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If you are supporting elder parents or expect to be involved with their assistance in the future, take some time to read the New Yorker article, How the Elderly Lose Their Rights. The long story, by Rachel Aviv, describes the abuses that can occur when unscrupulous people seek the guardianship of elders. It focuses on one family in Nevada — and yes, it is horrifying to read — as a corrupt guardian gets the right to take over an elderly couple’s life, causing extraordinary financial and psychological damage.
This New Yorker piece is a must read for any adult child who is trying to ensure that elder parents live a full and robust life for as long as they are able. It illustrates why families need to meet with an attorney experienced in elder law who will help to create protective documents for family members to sign. These documents that can create a barrier for unscrupulous and corrupt individuals seeking guardianship.
I’ve read several blog posts that respond to Aviv’s article. The post at ElderLawAnswers.com which offers a detailed information to the New Yorker piece and also describes some of the legislative changes — state and national — that aim to prevent such elder abuse.
In March 2015 I wrote Elders and Students Living Together: A Novel Housing Idea, describing how a Humanitas Deventer elder community, in the Netherlands, implemented the concept of “woonstudent,” by designating four apartments for students to live in at no cost. The only requirement? Resident students are expected to volunteer with their older resident neighbors, and together the two groups create an amazing intergenerational community.
Visit the Judson Manor website,
A May 2015 New York Times article, In Cleveland, Young and Old Keep Tempo of Life, highlights another intergenerational community program, this one in Cleveland, Ohio. The Judson Manor elder community designated three apartments for students at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), offering free housing for as long as each student attends the Institute and expecting each student to perform at least once a month. Read what the description of the program on the Judson Manor blog. What began as an experiment has been a huge success and you can read the a piece about the students at the CIM website.. The students feel they have learned a lot as do the elders. (See a CBS News video below.) Continue reading
I’ve just finished reading a Washington Post opinion piece, We Need to Take Better Care of Our Elderly by Jerald Winakur. The March 20, 2015 article describes a hospital experience of a 91-year-old woman, who may be the author’s mother.
Winakur, a geriatrician, describes what happens to an elder who enters the hospital’s complex world of unfamiliar physicians, none of whom are the person’s primary care physician. He describes how wide-ranging medical tests, medical care recommendations, few explanations, and very little personalized care combine to create confusion for the patient and for family members. And, of course, there are the always-connected medical devices. Continue reading
The other day I wrote about elder adults and falls after reading Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation, published in the November 2, 2014 New York Times. The author, Katie Hafner, wrote about the extreme challenges of falls for aging individuals. The next day, November 3rd, part II appeared. Katie Hafner’s second piece, A Tiny Stumble, A Life Upended, focused on one individual and her arduous recovery from a damaging fall. Both articles are worth reading.
My Past Blog Posts on Adult Falls
One of our University of Chicago alumni publications — a pamphlet aimed toward older boomer alums — featured an interesting article, A Geriatrician’s Guide to Healthy Aging.
Penned by William Dale, M.D., Ph.D., the University of Chicago Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, the short piece offers general aging advice in four categories:
- Staying active
- Maintaining relationships
- Keeping our personal health records
- Finding a doctor who is comfortable treating older patients
Dr. Dale is also the author of My Father’s Life and Death from Cancer, a description of his experiences during the last months of his father’s life. This article appeared in a 2011 edition of Medicine on the Midway, another Chicago alumni publication.