|July 2005 | Volume 7 | No. 9
Policy & Legislation
National Elder Justice Coalition Coordinator Robert Blancato reports Senate staff are working on a bipartisan basis to hammer out the "final details and legislative language for the impending introduction of the Elder Justice Act."
The Elder Justice Coalition is a national nonpartisan coalition of concerned citizens, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies across the country. Visit www.elderjusticecoalition.com for full details.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on July 14 approved a health and human services appropriations bill for 2006 that includes $20,360,000 for Older Americans Act Title VII, the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program.
If accepted, the Senate appropriation would be roughly $1 million higher than this year's Title VII elder rights allotment. The House version of the bill proposes adding $72,000, as we reported last month.
Under the Senate plan, most of the proposed Title VII allotment, $15,162,000, would go to the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. The remaining $5,198,000 would go to Programs for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation.
The bill now proceeds to the Senate for approval.
For more information, go to >> http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp109:FLD010:@1(sr103)
To see the House's preliminary budget figures, go to >> http://appropriations.house.gov/_files/LHSCMark.pdf
"Building a Financially Safe Society" — Recommendations from WHCoA Mini-Conference Are Made
On July 14 the Employee Benefit Research Institute and American Savings Education Council jointly hosted a 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) Mini-Conference – "Financial Literacy throughout the Life Span." Included among the recommendations:
More information available at >>
You may also be interested in . . . .
On July 10 Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation that will help to ensure vulnerable elderly, disabled and mentally ill residents in state-licensed nursing homes are properly protected from registered sex offenders and parolees who are their fellow residents.
Among other things, the new Vulnerable Adults Protection Act requires that law enforcement be allowed access to sex offenders and other convicted felons in nursing homes and also that court sentencing orders, disciplinary reports, and parole plans be provided to the Department of Public Health whenever an offender is admitted to a facility while on parole.
For public safety, the law further requires long term care homes to notify every resident or resident's guardian, employee, and visitor whenever a sex offender or convicted felon on parole, probation, or court-ordered supervision is living in the facility.
At a press conference announcing the legislation, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said: "With this new law, the intake process for residents of long-term care facilities for the first time will take into account an offender's criminal history and the corresponding risk he or she may pose to the vulnerable adults in these facilities."
According to official statistics, 86 registered sex offenders currently live in 51 facilities across the state and 86 convicted felons in 56 facilities.
Information on the Vulnerable Adults Protection Act is available at >>
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski recently signed legislation barring family, caregivers, or 'newfound friends' who have been convicted of abusing an elder from later profiting from their crimes by way of an inheritance. Prior to this law, perpetrators of undue influence, even after they were caught, were able to continue exploiting.
"In many cases the perpetrator not only benefits from his or her wrongdoing during the victim's lifetime, but then gets a second chance to benefit after the victim's death," said the bill's original sponsor, Rep. Mark Haas, in recent testimony. "This law will add another layer of protection for some of our most vulnerable citizens."
Legislation Online >> SB 392 – An Act Relating to Passage of Property After Death
Governor Kulongoski signed into law last month a bill to ensure survivors of domestic violence who haven't paid their bills have access to basic phone service.
SB 983, sponsored by Oregon State Senator Vicki L. Walker, directs the Oregon Public Utility Commission to establish a program that bars local phone companies from disconnecting service if it would significantly endanger a person who is at risk of domestic violence or unwanted contact, a disabled or elderly individual at risk of abuse, or a victim of stalking.
According to the Senator's press release, the initiative is modeled after Oregon's emergency medical certificate program that the phone companies also operate. The consumer will have to provide proof that they or a member of their family would be at significant risk were the phone to be shut off. Examples of proof include a restraining order or a court order.
The new law becomes effective September 1, 2005.
Legislation Online >> SB 983 An Act Relating to Communication Services; and Declaring an Emergency
Promising Practices Spotlight: "A Place of Safety"
Dwelling Place Shelter for Abused Elderly, a seven-bed transitional shelter located in the Nation's Capital, provides a 'safe haven' vital to older District of Columbia residents age 60 and over who have been abused, neglected, or financially exploited.
