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1995 - 2001










Elder Rights

United States

Background Documents | Care-Giving and Nursing Homes
 Economic Focus | Old Age Employment | Neglect/Abuse 
Political Rights and Legal Actions  
| Aging Lives | Demographics 
Promising Initiatives 
| Trade Unions 

Background Documents

Older American Act (1965)
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law on July 14, 1965. This Act aims at providing help for older persons by claiming indisputable elder rights such as adequate incomes in retirement and the best possible physical and mental health. The Act established the Administration of Aging, a federal advocacy agency to represent and protect older US citizens. This agency is empowered to oversee services and providing opportunities for older people across the Nation. The Act also authorizes grants to States for community planning and services programs aimed at older persons. Title XVIII covering Medicare and Title XIX covering Medicaid were also signed into law in 1965.

Amendment to Older American Act (2000)
The Amendment to Older American Act in 2000 added grants to Area Agencies on Aging. It also established an important new program, the National Family Caregiver Support Program. This Support Program aimed at addressing the nation’s needs of caregivers. It was intended to help hundreds of thousands of family members who care for their older loved ones. Also, the 2000 Amendment maintains the original ten objectives of the Older American Act about the protection of the older US citizens’ rights and dignity.

Reauthorization to Older American Act Choice for Independence (2006)
The 2006 Reauthorization of the Older American Act includes a project called “Choices for Independence” which promotes consumer-directed and community-based long term care options.

Violence Against Women Act of 1994
President Bill Clinton signed into law The Violence against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA).  It is enacted as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It enhances the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women. Also the Act changes federal criminal laws by including a civil rights remedy for victims of “gender motivated violence,” a provision declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court

Violence Against Women Act of 2000
On October 28, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Violence against Women Act of 2000 as division B of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. The VAWA 2000 continues the essential work begun in 1994 and creates new grant programs, in order to create transitional housing for victims of domestic abuse or enhance protection for elderly and disabled victims of domestic abuse among others.

CRS Report: Violence against Women Act: History, Federal Funding and Reauthorizing Legislation (October 2001)
Read this report to have complete knowledge about the Violence against Women Act.

Care-Giving and Nursing Homes

Reports | Articles 



Elder Abuse: Study Finds Agencies Recruit Dangerous Caregivers (July 13, 2012)
Research published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society reveals that a large number of nursing and care-taking agencies recruit and hire people from websites such as Craigslist.  They often fail to run criminal background checks or administer drug tests to their employees. In fact, of the 180 agencies surveyed, only fifty-five percent run federal criminal background checks and one third test workers for drugs. Having so many unqualified, untrained caregivers puts many vulnerable seniors at risk. By making unannounced visits, checking in on caregivers and asking for referrals, loved ones may feel more protected.     

Who’s Watching Mom (July 19, 2012)
Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine looked at the agencies that supply caregivers, companions, homemakers, personal care attendant and non-nursing home health aides to people who need help living independently at home. The disturbing news:  It is an unregulated business with little consumer protection. How should competency be measured? Please read more on this interesting –but disturbing - discussion.

New Numbers on Elder Care (July 5, 2012)
Only recently has the Bureau of Labor Statistics inquired into elder care. During the past three months, 39.8 million people over the age of 15 years have provided unpaid care to someone over 65 years due to the natural conditions of aging. Women make up the majority of these caregivers. What is surprising is that male caregivers are catching up. These surveys can encourage more discussion and knowledge about how elder care responsibilities impact our work and lives.

US: Consumer Bureau Launches Inquiry into Financial Abuse of Elderly (June 14, 2012)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating the financial exploitation of older adults, marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  The inquiry is soliciting public commentary on unfair, deceptive and abusive practices toward older persons.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will also seek out public opinion on the evaluation of financial advisors who may aid elders and of possible resources that may help older adults with financial planning.

When Alzheimer's Meets Race, Black Caregivers Face Toughest Challenges (May 30, 2012)
Family caregivers often experience high levels of stress that can impact their careers and well-being. According to a recent Alzheimer's Association report, African American caregivers spend a weekly average of 30 hours providing care and are more likely to experience a higher level of burden.  The National Institutes of Health are urging the healthcare system and providers to be more aware of cultural differences and needs in order to better serve the healthcare community on all levels.  Will this happen? 

NYUCN's Dr. Laura Wagner: Study Finds Accreditation Improves Safety Culture at Nursing Homes (April 25, 2012)
According to a study published in the May 2012 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, accredited nursing homes show a stronger resident safety culture than non accredited facilities. The positive influences shows itself in staffing, teamwork, training, responses to mistakes and open communication. The study  results confirm that the process of sustaining the level of standards for accreditation can create a safety-oriented environment.

Northeast Florida Nonprofit Examining Needs of Older People in LGBT Community (April 23, 2012)
Elder Source, a nonprofit resource center for the older people in Northeast Florida, has started to look at aging issues faced by the LGBT community. Common issues are legal in nature—legal protection for themselves and their partners—and being able to fit in socially with those living in retirement communities and nursing homes. The Elder Source initiative hopes to learn the needs of the aging LGBT community, train caregivers and organizations, and increase awareness.

