October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month Take action and be aware or you’ll have to beware. By Kimberly Martinez When you're young, things that fall on the list of "scary" are probably more related to ghouls and goblins. But as time progresses, the realities of life can be daunting.   In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And every year after, the same thing. This came after the realization that so much domestic violence was happening every day but there still wasn’t a fight against it. However, when people hear domestic violence, they mostly think lover quarrels. But did you know there is a relationship between domestic violence and elder abuse? When dealing with the elderly, this abuse then becomes referred to as “domestic violence in later life.” This includes anything from physical abuse by a loved one or caregiver, to financial abuse. So doesn’t October just seem fitting for awareness? A month that includes the one day people dress as their worst nightmares. A day people forget about the true harsh realities and play out fake ones. Continue reading

Dear Kathy September 22

I have ties to group homes who house people from the ages of 65 to 105. How can an elderly person be abused ? I mean, I've heard of domestic violence and forms of abuse and child abuse, but what constitutes elder abuse? Are laws clearly defined in this regard. How come it is not given enough precedence in the public like child abuse? What rights do the elderly have? I'm a fan of your organization and appreciate any insights you can share to bring attention to this issue. -Linda S. Continue reading

Power of attorney accountability needs improvement

Power of attorney accountability needs improvement, family member says Sep 15, 2015 By CBC News A power of attorney is meant to help families avoid financial problems when someone becomes unable to manage their money but a Nova Scotia woman says her experience has shown that power can be abused by the very person who's supposed to be protecting the finances. Last week, the Nova Scotia's law reform commission called for an overhaul of how power of attorney works in the province, starting with clearer language and reporting rules. Powers of Attorney Act in Nova Scotia needs revision, says law reform group Power-of-attorney abuse more common than we think, expert says Casey Kasem's case highlights need for power of attorney, lawyers say Avoiding power of attorney fraud Continue reading

Report Psychiatric Abuse - It's a Crime

By Kathleen Wright-Brawn Vulnerable people who have sought help from psychiatrists and psychologists have been falsely diagnosed and forced to undergo unwanted and harmful psychiatric methods. Many thousands have died. CCHR investigates these and other psychiatric abuses. We can assist you with your evidence and reports of criminal psychiatric practice." A quote from their website. "In today’s high-pressure world, tradition is too often replaced by more “modern” means of dealing with the demands of life. For example, while once heavily community-, church- and family-based, today the task of caring for our parents and grandparents routinely falls to organizations such as nursing homes or aged-care centers. There we trust that professionally trained staff will take care of our elders as we would. Continue reading

You Don’t Have to Dodge the Conversation

By Angela Clark, MBA, RN Senior living can be a scary conversation for many people while in fact most don’t know where to start or even what options are available in their local community. GO TOUR: Touring senior communities is truly the best way to educate yourself on all the many choices available today. How can you make decisions on something you have never experienced? Many people have a perception of what senior living is. Go experience it firsthand. ACKNOWLEDGE FEAR: Making any change often creates fear of the unknown. Seniors often make statements such as: “I am not ready,” “I am not moving from my home,” or “I don’t need that yet.” Senior living choices can be as simple as to downsize your home, have housekeeping services, provide socialization, or transportation. Times have changed and these are not “old folk homes.” It is important to listen to the concerns of the senior and then address those concerns again when you are visiting communities to keep the conversation headed in the right direction.   Continue reading

Socialization Leads to a Better Quality of Life for Seniors

By Angela Clark, RN How important is socialization as we age? Have you ever thought about this question or what does it really mean? Researchers found that seniors in the U.S who have an active social life may have a slower rate of memory loss. No one wants to spend most of their days at home alone with a television or having limited interactions with others. Isolation and loneliness is becoming an increasing problem in our busy, fast paced world. BE SELF AWARE Pay attention to your daily schedule or that of the loved one you care for. Focus on the type of activities that actually fills the day, and with whom? Many studies are showing that isolation and a lack of socialization can lead to memory issues as well as depression for seniors.   Continue reading

How to Be Sure Your Aging Loved One Will Be Taken Care of Properly in a New Environment

What to Look for in an Assisted Living Home By Laura Redman, Owner - Prestige Estates, Tyler, Texas 10,000 people turn 65 years old every day and it has never been more important to plan for retirement. A critical aspect of the planning should include what happens when it comes time for families to make decisions with aging loved ones about the sensitive transition to assisted living. How does one choose the best home? Here Are 6 Important Observations to Make: 1. Make sure you sit down and have a meal at the assisted living home. One of the most important things with the elderly is that they eat a nutritious diet and the best way to monitor what is to come is to see if the food is acceptable and enjoyable.2. Depending on the circumstances, visit the home with your loved one that is going to be living there and include other family members as appropriate so that everyone can observe and ask questions. 3. Make sure that the new environment is welcoming, warm, and comfortable: A place that your family member will love and that relatives and friends will enjoy visiting together. Continue reading

