Tag Archives: seniors

Legislators look at abuse of the elderly

About 90 of those who abuse the elderly are family members of the victim, either children or grandchildren, followed by caregivers and professional con artists who have targeted older adults, according to statics presented to a joint House-Senate Committee on abuse of senior citizens that met last week.

From WTVT-TV’s report:

“I call it early inheritance syndrome that we deal with with these abusers,” Attorney David Callahan told the task force. “They just cannot wait to get their money out of their inheritance, and so they take steps to intervene with the natural order of things and obtain their inheritance early.”

Callahan has been an estate planner who explained how he sees the fallout from the financial abuse of the elderly almost daily now.

And while two thirds of the victims have been women, 60% of the abusers were men between the ages of 30 and 59.

…”Elder abuse is more closely associated to child abuse than any other thing else. It has some additional challenges that aren’t faced in child abuse cases that make them even harder to detect and harder to rectify,” Callahan described.

He told the committee the problem was that the elderly all too often, rarely leave their homes and have little contact with the outside world where someone might be able to help them.

And Beverly Patnaik with the Council on Aging told the task force that especially when family members have been the abusers, there are many reasons, victims don’t report it.

“They’re ashamed that their family members are behaving that way towards them. They’re in denial. They blame themselves. Their fear of the abuser. Retaliation. Being forced to leave their home. Fear of losing their independence. ‘Mom, if you don’t give me your social security check, I’m going to put you in a nursing home.’ We hear that so many times,” she shared.

DHHS: Obamacare Saved Average TN Senior $550 on Drugs

News release from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
As a result of the Affordable Care Act – the health care law enacted in 2010 – seniors and people with disabilities in Tennessee have saved $91.2 million on prescription drugs since the law was enacted, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.
Seniors in Tennessee saved an average of $550 in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” in 2012. Nationwide, nearly 5.4 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs.
In addition, during the first seven months of 2012, the new health care law has helped 611,511 people with original Medicare in Tennessee get at least one preventive service at no cost to them.
“The health care law has saved people with Medicare over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs, and given millions access to cancer screenings, mammograms and other preventive services for free,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Medicare is stronger thanks to the health care law, saving people money and offering new benefits at no cost to seniors.”

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TennCare Tightens Rules for Nursing Home Coverage

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — TennCare officials say it is getting more difficult for low-income seniors to qualify for nursing homes and other services.
Officials say under old rules, elderly people could qualify for up to $55,000 to pay for a nursing home, adult day care or assisted living if they weren’t able to groom themselves. Under rules that began on July 1, TennCare will take an overall assessment of a person’s need before that level of funding is allocated. Being able to groom oneself is just one measure that TennCare uses to assess a person’s ability to handle activities of daily life.
TennCare spokeswoman Kelly Gunderson said those who don’t qualify for the maximum assessment can still get up to $15,000 annually. She said those who think they need more can ask their health care coordinator for another assessment.
The change has led to concerns.
Serenity Adult Day Care Center owner DeNessa Cartwright told the Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/Oj5nnV) that $15,000 might not be enough for the level of care some seniors require.
“A person can be lacking in only one ADL, but that one ADL could be so major that you still have many needs and need maximum funding,” said Cartwright.
Gunderson said changing the rules will save the agency $47 million a year and it will be able to redistribute money to serve more people.
“This is a critical next step in helping the state continue to expand access to home-based care, delay and/or prevent the need for nursing facility placement, when appropriate, and rebalance the state’s long-term care system for the elderly and adults with physical disabilities,” Gunderson said.
But Tennessee Justice Center Executive Director Gordon Bonnyman said he is concerned the state will be unable to provide needed services.
“It just defies common sense that you’re going to actually be able to maintain everybody, meet those needs and yet take $47 million out of the budget once used to pay for those services,” Bonnyman said

AG Says Legislature Could Impose Special Restrictions on Senior Citizen Driving

The Tennessean has a lengthy story today on the possibility of Tennessee imposing extra restrictions on senior citizens’ drivers licenses.
The idea has been floated in the past, but not for years. If memory serves, former Rep. Frank Buck of Dowelltown once filed a bill calling for vision testing of older drivers when their licenses came up for renewal, but it caused such an uproar he backed off.
As the story notes, Rep. Eddie Bass recently sought an attorney general’s opinion on the subject and it basically gives a green light to laws imposing special restrictions on older drivers. But it is suggested that filing of any such bill is highly unlikely in this election year.
Exerpt from the story:
As the number of elderly drivers on the road — and accompanying concerns about their ability to drive safely — increases, state officials are exploring new laws that could subject older drivers to additional testing, make it easier for Tennessee to take licenses away from older drivers at the request of family members, or both.
Last month, Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. issued an opinion that stated such laws would not be unconstitutional or discriminatory so long as they were “rationally related to a legitimate state interest.”
The opinion came in response to questions submitted by state Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, a retired sheriff who is apparently exploring more stringent licensing requirements for senior drivers. Bass did not return multiple phone messages and emails seeking comment. In his question to the attorney general, Bass did not specify a certain age where additional testing might be required.
Under present laws, Tennessee is one of the least restrictive states in the country for older drivers. Most other states do have laws in place that impose heightened licensing requirements on older drivers, from accelerated renewal cycles to requiring that drivers over a certain age pass vision and/or reaction tests. Some states go so far as to require older drivers to submit a doctor’s certification that they are safe to drive. Federal law already allows health-care providers to provide protected information to public officials if they believe there is a threat to public safety.