Archive for the ‘AARP’ Category

Meet Brenda Kelley-Nelum, A Champion for Seniors (and NASGA Legislative Liaison!)

September 30, 2013

Brenda Kelley-Nelum, a loyal AARP volunteer, is a champion for senior citizens. She has been a longtime activist for standing up and protecting seniors from abuse and wrongdoings. A Washington D.C native, Brenda attended public school before they were integrated. In 1954, her 7th grade year, she went from a small six room elementary school to the quite large Eastern High School. The transformation she said is unforgettable. Brenda continued her education and received a BA from Howard University.

Brenda’s career consisted of being a federal auditor for the inspector general and a financial representative for the National Council of Senior Citizens now called Senior Service America.  She worked extensively with the Virginia Leadership Institute getting citizens in the Prince William area involved in the community through becoming members of state and local commissions. For fun, Brenda does different community service projects like planning an event educating people on healthy soul food cooking through the zeta chi omega chapter of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. With over 100 attendants, some of the guests included the state President of AARP, a state senator, and a city council member. In her spare time Brenda, enjoys using Facebook and Twitter to keep up with friends and family.

Brenda first got involved with AARP to advocate for a new healthcare system. She saw AARP being criticized for supporting the Medicare Part D prescription drug legislation. Watching citizens in Richmond publicly destroying their AARP membership cards pushed Brenda into action; she thought “shouldn’t these people be working with AARP in order to have their concerns fought for?” and with that, she got involved. She felt that AARP was committed to seeing healthcare reform to the very end and she wanted to be a part of that—regardless of the flack she might receive from friends and neighbors.

Brenda mostly works with AARP on healthcare issues but she is a big advocate for doing more to combat elder abuse; a cause AARP is deeply concerned about. Brenda has been very vocal about elders being abused by those in trusted with their guardianship and would like to see the issue have more light shed upon it. Brenda would like to see AARP working on more of a micro level in order to be more responsive to every senior’s needs and concerns.

Meet Brenda Kelley-Nelum – A Champion for Seniors

VI Officials Ponder Uniform Guardianship Jurisdiction Legislation

July 13, 2013

One of AARP Virgin Islands most recent advocacy projects involves helping community opinion leaders and local legislators to appreciate the importance of adopting the national Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, also known as UAGPPJA.

In a nutshell, the legislation would establish three very basic legal premises that would be recognized by all other states who also adopted the UAGPPJA. First, it would determine which court has jurisdiction over a guardianship case. Next it would create a system where courts could communicate and formally recognize one state’s guardianship orders by another state or, in the Virgin Islands, territory. And, lastly, this new law would facilitate interstate transfers of guardianship cases when travel between jurisdictions would benefit the person under guardianship.

While many of us may feel that such a law seems straight forward and clear, history has proven that it isn’t. Too many times, some of the most vulnerable, incapacitated adults have become victims of battling family members wishing to exploit guardianship solely to gain control of the incapacitated person’s estate.

Like the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, that preceded UAGPPJA, the law will recognize and protect the legal rights of the parent or guardian, providing legal consistency from one jurisdiction to another.

AARP VI feels that enactment of this law will help to prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation as well as help expedite medical care unavailable within the territory to be rendered without having to “re-establish” legal guardianship in the new jurisdiction.

During a two-day event, AARP VI first trained key AARP volunteers on the topic and then on the following day educated the President of the 30th Legislature, a key Judge, attorneys from the public and private law sectors and officials from the Department of Human Services. All agreed that the adoption of the UAGPPJA will prove invaluable to the residents of the Virgin Islands, our legal system as well as  to others from other jurisdictions planning to interact with the territory.

Full Article and Source:
VI Officials Ponder Uniform Guardianship Jurisdiction Legislation

60 Plus Association

June 22, 2013

Founded in 1992, the 60 Plus Association is a non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to seniors issues.

60 Plus has set ending the federal estate tax and saving Social Security for the young as its top priorities.

 60 Plus is often viewed as the conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

60 Plus Association

TX: Woman’s Costly Court Battle Prompts Call for Reform of Guardianship System

May 13, 2013

Ninety-one-year-old Sophie Paulos spent three months and more than $30,000 proving to court officials that she was competent enough to run her own life.

Two of her daughters had told a local judge that they suspected Paulos was being financially exploited by family members. They said they were worried about her health. They questioned whether she was mentally sound.

By the time the three-month ordeal was over, Paulos says, she had paid $30,000 for court-appointed lawyers she never wanted and another $70,000 on related legal expenses.

“I was humiliated,” said Paulos, who is frustrated with court officials who she says drove up the bills. “I had to pay for this and they don’t care.”

