Elder Abuse Lawyer Awarded MacArthur Genius Grant

Marie-Therese Connolly, a Washington DC-based elder-abuse activist is one of the 22 new MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Ms. Connolly was pivotal in the drafting and passage of the Elder Justice Act, enacted in 2010. It was the first piece of federal legislation to address the issue specifically.

In awarding the grant, the foundation stated that Connolly, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, has “devoted her career to laying bare the many forms of elder abuse: physical and psychological, as well as financial exploitation and wrongful deprivation of rights.” Founder and director of Life Long Justice at the Appleseed Foundation, a non-profit entity to fight elder abuse, Ms Connolly works to make sure that the prevention of elder abuse is a national priority. She cites the following statistics on her website:

  • 7.6% - 11% of people 60+ at home are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • 47% of people with dementia at home are abused or neglected by their caregivers.
  • For every one case of elder abuse that comes to light, 23.5 do not.
  • 50% – 90% of nursing homes are understaffed at levels that harm residents.

The Fellowship award means that Ms. Connolly can continue her quixotic endeavor and, as she says, it proves that there is “external validation that (this work) actually matters.”

As per usual, the recipients learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years.

We at Caregiverlist.com advocate for elder justice and we congratulate Ms. Connolly on the award for her tireless work.

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Signs In-Home Senior Care Is Needed: Free Webinar

How do you know if a loved one needs in-home senior care?  When you are only with them for a couple hours at a time, once a week or so, it is often hard to really notice declines in their health, including memory loss challenges.
As the owner of a senior home care agency for 7 years, I can share many stories of how one spouse covered for the other and then died suddenly and the family realized Mom or Dad had memory loss or other health challenges that kept them from living at home alone.  There is also the story of a senior who just kept not showing up for events and meetings that they usually attended and then would show up on the wrong day. 
Especially with memory loss, it is natural to not want to share the challenges with others at first.  You are embarrased or think that you actually aren't forgetting - how do you know?  Maybe you are just too busy to keep up with everything.  But perhaps bills are not being paid on time or medications are missed which then cause more severe problems.
Norm McNamara, in his "Caregiverlist Alzheimer's Diary", shares how he first knew he was forgetting yet did not want to tell others.  It is important for all of us to have mental memory tests every year, as soon as age 50, as early onset Alzheimer's disease does start as early as 50.
A senior care industry professional association will offer a free Webinar to help you learn about how to look for signs in-home care is needed and how to approach the subject with your loved one.
Webinar:  Signs that In-Home Care is Needed
Date:  October 11, 2011
Time:  7 p.m. Eastern Time
You may register for the webinar and learn the signs that indicate in-home care is needed, especially if you do not live near your senior family members.  You may also find checklists for home care and learn about quality standards necessary for senior home care.
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Respite Caregiving Services for Families Expands

The lifespan Respite Care Program, administered by the Administration on Aging, has delivered grants to 29 states and the District of Columbia since 2009.  Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee announced this week that more than $1.1 million in additional funding has been awarded to Delaware, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and D.C. to expand the respite caregiving services for family caregivers.

The program, called Lifespan Respite Care Program Expansion (nothing like calling it what it is, right?), pays for direct services for caregivers as well as continued program development activities.  As family caregivers can easily become both isolated and exhausted which leads to a decline in their own health and possible depression, the respite caregiving services provides the caregivers with emotional support services necessary to reduce stress and caregiver burnout.

States with respite caregiving program grants are:

Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, Wisconsin, Utah.

If you live in one of these states, professional and family caregivers may locate respite services in their community through the National Respite Locator.  Each state administers the program in different ways, in addition to recruiting volunteers and offering training and activities.

You may also find By-State contact information in Caregiverlist's directory along with caregiver training and job opportunities in your area if you would like to pursue a career in caregiving, after having personal experience.




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