The 24-hour emergency shelter was founded 20 years ago by So Others Might Eat (SOME, Inc.), a nonsectarian/ interfaith nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the hungry, the poor, and the homeless.
"We saw that there was a need and we had some space available," said Father John Adams, president of SOME, Inc. "We understood from other agencies in the city that we needed someone to step forward and set up a shelter for abused and neglected older adults."
In 2004, the program was able to provide 2,439 nights of emergency shelter for 25 abused and neglected seniors. Referrals come from sources all around the community, including SOME, Inc., homeless shelters, hospitals, adult protective services, and the DC Office on Aging. Before coming into the shelter, the staff of Dwelling Place will meet with the client face to face.
More Than a Shelter
Clients are allowed to stay up to 90 days. As well as providing immediate support, the staff of Dwelling Place also strives to teach 'real world' life skills. For instance, clients are encouraged to save 75% of their income while living at Dwelling Place so they will be able to afford rent. Some already have jobs when they come to Dwelling Place, and others work as senior aides at one of SOME's two senior centers.
A known and respected agency in the community, Dwelling Place Shelter is a strong advocate for the rights of older people. Community partners include the DC Office on Aging, Greater Washington Urban League, Howard University, United Planning Organization/Project KEEN Respite Program, DC Department of Human Services, and Iona Senior Services.
Major funding for the shelter is provided by SOME, Inc. In addition, the DC Office on Aging also contributes financial support.
For those interested in starting a shelter, David LaMason, Dwelling Place program coordinator, said the most important thing is to "do your homework." Step two, he said, "Be sure to structure your shelter in a way that will work in your community. Learn from the mistakes of other[s] by calling them up and finding out what worked / didn't work for them."
For further information, contact David LaMason, Program Coordinator, Dwelling Place Shelter for Abused Elderly, 2812 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20020-3855, (202).583.7602, [email protected]
Since January 2005, the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg House, serving older people in greater New York, has offered emergency elder abuse shelter, legal advocacy, and support to victims traumatized and in danger of additional victimization.
Staffed with a nurse, an attorney, and a social worker, the shelter is a program of the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at New York's Hebrew Home for the Aged. Unlike a freestanding shelter, Weinberg clients are integrated into the daily life of the Hebrew Home. There is no stigmatization, as each client's privacy is rigorously protected.
In all, there are some 31 beds available for the clients scattered among the Home's care units.
A prime mover in this initiative has been Daniel Reingold, president and CEO, Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, who co-founded the program with Joy Solomon, director, Pace Women's Justice Center.
"Dan is really the force behind our work," said Anne Marie Levine, the registered nurse in charge, adding "he's the visionary. He identifies a need and is willing to do something about it."
A Refuge in Time of Trouble
Leaving an abusive situation is a very difficult thing to do – and, unfortunately, in ten instances, clients who had been accepted into the shelter opted not to come.
"There has to be some commitment, some willingness to [change] their current situation," Levine explained. "Some are not at that point yet. Nobody is forced to be here."
Things Move Very Quickly
"Some haven't eaten in a while," she said. We assess them, and make them feel as comfortable as possible."
The allegations run the gamut: financial, spousal, sexual, and an endless array of physical and emotional cruelty. Not surprisingly, in the vast majority of cases, adult children and grandchildren are the perpetrators, Levine said.
If civil legal assistance is needed, an attorney from Pace Women's Justice Center's Elder Institute, a Weinberg House partner, will provide legal advice and direct support to victims, including obtaining orders of protection and orders to vacate.
Weinberg House has had a lot of support right from the beginning. Other partners include the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York University Division of Nursing, Bronx District Attorney's Office, Manhattan District Attorney's Office Westchester County District Attorney's Office, New York City Adult Protective Services, and Westchester Department of Senior Programs and Services.
