AOASCC News & Notes
May 16-June 20

Artist registration is now open for our annual Art of Aging exhibition held in celebration of Older Americans Month! All artists over 60 years of age are welcome to submit their paintings or photography to be displayed at this exhibition. There is no entry fee and prizes will be awarded. Find out more.

Save the Date!
The Opening Reception will be held Thursday, May 16th from 1:00-7:00 p.m.
Workshop for Family Caregivers

Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems. They often feel they have no control over events, and that feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health.

AOASCC is here to help. We are again providing free of charge the national Powerful Tools for Caregivers workshop series starting on April 30th. Click here for more information.
Caregiver Corner

Two thirds of LBGT older adults consider their friends to be their family of choice and rely on them for their emotional and social support. The benefits of receiving support from someone who understands you and your life situation are a plus, but non-traditional families also create circumstances whereby the person needing care is disadvantaged by systems with institutional bias toward traditional family models. There are several instances where aging members of the LBGT community experience bias and discrimination. 

In healthcare members of the LBGT community report experiencing difficulty when visiting their partners at hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Although the Affordable Care Act addressed this problem several years ago, many institutions continue to limit visits to “members of the immediate family”, denying accessibility to the chosen family.

Healthcare decision making that is typically discussed with heterosexual marriage partners is excluded for domestic partners, unless they have gotten legal documents designating them as authorized healthcare representatives.

Legal protections of Family Medical Leave that is granted to family care givers, provides protection from job loss due to caregiving needs, does not include homosexual couples. Many states and federal programs, however, have elected to extend this protection to LBGT couples.

Many older adults and their caregivers report fear of discrimination and/or mistreatment by healthcare providers if their status is known. As a consequence, many older adults and their families choose not to reveal their sexuality. The result is that many homosexual older adults are forced back into “the closet” at the end of their life. Social isolation is a potential problem for all older adults transferring into nursing homes. It is even a greater risk for individuals who are afraid to reveal their true selves. 

There are things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved one before these problems arise. GLA D ( www.glad.org has extensive information about rights, options and resources that can help you make sound plans for caregiving. In CT, unlike 41 other states, discrimination based on sexual orientation in healthcare is not legal. Advanced planning and information about rights can help you avoid becoming a victim.
Spotlight on Volunteering

The grandparent scam has broadened to include caregivers. An AOASCC staff member recently received a phone call from a 92-year-old veteran. He had received a call listed as a “private number” and was told that while his caregiver was on vacation in Florida, the caregiver had been in a car accident and needed $8000 for the hospital. The client said he didn’t have $8000 and the voice on the other end said, “You won’t help your friend!” He later called his caregiver and he was fine.

Medicare continues to be a subject of scams as a recently received report illustrates. This individual had received a call from someone who said they were from Medicare. He was told that the new Medicare Kits were available to be mailed out and the kits were free. If he followed the directions in the kit and returned it to Medicare, the results would show if there was any potential or living cancer cells in his body. All that was needed to send out the New Medicare Kit was to confirm his new Medicare number. The caller also gave the phone number if the recipient had any concerns or questions: 352-353-2675. The kit was to arrive in 7 days. The recipient waited the 7 days and no kit, so he called the number the following day and it was a dead line. He then went to the resident service coordinator upset realizing it was a scam. This was reported to the local police department, OIC, Federal Trade Commission and Medicare.

Remember Medicare, Social Security and IRS do not do cold calling! Never give out your personal information to someone you don’t know is who they represent.
You can make a difference educating peers about potential scams - find out how!
Did You Know?

  • In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission received 1.4 million fraud reports and 25% of these reports included loss of money,totalling nearly $1.48 billion.
  • When money is lost, the median amount increases with age. Those 80 or older reporting a median loss of $1,700, compared with $751 for those in their 70s and $600 for those in their 60s.
  • For the first time, imposter scams topped the list of consumer complaints submitted. Consumers reported losing a total of nearly $488 million to these scams, more than any other type of fraud, and reported a median loss of $500.
  • Nearly half of the imposter scams reported were government imposter scams - callers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, or another government agency to get people to turn over money or personal information. 
CHOICES - Quality of Care

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary or caring for someone who’s on Medicare, you may ask, “Who do I call to report a quality of care concern?” Generally, Medicare beneficiaries can use two procedures—one at the federal level and the other at the state level—to report quality of care concerns.

Under federal law, any health care practitioner or provider who receives Medicare or Medicaid funds must ensure that their services are “of a quality that meets professionally recognized standards of care.” As a Medicare beneficiary, you or your representative can call the Beneficiary & Family Care Center-Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) for your state to complain when services given by physicians, physician assistants, interns, nurses, physical therapists, durable medical equipment providers, and others don’t measure up to your expectations.

The CT State licensing board is not tied directly to Medicare and, unlike the BFCC-QIOs, can sanction providers by restricting or revoking their licenses to practice. They have the authority to discipline licensees for unprofessional conduct.

Failure to meet accepted standards of care is one example of misconduct that’s subject to disciplinary action by a board. Other examples of unprofessional conduct include: alcohol and substance abuse; sexual misconduct; neglect of a patient; prescribing drugs in excess or without a legitimate reason.

CHOICES can help assess quality of care concerns and decide how to proceed. Sometimes it’s not clear if a concern should go to the BFCC-QIO, a licensing board, or to someone who can handle customer service and billing concerns. CHOICES can help you sort it out .

Call CHOICES at 1-800-994-9422 to speak with a counselor in your area.
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