Question: Who Signed the Contract?      By Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg (Feb. 21, 2016)

Bifocal. A Journal of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. Volume 36: Issue 6. Should CMS Prohibit Arbitration in Nursing Home Admission Contracts? By Erica F. Wood                  About the Author: Erica Wood is Assistant Director at the ABA Commission on Law and Aging in Washington, DC.

The Federal Register  – Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Reform of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities A Proposed Rule by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on 07/16/2015

  FINAL WORD: As with any other written agreement/contract, it is advisable to have the contract reviewed by an experienced attorney prior to signing the document so that you can retain your legal rights.

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