Stronger Day by Day
For Levine, these people on the frontlines are the crucial link in fighting elder abuse. "We like working through community," she said. "They're out there. They see it. They know what's going on."
Within a short time, it appears the Weinberg House is making an invaluable difference in people's lives, and it may well serve as a model in other communities.
"The staff has really bonded with these clients," Levine said. "They feel the connectedness. We hope when they leave here they go back a little stronger."
For further information, contact Anne Marie Levine, MS, RN, CS, MBA, Director, Weinberg House, 5901 Palisade Avenue, Riverdale, NY 10471, 1-800-56-SENIOR, [email protected]
CONFERENCES & TRAINING
August 7-12 2005
Sponsored by the National Organization for Victim Assistance and co-hosted by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and Fulton County District Attorney's Office of Georgia, the conference is geared to victim and witness assistance practitioners, criminal justice professionals, mental health professionals, researchers, former victims and survivors, and others committed to the recognition and implementation of victim rights and services.
Call 1-800-232-6682 or email [email protected] for more information.
Register Online >> https://sectrans.trynova.org/confreg05/
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The seminars cover a wide range of topics including:
Continuing Education (CE) credit is available for care/case managers, certified health education specialists, counselors, mental health professionals/social workers, nurses, nursing home administrators, professional guardians.
For more information or to register, go to >> www.asaging.org/autumn%2Dseries/as05/
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2006 Annual National Aging and Law Conference
Our next issue of NCEA e-News will be published September 2005. We hope all of our readers have a great summer.
NCEA News Archives on the Internet >>
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On Elder Abuse Listserve.
See our Web site for details.
Sources: New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Protective Services for Adults www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/psa/problem.asp; Project 2015: The Future of Aging in New York State http://aging.state.ny.us/explore/project2015/artabuse.htm; Target: Elder Abuse. New York Takes Action Against Elder Mistreatment and Neglect. A Statewide Summit Convened and Sponsored by Lifespan of Greater Rochester. Final Report, January 2005 www.lifespan-roch.org/lifespan_contents.htm
1The statistics highlighted in this column are gathered from a variety of state-specific data sources and should be cited using the sources referenced. Readers should note that elder abuse incidence and prevalence rates vary among states and differ depending upon the definitions used and state laws regarding reporting. The National Center on Elder Abuse cannot guarantee and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
by Richard D. Kennedy, JD, MD, Mt. Carmel Family Practice Residency, Mount Carmel Medical Center, Columbus, OH
Family Medicine Vol. 37, No. 7 / July/August 2005
STUDY AND RESULTS
This study of Ohio primary care physicians found that, overall, elder abuse is off the "radar screen" of most physicians. More than half of the family physicians and general internists surveyed said that they had never identified a case of elder mistreatment, and most were not aware of the extent of the problem. More than 60 percent reported never having asked an elderly patient about abuse.
On the Internet >> www.stfm.org/fmhub/fm2005/July/Richard481.pdf
Top 5 Reasons for Primary Care Physicians Not Reporting Abuse
SOURCE: Dr. Richard D. Kennedy, "Elder Abuse and Neglect: The Experience, Knowledge, and Attitudes of Primary Care Physicians," Family Medicine, Vol. 37, No. 7 / July/August 2005
by Dina J. Wilke, PhD, [email protected] and Linda Vinton, PhD, [email protected],
College of Social Work, Florida State University
Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, Vol. 20, No. 3 / August 2005
STUDY AND RESULTS
This study examined the nature and extent of domestic violence and its impact on psychosocial functioning among women of different age groups. No differences were found across age groups in the severity of violence, nature of injuries, use of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident, attribution of blame, likelihood to report violence, or rates of childhood physical abuse and depression. However, the older women were more likely to have experienced violence for a longer time, to be in current violent relationships, and to have health and mental health problems than were the younger women. These similarities and differences are discussed in terms of interventions.
