Articles Posted in Elder Care

senior%20citizen%20scams.jpgNumerous types of scams ranging in complexity from simple deceptions to elaborate Ponzi schemes are conducted every day. Unfortunately, these frequently are directed at senior citizens, perhaps the one segment of society that has the least opportunity to recoup their losses should they fall victim to a scam.

While the various types of scams are too numerous to list here, the following is a look at some of the more common ones, along with tips on how to avoid them. Remember, becoming aware is half the battle.

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caregiver.jpgA new bill heading to the New Jersey State Senate for consideration would make it easier for caregivers to attend to patients upon their release from the hospital and, hopefully, cut down on the number of re-admissions.(1)

The bill, which won approval by the State Assembly last month, would allow patients to designate a specific caregiver to assist them upon their return home. The hospital then would be required to include the name of the designated caregiver and his or her contact information on the patients’ medical charts. Furthermore, hospitals would be required to inform designated caregivers of their patients’ pending discharge and provide details of the patients’ post discharge care instructions along with any training needed to carry out those instructions. Hospitals would also be required to provide caregivers with the opportunity to ask questions regarding their charges’ care; provide answers to those questions; and provide a contact qualified to answer additional questions that may arise at a later time.(1)

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senior%20scams.jpgIt is a familiar story. An elderly woman from Watchung answered her phone last month only to be told that her grandson was in custody in Haiti and needed her assistance to bail him out. It was only after she had wired $1,990 that the woman realized she had been scammed. Her attempts to stop the wire transfer of money were unsuccessful. (1)

This is just one variation of the many financial scams targeting senior citizens. Sometimes the con artists will claim that the relative of the victim is in the hospital and in need of money. Other times, the caller will even pretend to be the victim’s relative, tricking the victim into revealing the name of the person he or she thinks is on the other end of the line, and then claim some type of financial crisis he/she needs help resolving. (2)

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A new bill being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would ensure that seniors residing in assisted living facilities would keep their housing even after their money ran out and they qualified for Medicaid. (1)

The bill would require companies that operate assisted living facilities within the State to set up escrow accounts that would be used to cover the living and care expenses of residents at similar facilities should the company close its facilities for any reason. In this way, companies would be prevented from evicting individuals who have spent all of their money and subsequently qualify for Medicaid. (1)

This measure is in response to a 2009 case involving Assisted Living Concepts, a Wisconsin-based company that operates over 200 facilities in 20 states, including 7 in southern New Jersey. Originally the company promised potential residents that once their financial resources were depleted from payment of their living expenses at the facility, they would then be allowed to apply for Medicaid, which would be acceptable payment for their subsequent living expenses at their facility. However, an investigation by the State’s Public Advocate found that the company instead tried to evict residents once their personal financial resources were depleted. (2)

After the recent dismissal of a case by the New Jersey Appellate Division, the question of whether or not hospitals have the right to overrule family wishes in Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) matters remains unclear.

The case in question involved the family of Ruben Betancourt and Trinitas Regional Medical Center of Elizabeth, NJ. The then 73-year-old Betancourt was in a vegetative state for more than a year when the hospital removed him from life-support equipment and sought to issue a DNR order. Betancourt’s daughter, Jacqueline, brought the case to court where she sought to become her father’s legal guardian and fought the hospital’s decision. The State Superior Court ruled in her favor; the hospital was ordered to put Betancourt back on life-support and the DNR order was removed. (1)

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