Now Paulos’ son-in-law — former Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs — is holding her case out as an example of how the guardianship system needs reform.

Since Paulos’ case was settled in October, Suehs has been connecting with legislators and guardianship advocates who say people are unfairly dragged through the courts and forced to spend thousands of dollars to protect their independence. Now they’re pushing for changes that would require speedier hearings and force courts to prove they need to intervene before launching full investigations. The proposals have drawn support from AARP and Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth.

But lawyers and judges say the proposed changes would leave people more vulnerable and throw unnecessary roadblocks into the process.

Adult guardianship cases are essentially lawsuits designed to ensure vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities are not abused, neglected or exploited. A probate court must determine whether people are competent enough to keep themselves safe and healthy. If a judge deems they are not, he can appoint a guardian to make medical, financial and other decisions for them.

Between September 2011 and August 2012, more than 4,500 adult guardianship petitions were filed in probate courts across the state. Of those, 206 were filed in Travis County.

Those involved in the process say people often need guardians for reasons such as dementia or failing health. But sometimes people who need help don’t realize it or can’t recognize the signs of trouble, said Travis County Probate Court Judge Guy Herman. They don’t see that they are being scammed by strangers or giving away all their money.

Consequently, they balk at the the idea of needing a guardian, Herman said.

“Let’s face it, when there is a guardianship, somebody’s losing some rights,” he said. “It’s a loss of freedom and they’re well aware of it.”

Paulos certainly was.

“I am very hurt that they put this through the court,” she said. “I am not incompetent.”

Full Article and Source:
Woman’s Costly Court Battle Prompts Call for Reform of Guardianship System

NY: UAGPPJA Bill Would Ease Guardianship of Out of State Elderly Relatives

May 2, 2013

The AARP is urging state lawmakers to pass a bill that would make it easier and cheaper for New Yorkers to care for elderly relatives located in another state.

Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Nassau County, said during a news conference Tuesday that the bill would simplify the process for individuals who act as legal guardians to family members across state lines.
The Senate passed the bill later in the day.
“Right now, if somebody has a guardianship and goes to another state, you have to go through the process all over again,” said Hannon, who is also chairman of the Senate Health Committee. “It’s the same as if you come in to New York or if you go to another state.”
New York would become the 37th state to adopt the measure. Current law dictates that state residents comply with other states’ court systems for elderly care.
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, D-Brooklyn, said New Yorkers often move to another state while their parents remain home, needing help with health-care management.
“It allows the guardianship to travel with the individual instead of a new procedure having to be started,” Weinstein said. “It is one of these proposals that makes so much common sense, you kind of wonder why we haven’t had this in place before.
AARP said it is pushing the measure nationwide in order to create a uniform standard that allows individuals to file a registration form in other states where their relatives live.
AARP said the person’s home state would have primary jurisdiction.

Full Article and Source:
Bill Would Ease Guardianship of Out of State Elderly Relatives

Florida: Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation)

April 19, 2013

On Friday May 10, 2013, the Department of Financial Services, overseen by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater will present OPERATION S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) at the South County Civic Center, Jog Rd., Delray Beach beginning at 1:00 pm. CFO Atwater’s office is partnering with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to present this program and to ensure that our Palm Beach County residents get the latest on local frauds and scams and who to call and what to do if they are a victim.

Details on numerous scams and frauds including identity theft, insurance and health care fraud, reverse mortgage scams, investment scams, contractor fraud and lottery and sweepstakes scams will be presented and you will learn how NOT to become a victim and how to protect your information and yourself. Representatives from the Department of Financial Services and PBSO will be there to answer your questions and assist you with any problems. Also at the event will be representatives from AARP, Elder Affairs, Consumer Affairs and other senior advocacy groups and agencies.

Current statistics show that one in five seniors has been a victim of financial fraud yet only one in 44 will report it.

Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) to be Presented

AARP Faces Conservative Competition

November 29, 2012

Looking to counter what they see as AARP’s liberal slant, a new organization aims to rally conservative senior citizens.

The National Association of Conservative Seniors says it will provide seniors “membership benefits while working together to protect conservative American values” —benefits that include “financial planning services, health and wellness offers, Medicare insurance plans and competitive pricing on auto insurance and roadside assistance,” according to a release.

“These are the best years of American seniors’ lives,” said John White, NAOCS founder and president. “Our goal is to provide them with services that will enhance these years, making it easier for them to focus on the things that matter most to them: family, friends, faith and country. … We believe in America now, and we believe in America’s future. Together we can assure that the values our nation is built upon will continue for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”

Full Article and Source:
AARP Faces Conservative Competition

7 Common Snowbird Scams

November 27, 2012

It’s not just retirees who flock to warm-weather states such as Florida and Arizona as the temperature drops up north. During snowbird season — November through April — scammers also head south to prey on the half-year residents.

