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May 03, 2022Read Story May 2022 Meeting Notes

Council on Elder Abuse Meeting Notes: May 3, 2022


Announcements:

Small Business COVID Funding Grants Available:
- Erie – Storefront Revitalization Program – funding up to $40,000 on eligible activities. (due Jun 16): https://www2.erie.gov/exec/index.php?q=press/erie-county-storefront-revitalization-program-ready-help-spruce-local-small-businesses

- Niagara – Niagara County Façade Program – funding up to $50,000 in form of a match on eligible activities (due May 6): https://www.niagaracountybusiness.com/facade-program

Workshop – Be the Change You Want to See in Senior Care – OPEN TO ANYONE | Network In Aging on Tuesday, May 17th from 12:30pm-4:30pm. Cost: $25.00 (includes lunch).

Walk and Run Details - Pinnacle Community Services (pinnaclecs.org) on Saturday, May 21 from 10:00am-2:00pm at Hyde Park in Niagara Falls, NY. Registration fee of $25 includes race participation, event t-shirt, and goodie bag!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. There has been a 25% increase in anxiety and depression since the start of the pandemic.
- “Proof”- play at the Keenan Center in Lockport
- DeltaSonic Round Up
- May 12th Flash Mob at Lafayette Square

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th. Look for announcements about events and outreaches. Press conference at 11:00am with focus on positive messaging and “Reach Out, Speak Out” theme.

 Feedmore WNY is looking for a social worker position to be filled.

Alzheimer’s Association:
-  Lunch and Learn at the Downtown Library: https://buffalolib.libcal.com/event/9027316
- May 26th- Caregiver Conference

Lifespan Grant- Money Management Program

Presentation: Ralph Wilson Foundation Family Guardian Support Project- Brad Loliger, staff attorney at Center for Elder Law and Justice
 Education and guidance for family members serving as guardian.
 Program is funded for 3 years
 Do not file petitions for guardianship.
 Do assist guardians who have been appointed with assistance and guide through annual accountings, processes guardians must follow, and legal system.
 Community presentations available.
 Contact: (716) 853-3087 x 220, or bloliger@elderjusticeny.org
 More info on CELJ website: https://elderjusticeny.org/resources/family-guardian-support-project/.

Presentation: Stefanie Matta- Behavioral Health Clinician with West Seneca Police Department
 Has worked with law enforcement since 2008.
 Program is through Endeavor Health includes: Town of Tonawanda PD, Buffalo PD, NFTA (covers Erie and Niagara), Cheektowaga PD, and West Seneca PD.
 Was developed as a result of the police advisory committee under Cuomo legislation and by citizen request.
 Provides ongoing mental health trainings to officers. Has had remarkable progress with handling of mental health calls.
 Use Alzheimer’s Association hotline frequently on overnights. Especially with wandering behaviors.
 Encounter cognitive disorders, hallucinations, and aggression most commonly.
 Hoarding cases are usually referred by building inspector. In one case, she rounded up some officers to do a clean out for an elderly woman who had frequent falls due to clutter and could not afford to hire a cleaning service.
 For deaths in home- may provide grief therapy on scene, afterwards, especially in the event of a traumatic death.
 Monitor frequent medical alarms and falls. After about a month of tracking, will look into services, environment, and additional support that may help decrease those events.
 Fraud offenses- not typically involved unless a detective brings in behavioral health.
 Rides with an officer for an entire shift. Typically involved with mental health calls or victim support. Determine if individual needs a higher level of care in the moment that police/behavioral health clinician interact with him or her. Perform a mini mental.
 Typically do not send elderly patients to CPEP, unless absolutely necessary. Will involve medical and try to send to Mercy Hospital instead.
 Will look at home, activities of daily living, orientation, medications check, may reach out to family or primary doctor to follow up.
 Use Geriatric Depression Scale, will screen for UTI, blood sugar, to try to rule out medical issues that may be causing psychotic symptoms.
 Contact ECMC Help Center to obtain quicker and better help.
 Will make referral to case management either through insurance, senior center, senior services, etc. Goes with older adult to senior center to make introductions and to make the new experience more comfortable.
 Relationship with local churches and spiritual counseling. Attends Committee of West Seneca Churches Meetings.
 Veterans- typically would reach out to the VA.
 Short term involvement- maybe a week with each person, or longer with no supports present to achieve stability.
Questions:
- Issues with adult children moving in with older adults /family dynamics? Will work to build trust with older adult. Provide resources and monitor for caregiver burnout.
- Impact on cases in court if person is arrested? Work closely with judges and will make them aware of mental health in the event of repeat arrests. Want actions to play out and will speak to the arrestee’s presentation at the time of the crime/incident.
- How receptive were officers? Mostly open because they realize it is needed. Also understand social worker can do what officers cannot.
- NFTA? Deal with a large amount of the homeless population and link with resources for housing. Follow up is tough for that clinician’s role.
- Has the DA noticed any changes due to these interventions? Not directly but likely because the clinicians are doing a good job and cases are not rising to the level of prosecution.
- Contact: mattas@westsenecapolice.org or (716) 558-3111