by Sandra K. Burge, PhD, [email protected], et al, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas
Annals of Family Medicine, Vol. 3, No. 3 / May/June 2005
STUDY AND RESULTS
In a sample of 253 family practice patients in relationships, nearly all (97%) – men and women alike – said they believed that physicians should ask about family conflict and that physicians could be helpful. Even those reporting a history of relationship violence believed physicians should ask. Yet, only one third of the sample said their doctors had ever done so. Patients' advice to physicians clustered around three general themes: communication, assistance, and cautions or encouragement. More specifically, patients want physicians to ask about family conflict, listen to their stories, and provide information and appropriate referrals. Investigators suggest that the term family conflict is more likely to encourage open dialogue as it carries less of a social stigma than family violence.
On the Internet >> http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/reprint/3/3/248
Two recent articles published by the Academy of General Dentistry offer helpful suggestions for screening of older patients and keeping a careful eye.
ORAL SIGNS OF NEGLECT
POSSIBLE FEARS OF ABUSE SURVIVORS
SOURCES: Michael C. Herren, DMD and Raymond J. Bryon, Jr.DMD, "Elder Abuse Update," General Dentistry, May/June 2005 www.agd.org/library/2005/june/dart_157.pdf; Garwin, Jennifer, "Elder Abuse How to Spot It," AGD Impact, Vol. 33, No. 6, April 2005 www.agd.org/library/2005/june/garvin.asp
Family Violence: An Intervention Model for Dental Professionals
To see abstracts of more published studies, visit the Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly at http://db.rdms.udel.edu:8080/CANE/index.jsp. For assistance, e-mail CANE at [email protected].
Harvard University invites you to apply for the 2006 Innovations in American Government Award. Administered by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government, the Innovations Award is heralded as the premier public-sector award in the nation. It is given annually to programs that serve as examples of creative and effective government at its best.
All units of government-federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial-within the United States are eligible to apply. Each of the winners of the 2006 Innovations Award will receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities.
Online application and more information >> www.innovationsaward.harvard.edu/
2005 Finalists >> www.ashinstitute.harvard.edu/Ash/pr_2005f_ash.htm
Applications are due September 15, 2005.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, invites applications for the 2006 W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship to advance the field of knowledge regarding the confluence of crime, justice, and culture in various societal contexts.
The fellowship places particular emphasis on crime, violence, and administration of justice in diverse cultural contexts. Researchers from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. NIJ is especially interested in candidates who bring diverse ethnic and cultural perspectives to their work.
Possible research topics include, but are not limited to the following:
Application Deadline >> February 1, 2006
Download RFP >> www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/sl000706.pdf
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced it is launching a National Sex Offender Public Registry data exchange portal to help expand citizen access to state sex offender data. The goal is to have at least 20 state sex offender registries connected and the site available for public searches later this summer.
More information available at >> www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/what/index.html
This important new resource by Lori Stiegel, JD, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging offers a uniquely practical look of elder abuse fatality review team development, as well as background on their history and purpose. Released just last month, the report incorporates lessons learned from four ABA funded demonstrations in California, Maine, Virginia, and Texas.
The National Center on Elder Abuse will be hosting a teleconference on the subject of elder abuse fatality review teams this fall – so keep an eye out.
More information available at >> www.abanet.org/aging
U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime / May 2005
The new edition incorporates the many provisions for crime victims' rights and remedies, including the Justice for All Act of 2004, that have been enacted since the last edition. It also includes new guidance on identity theft.
On the Internet >> www.usdoj.gov/olp/final.pdf
"Elder abuse occurs in every neighborhood. It thrives on silence."
Lifespan of Greater Rochester, 2005
|Table of Contents|
Policy & Legislation
Promising Practices Spotlight: "A Place of Safety"
NCEA News & Resources
On the Frontlines
Research & Scholarship
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The NCEA Newsletter is supported in part by a grant, No. 90-AM-2792, from the U.S. Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services.
Points of view or opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the official views of AoA/HHS or any of the NCEA's affiliated partners.