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Today, June 15th, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today, June 15th, is the annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) as first declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. Elder abuse is increasingly recognized as an important worldwide problem, and one that is likely to grow as many countries experience the rapid aging of their populations. 
In the U.S. alone, some 10,000 people turn 65 every day. The focus of this year’s WEAAD is financial abuse of the elderly — a very common form of elder abuse which, for the most part, remains hidden and unreported. It is hoped WEAAD will raise the general awareness of this form of elder abuse and by so doing reduce its frequency.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017 — Financial Abuse

The theme of the 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) to be observed at the United Nations Headquarters on June 15th is “Understand and End Financial Abuse of Older People: A Human Rights Issue.” 
Financial exploitation of the elderly is a common and serious problem, experienced by an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of seniors globally. It is a crime that, for a variety of reasons, often goes unreported. Cognitive and other impairments often limit the ability that older victims have to identify and report financial abuses perpetrated against them. In addition, the perpetrators are often close family members and trusted caregivers, adding an element of shame and embarrassment to an already painful situation. 
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day throws a bright public light on this unfortunate situation, and provides an opportunity for the whole world to voice its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted upon far too many of our senior citizens.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The United Nations has designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The first WEAAD was observed in 2012, and was marked by meetings and conferences at UN headquarters in New York. The day aims to focus global attention on the physical, emotional, and financial abuse that is often targeted at elders. The global population of people over the age of 60 is a rapidly growing demographic group. World Health Organization data indicates that at least 4 to 6 per cent of the elderly experience some form of abuse. WEAAD seeks to bring together senior citizens and all those who care about them to exchange ideas about how best to reduce the incidence of elder abuse and to improve the reporting of such abuse that does occur.

May is National Elder Law Month

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy first proclaimed May as the month to honor Americans who are 65 and older.  The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys supports this proclamation, declaring May to be National Elder Law Month.
Today, over 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day.  Older individuals often have unique and special needs that require legal attention.  Elder lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to deal with these important legal issues, and are dedicated to meeting the needs of our older citizens. 
The list of issues in which elder lawyers can be of service is a long one.  It includes wills and estate planning, drafting financial and medical powers of attorney in the event of incapacity, Medicare and Medicaid planning, issues surrounding long-term care, guardianships and probate, and elder abuse and exploitation, just to name a few. 

Whatever the issue, an elder law attorney can help deal with the challenging legal problems often associated with aging.

ABLE Accounts

ABLE Accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. ABLE accounts were created by federal legislation passed in 2014 (“the ABLE Act”), which recognized the fact that millions of individuals with disabilities rely on public assistance such as SSI and Medicaid for their living expenses, housing, and health care. Eligibility for these public benefits has a strict means test — no more than $2,000 in savings and other assets. Recognizing that the living costs for disabled individuals are often significantly higher than normal, the ABLE Act provides that special ABLE savings accounts can be established by the individuals and their families without jeopardizing eligibility for public assistance. 
The ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals whose disability had its onset before reaching 26 years of age. Annual total contributions made on behalf of any individual are limited to $14,000 at present. 
ABLE accounts are to be administered by th…

Medicaid Recovery

People with limited resources who need long-term skilled nursing care may have to rely upon Medicaid to pay for this expense.  To help recover the cost of these government services, every state must have a recovery program.  In Texas, the program is the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, or "MERP", which gives the state the right to ask for money back from the estate of a Medicaid recipient after his or her death.  
Quite often, the largest asset in the estate of a Medicaid recipient is a homestead.  Fortunately, in Texas there are methods to protect the home from Medicaid recovery.  Through the use of special deeds conveying the house on death (such as Ladybird Deeds or Transfer on Death Deeds), homes can be protected even after the death of a Medicaid recipient.  If you or a loved one are facing a situation in which you have to rely upon Medicaid to help pay for long-term care, consider all the options available to you in protecting your home and other assets from Medicaid…

Documentary on Alzheimer’s Calls for More Funding of Research

A documentary recently airing on PBS, “Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts,” calls for more funding for research into the cause and potential cures for Alzheimer’s.  The documentary focuses on the costs associated with care for Alzheimer’s patients, particularly the costs placed on Medicare and Medicaid.  Anyone who has personally experienced the costs associated with the care of a loved one suffering from the disease is well aware that these figures can be staggering, and can be devastating to even those who believe they have planned for long term care. 

The documentary can seen here:  http://www.pbs.org/tpt/alzheimers-every-minute-counts/home/