OBAMACARE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE ELDERLY

ObamaCare has been the center of debates on the impact on Americans. One concern was on the impact of the elderly. Medicare recipients are concerned about services being reduced or eliminated.

Many critics claimed back in 2009 and 2010 that President Obama’s health care law was that it would hurt seniors. The law’s $700 billion in cuts to Medicare over 10 years would deprive seniors of benefits and choices, critics said. One of the most dreaded fear was the plan to cut more than $100 billion out of the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to get government-funded private insurance plans in place of traditional Medicare.

It appear that the critics were wrong Medicare Advantage is, in fact, is more popular than ever. Between 2010 and 2013, enrollment in the program increased 30%, defying the expectations of some of the top policy experts in Washington. Also, seniors have more options than ever and for the record, Medicare Advantage only increased its premium $1.64.

Another myth was that preventative care for seniors would be cut. This is far from the truth, in fact, according to Kaiser Health News, Medicare beneficiaries will have new benefits under the health care law, including more preventative care services and more savings on prescription drug coverage. This will include free cancer screenings, wellness visits, personalized prevention plans, vaccines, flu shots, and more.

There were concerns that wheelchairs and hearing aids will be subject to the IRS’ Medical Device Tax. According to the IRS, this tax does not apply to medical devices used by the general public, i.e. eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, and yes, wheelchairs.

If you have any questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you should visit http://www.healthcare.gov. There also health insurance professionals who have had special training in assisting those with concern about the Affordable Care Act.  I suggest that you do the research for yourself rather than relying on political banter.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

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UNITED NATIONS PRINCIPLES FOR OLDER PERSONS

It is hard to imagine that there is hope when one is in a crisis. Depression, embarrassment and shame keeps a person prisoner from reaching out and asking for help. An elderly person experiencing elder abuse battles with these feelings. If a loved one sees this going on, the loved one must assure the elder that he/she has a right to live in indignity.

In 1991. the United Nations designed the Principles for Older People for those who work with older persons who are vulnerable to elder abuse (who ever knew they existed). These principles were designed to empower those working with the elderly and help them convey to the elderly they are not accountable for other’s behavior.

These principles are:

INDEPENDENCE

  • Older persons should have access to adequate food, water, shelter,clothing and health care through the provision of income, family and community support and self-help.
  • Older persons should have the opportunity to work or to have access to other income-generating opportunities.
  • Older persons should be able to participate in determining when and at what pace withdrawal from the labor force takes place.
  • Older persons should have access to appropriate educational and training programs.
  • Older persons should be able to live in environments that are safe and adaptable to personal preferences and changing capacities

PARTICIPATION

  • Older persons should remain integrated in society, participate actively in the formulation and implementation of policies that directly affect their well-being and share their knowledge and skills with younger generations.
  • Older persons should be able to seek and develop opportunities for service to the community and to serve as volunteers in positions appropriate to their interests and capabilities.
  • Older persons should be able to form movements or associations of older persons.

CARE

  •  Older persons should benefit from family and community care and protection in accordance with each society’s system of cultural values.
  •  Older persons should have access to health care to help them to maintain or regain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being and to prevent or delay the onset of illness.
  • Older persons should have access to social and legal services to enhance their autonomy, protection and care.
  • Older persons should be able to utilize appropriate levels of institutional care providing protection, rehabilitation and social and mental stimulation in a humane and secure environment.
  • Older persons should be able to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing in any shelter, care or treatment facility, including full respect for their dignity, beliefs, needs and privacy and for the right to make decisions about their care and the quality of their lives.
  • Older persons should benefit from family and community care and protection in accordance with each society’s system of cultural values.
  • Older persons should have access to health care to help them to maintain or regain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being and to prevent or delay the onset of illness.
  • Older persons should have access to social and legal services to enhance their autonomy, protection and care.

SELF-FULFILLMENT

  • Older persons should be able to utilize appropriate levels of institutional care providing protection, rehabilitation and social and mental stimulation in a humane and secure environment.
  • Older persons should be able to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing in any shelter, care or treatment facility, including full respect for their dignity, beliefs, needs and privacy and for the right to make decisions about their care and the quality of their lives.

DIGNITY

Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and physical or mental abuse.

Older persons should be treated fairly regardless of age, gender, racial or ethnic background, disability or other status, and be valued independently of their economic contribution.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

CHINESE LAW REQUIRING ADULT CHILDREN TO CARE FOR THEIR ELDERLY PARENTS

Taking of an elderly parent should be done in love not by laws. It is hard to believe that a government has to by creating of a law to make someone take care of their parents.  China has passed a law in July requiring  that adult children provide mental support, in addition to financial support and life care, to their parents once they reach the age of 60.

This law was enacted as a result of  rising concerns that China has evolving into a more modern society and its tradition values of family are suffering. Elder abuse is a relatively new concern for China. In fact, most families are outraged by this growing health issue.

To date, over 1,000 elderly parents have sued their children for financial support. Of course, the elderly parents subject themselves to reprisals from their children.

In addition to China, India, France and the Ukraine have similar laws.  In the Spain under the Civil Code, spouses and children of elderly dependent people are responsible for their maintenance and care which covers everything that is essential for sustenance, shelter, clothing and medical assistance. The extent of the maintenance to be provided depends on the means of the providers and the needs of the dependent person. The obligation to provide maintenance comes to an end when the provider dies or when their wealth has fallen to such a level that continuing to do so would mean having to neglect their own needs or those of their family.

In the United States, there are  30 states that have laws requiring mandatory care of indigent elderly parents. These laws are seldom enforced while others of those 30 states ignore them.

I just want to remind everyone that if you live long enough, you will grow old. You reap what you sow.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

PROSECUTING ELDER ABUSE CASES

Elder Law and Estate attorneys hear elder abuse horror stories daily. Many times the hurdles they face in having these cases prosecuted are ridiculous. One attorney complained that the biggest problem handling these cases is that most of them involve family members. George Johnson, a Paducah, Kentucky police detective sergeant said that it is complicated because when you have someone in a caretaker role and there’s a guardianship, they’re the one spending the money. He also noted that bank records can show patterns of behavior, but it’s difficult to prove any wrongdoing. Many victims often refuse to testify against a loved one, or do so only to later recant their testimony.The victims often cannot communicate, have diminished mental capacity or die.

Attorneys seldom receive support from the local authorities. Loved ones file complaints with the local police and will not receive a return phone call and also it unlikely an investigation will ensue. For many police departments, it is a matter of manpower and resources. Also, if the suspect of the abuse files a probate court matter, the district attorney’s office will more than likely drop its investigation.

The American Bar Association has not received enough credit for its work in trying to have these cases heard by a judge. The ABA has stressed the need for special units dedicated to elder abuse and training prosecutors on the kinds of crimes committed against the elderly and the particular issues the elderly may present as victims, improving victim aid services, educating the public and professionals, and forming multidisciplinary teams.

A recent study showed that the training of prosecutors is still lacking, only taking cases that they believe will result in conviction and finally, “systemic problems in the interplay between prosecutors, law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, nursing homes, and the roles each is to play.”

Many prosecutors are more concerned about having a winning record rather than seeking justice for the victim. This type of attitude only empowers the perpetrator, ensuring them no accountability.

We need to acknowledge attorneys like Jeff Lewin at http://www.lewinlaw.com and E. Nego Pile at http://www.pilelaw.com, located in the Greater Philadelphia area, for having the compassion to fight for the elderly. Elder Law and Estate attorneys are the unsung heroes of elder abuse.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.