3 Tips For Avoiding A Family Fight Over Your Estate

  By Martha Patterson, Elder Law Attorney Families are complicated and often not everyone gets along. This is true of siblings and even more true of step parents and step children. Fights over money and sentimental items can divide families irreparably. No one wants their family to fight. Here are three tips for avoiding a family fight over your estate. 1. Understand What Happens When One Spouse Dies One of the most common misunderstandings is that when two people are married and the first spouse dies that the first spouses estate will pass to their children when they die. For instance most people assume that when their dad dies everything he accumulates will pass to his children because his Will and Trust said so, but what if your mom remarries? Everything in your dad’s estate now belongs to her and comes into the new marriage, then the assets get mixed together and the new couple may do a new Will and Trust where your mom leaves all the money to her new spouse. If you don’t understand this concept when you remarry you could cause a family fight by just trying to be good to your new spouse and not thinking about what will happen when you die. It is unlikely that your children will be happy with all the money you accumulated with your first spouse going to your new spouse. So when you remarry you need to discuss an estate plan that provides for both your new spouse and your children. Continue reading

Elder Abuse Fact Sheet

The definition of elder abuse can be summed up as being an act, knowing and intentional, perpetrated on a person over 65 which causes harm, substantial risk of harm or distress. In 2010, there were approximately 5.8 million people living in the US who were over the age of 85.   By 2050, it is estimated that the over 65 year old age group will represent around 20% of the population, of which around 19 million will be over the age of 85 years. There are Adult Protective Services (APS’s) in each of the fifty States, but how they are constituted and what they actually do varies considerably, which can be a barrier to effective use of these services. Because elders often don’t report abuse, it is hard to get accurate statistics, but research indicates that some 7 – 10% of elders report abuse over the prior year – this doesn’t include financial abuse. Reasons that abuse may not be reported include fear of reprisal, impaired understanding of the situation, fear of losing the services of the carer (such as they are) and not wanting to create trouble for the carer. It’s thought that as few as one in fourteen cases of elder abuse are ever reported. In New York State the figure is estimated at one in twenty five. Significant financial abuse, such as being forced to sign over property, sell or give away assets or change wills, was reported by just over 4% of those surveyed. Other forms of abuse include physical, emotional and sexual. Abusers are overwhelmingly family members, which can include children, wives, husbands and partners, brothers and sisters, as well as more distant family members. They are thought to make up around 90% of abusers. Elders with physical or mental disabilities are more likely to be abused. 67% of disabled women and 55% of disabled men reported having been abused by carers over their lifetime. This includes 53% of women who had been sexually abused. Around 5 million Americans aged over 65, and half of all those aged over 85, suffer from some form of dementia. This is problematic in two ways. Firstly, because those with dementia may be less capable of reporting abuse, and secondly, because of the strains of caring for those with dementia, which may lead to frustration and distancing for the carer, resulting in abuse. Abuse in nursing homes amounts to 7% of the claims reported to Ombudsmen. Over 3 million Americans reside in nursing homes or other forms of institutional elder care. A study undertaken in 2000 reported that 95% of residents had seen others in their care facility neglected or abused, and 44% had themselves been neglected or abused. Elders who have been abused are considered to be three times more likely to die than others of similar age and health status who have not been abused. They also experience worse health, including mental health, self esteem, confidence and associated aspects of social wellbeing. The cost of elder abuse is estimated to be over $5 billion in additional health care costs. Financial losses due to financial abuse of elders are hard to estimate, but are considered to be in excess of $3 billion each year. (Source - National Center On Elder Abuse - Department of Health and Human Services) Continue reading

Gov. Brown Signs Gatto Bill Granting Children Access to Ailing Parents – AB 1085

SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Glendale) legislation to provide access for adult children who wish to visit an ailing parent was signed into law by Governor Brown, culminating almost two-year’s worth of work on this issue. The legislation, AB 1085, will provide legal recourse for children who are denied access to a parent, by their parent’s current spouse or another family member. With divorce and remarriage common, there is a possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and a child from an ailing parent’s previous marriage. Current law provides no remedial mechanism for children or relatives to petition a court for visitation. Continue reading

"Visitation Bill" - We passed the California Assembly - now on to the Senate.

Mike Gatto’s Bill to Give Rights to Children Denied Access to Ailing Parents Approved by Assembly   Legislation was inspired by Kerri Kasem, daughter of radio personality Casey Kasem, who was denied visitation rights to her now deceased father.   SACRAMENTO, CA - Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Glendale) legislation to provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit an ailing parent was approved by the Assembly with a 77-0 vote.  The legislation, AB 1085, will provide legal recourse when children are being denied access to a parent by their parent’s current spouse or another family member.    With divorce and remarriage common, there is a possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and a child from an ailing parent’s previous marriage.  Current law provides no mechanism for children or relatives to petition a court for visitation when they are denied access.  Nor is there an obligation for such caretakers even to inform family members when an elder dies.    AB 1085 would give judges authority to direct, or grant, a conservator the power to enforce senior's right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail.  This will be an important mechanism for families attempting to connect with elders for what is often the last time.  The measure also will require caretakers to give notice of an elder’s death to certain family members.  The legislation represents the culmination of almost two-year’s worth of work on this issue by Assemblyman Gatto.   “Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours,” said Gatto.  “I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances.” Continue reading

Iowa is the Nation's First State to Pass the "Visitation Bill" - Kerri Kasem with Governor Branstad

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR Governor Terry E. Branstad « Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    Gov. Branstad to sign Senate File 306  Iowa to become first state in the nation with law ensuring visitation rights of adult children to see ailing parents!  (DES MOINES) – Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad signed Senate File 306 on Friday, April 24, 2015, at 3 p.m. in the Governor’s Formal Office. Senate File 306 is an act relating to communication and visitation between an adult ward and another person.   Continue reading