“Absolutely, during snowbird season there’s an increase in scams — and many are done by organized outfits … who specifically target older seasonal residents,” says Joe Roubicek, who spent 20 years investigating scams as a Fort Lauderdale police detective before writing Financial Abuse of the Elderly: A Detective’s Case Files of Exploitation Crimes.

1. The malevolent mechanic. They wait outside shopping malls or supermarkets, watching for snowbirds (often recognized by out-of-state license plates) to park and go inside. If the car’s older or left unlocked, they can pop the hood and disable the vehicle by pulling wires. “When the elder returns, they offer help getting their car started — after driving them to the bank for money to pay for the repair,” says Roubicek. “Their main target: women in their 70s or 80s.”

Full Article and Source:
7 Common Snowbird Scams

See Also:

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Read Sample Chapters of Mr. Roubicek’s New Work in Progress: “Kill Mom, Kill Dad; Disposing of the Elderly for Profit”

COMMENTARY: Declining fortunes affect boomers’ futures

September 13, 2012

Lots of baby boomers face a bleak economic future as more approach retirement, and that won’t help President Barack Obama’s re-election chances.

A recent AARP report showed that those age 50 and older are carrying more mortgage debt than ever, and the increase in the rate of serious mortgage delinquency of older Americans from 2007 to 2011 has outpaced that of younger homeowners. “As the mortgage crisis continues, millions of older Americans are struggling to maintain their financial security,” the AARP report said.

The report found 3.5 million loans of people age 50 and older were underwater. In that age group, about 600,000 loans were in foreclosure, and 625,000 more loans were at least 90 days delinquent.

Also from 2007 to 2011, more than 1.5 million older Americans lost their homes because of the mortgage crisis. Unemployment among older workers is high, and they have a tougher time finding jobs.

They also have to live with lower wages, increasing property taxes and fixed incomes. But how did older people in this country — once one of the most financially secure because of nearly 80 years of Social Security, solid savings and interest earnings, pensions and about an 80 percent homeownership rate — become so vulnerable?

Full Article and Source:
COMMENTARY: Declining fortunes affect boomers’ futures

Effort to Curb Abuse by Legal Guardians Advances in Senate

July 16, 2012

The Senate Judiciary Committee backed a measure designed to help state courts improve their handling of adult guardianship cases in an effort to prevent exploitation of seniors and the disabled.

The amended bill (S 1744) would authorize grants for the courts to update their practices on guardians overseeing adults who are unable to manage property and accounts, as well as conservators tasked with managing adults’ estates.

The Judiciary panel approved the measure in a 15-3 vote, with Republicans Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Lee of Utah opposing it.

“I know every state has incidences of people getting ripped off millions of dollars when their loved one is supposed to be under the care of a guardian,” said Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar , the bill’s sponsor. “Most guardians do amazing work, good work, but . . . [some] are causing a lot of harm.”

Klobuchar is the chairwoman of the Judiciary panel’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, which held a hearing last year to examine court-appointed guardians for seniors and the disabled.

“It is a moral imperative that we take action,” Klobuchar said at the Sept. 22 hearing, citing a Government Accountability Office report on wrongdoing by guardians.

The 2010 report identified hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation by guardians. In 20 selected cases, the GAO found “guardians stole or otherwise improperly obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims, many of whom were seniors” and in some instances “also physically neglected and abused their victims.”

The report also revealed instances in which courts failed to adequately screen potential guardians or oversee guardians once they were appointed.

Under Klobuchar’s bill, the Health and Human Services Department could award grants to state courts to be used for assessing how they appoint and monitor guardians and conservators, as well as for making any needed changes to their practices. Recipient courts would be directed to work with their state’s aging and adult protective service agencies.

The bill also would require HHS to give the State Justice Institute (SJI) an opportunity to weigh in on how the grants are awarded, and HHS may also consult with the Justice Department.

Established in 1984, the SJI is a nonprofit corporation governed by an 11-member board composed of state court judges, members of the public and a state court administrator. It is tasked with promoting greater coordination between state and federal courts.

The bill would include no new funding. Rather it would tap into existing grant funds. It has the backing of groups such as the AARP, the American Bar Association, The National Center for State Courts and The National Guardianship Association, Klobuchar said Thursday.

Full Article and Source:
New Effort to Curb Abuse by Legal Guardians Advances in Senate

See Also:
Guardian Accountabilty and Senior Protection Act Passes Senate Today