“Gen Silent” Documentary  (April 2012)
Filmmaker Stu Maddux tells the stories of six LGBT seniors and their lives in care facilities. They often have to hide their sexual orientations to survive in the care system. Many of these victorious civil rights activists now have little social support. “Gen Silent” shows the disparities in the quality of care in institutions committed to serving LGBT seniors and those that discriminate against them. For more information and screening schedule, check out the documentary's official website.

The Caregiver’s Bookshelf: A Law Guide for Seniors (April 2, 2012)
Learning about the law as an older adult or on behalf of one can be daunting. There are many regulations, requirements and exceptions which can be confusing. Everyday Law for Seniors, written by law professors Lawrence Frolik and Linda Whitton, helps readers navigate the elder law area. Seniors can also receive individualized advice by way of an elder attorney.

Nursing Homes Won’t Have to Hire Independent Pharmacists (April 3, 2012)
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services backtracked on a plan that would have required nursing homes to hire independent pharmacists to evaluate residents’ prescriptions. The issue is that the relationships between the nursing homes and pharmacists can create conflicts of in interest if the pharmacists are pressured to fill prescriptions residents don’t actually need or if these medications are substituted with higher-priced drugs.

Caring for Elderly Parents Catches Many Unprepared (March 25, 2012)
According to a 2009 survey, more than 42 million Americans cared for older family members needing help with daily activities. Many children are unprepared when they are forced into caring for their older parents, especially since Medicare does not pay for long-term care and many lack advance care directives. Without an advance care directive, family members have to petition the court to be appointed guardians. Caregivers also have to watch out for their own health. Bottom line: plan ahead.

Few US Cities Prepared for Aging Baby Boomers (March 25, 2012)
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, a D.C.-based group, reports that in five years little has changed in how prepared cities are to deal with aging populations. Less than half of the cities surveyed are prepared or preparing to deal with the needs of older people. Economic woes are preventing cities from doing more. The most unmet need is that of transportation.

Eldercare Stress: What’s Different for Males--Especially Black Men (March 4, 2012)
The number of men caring for an older adult has doubled in the past 15 years, from 19 percent of caregivers in 1996 to 40 percent by 2009. Why? Smaller family sizes, which makes the role fall more often to men; the economy, which makes men less able to outsource the role; the increasing diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, which affects women more than men, making many men spousal caregivers. Men are often less socially prepared for caregiving and underuse resources that can ease the caregiver burden. Additionally, men may neglect themselves emotionally and physically. Together, these are sources of stress, especially for African-American men who may lack support and resources.

A Shift from Nursing Homes to Managed Care at Home (February 23, 2012)
In a newer model of long-term care, a team of doctors, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and other specialists provide managed care for individual patients at home and at adult day-care centers. Studies suggest that it can be less expensive than traditional nursing homes while providing better medical results. The number of these programs is growing and has expanded to 29 states.

Fair Pay for 2.5 Million Home Care Aides Facing Industry Opposition (February 16, 2012)
President Obama and the U.S. Department of Labor have joined efforts to change the federal labor law that currently excludes home care workers from minimum-wage and overtime protections. The home care workforce is largely composed of females and immigrants.  However, the home health industry opposes the possible change and cites financial burden as their reason. The industry believes that this change will decrease availability of care to the elderly and that provider payment levels should be increased from Medicaid or other third-party organizations. But the Department of Labor projects the cost of compliance with the new rule would be an insignificant fraction of the industry’s $84 billion revenue.

Tracking Down Government Aid (February 16, 2012)
The National Council on Aging and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging are trying to raise awareness among older people to take advantage of programs they could qualify for but don’t necessarily apply for.

NAHB: Growing Market for Aging-in-Place Remodeling (February 9, 2012)
At the annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conference, certified aging-in-place specialists and AARP representatives discussed the evolution of the aging-in-place market. Some 90% of people aged 50 and above want to remain in their homes for as long as possible, driving demand for aging-in-place remodeling.

Fair Pay for Home Health Aides (February 8, 2012)
Home care workers are one indispensable component of elders aging in place. For close to 40 years, however, home health aides and other domestic workers have been left out of the Federal Fair Labor Standard Act that dictates minimum wages and overtime pay for most other American workers. The campaign to win federal protection for these workers has both gained and lost momentum. But will higher wages mean lower accessibility for those that cannot afford home care?

Talking to Aging Parents About Changes (February 6, 2012)
Parents do not react well when their children suggest changes that they perceive as limiting their independence and autonomy. Author David Solie tells adult children  to avoid role reversal situations; they are not parenting their parents but rather partnering with them.

Nursing Home Investigation Finds Errors by Druggists (January 27, 2012)
According to state investigations, pharmacists responsible for revising the medication of patients in California nursing homes regularly allowed inappropriate and potentially fatal prescriptions of antipsychotic medications. They also failed to correct other possibly dangerous drug indiscretions. The investigations suggest a probable correlation between the inadequate review of nursing home patients’ medications by pharmacists and possibly inadequate pay for the pharmacists’ services. 

Millions Now Manage Aging Parents’ Care from Afar (January 27, 2012)
The National Institute on Aging estimates around 7 million US people are long-distance caregivers. They experience greater stress and incur more costs. In 2007, the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare reported that long-distance caretakers spent an average of $8,728 annually. The numbers of caregivers are likely to increase sharply as the population ages and lifespans lengthen.