Next Meeting: Tuesday, June 7th at 9:00am via zoom.
 


April 05, 2022Read Story April 5 2022 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: April 5, 2022


Announcements: 
- International Institute fundraiser on May 1, 2022 at Soho. “Stand for Peace”. 11am to 3pm. Proceeds will go to resettlement and integration programs serving refugees in Buffalo. Tickets are $30 online pre-sale or $40 at the door. Kids under 13 free. (https://iibuffalo.org/5283-2/)
- ECCAFV Meeting on April 8, 2022 at 9:00am via Zoom.
- April is Child Abuse Awareness Month
- World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2022. Events including the Caring Card Challenge, press conference, light up landmarks. First planning meeting is April 27, 2022.
- Niagara County received a mini grant for outreach and awareness for WEAAD. There will be a presentation on 6/2 at the Dale Association.
- CELJ has job openings:
o Dept. of Justice grant Project Coordinator for Elder Abuse training in Niagara County. Partners include DA, NCSO, and Pinnacle.
o Social worker for the Pooled Trust.
- Alzheimer’s Association: May 26 Conference at Niagara Community College. Topics include Dementia 101 and information for Caregivers.

Presentation: UB Anatomical Gift Program- Ryan Cameron
- Opportunity for medical and dental students to learn on cadavers.
- If embalmed, able to use for multiple semesters. Other medical schools also request donors from UB.
-  Beginning of 2022 program obtained new leadership and experienced the same capacity issues as hospitals largely because of postponement of classes due to covid, virtual learning, etc.
- Over 20,000 registered donors. Average about 800 donors per year.
- Takes about 2 months to 2 years for families to receive cremains.
- Donors must be within a 100 mile radius and be pre-registered to donate.
-  Limitations on donations:
o Program must be notified within 48 hours of death, either by family or facility.
o Must be over 18 years of age.
o Must be a NYS resident within 100 miles of UB because program is unable to file death certificate out of state.
o Must be in program and registered at least 1 month prior to death.
o Not obese at time of death (usually this means not over 32 BMI but no concrete number at this time). If obese, there are issues with embalming due to damaged vascular system.
o Have no infectious diseases.
o Unable to accept if decedent had autopsy or if organs were harvested. (Exception is if a Connect Life eye donation was done, able to accept).
-  Eligibility criteria and forms to register can be found here: https://medicine.buffalo.edu/agp/donor.html
-  Letters were sent out to registered donors with updated criteria.
-  Prevents program from just being a free cremation service.  Erie and Niagara both have burial assistance programs to access.
Questions:
- Is there still a Memory Garden?
No, cremains are returned to family or interred at Skinnerville Cemetery with annual memorial service.
- Do families know what cadavers are used for?
Typically for basic anatomy study. But no details are given. DR signs cause of death, UB obtains vital statistics, and death certificate is filed in jurisdiction of where they passed.
- Do you take donors from Medical Examiners?
Yes- mostly murders/suicides. But not if an autopsy was done.
- Are funeral homes aware of criteria changes?
Yes- reached out to Funeral Director Association to notify.
- Is family obligated to honor the decedent’s wishes?
No- can change their mind. POA can sign application to obtain donor card.
- No cost to family. $10 cost for certified order of death certificate.
- Need to have back up plan, in case donation is not possible.
- Donation of Brain/Specific Organ for a Specific Reason?
Possibly to Harvard Brain Study or research disorder for ongoing studies.
Updates:
o Project Hope looking for staffing. There is a waitlist and still working remotely. Primarily seeking care coordination.
o Pinnacle Fun Run/Walk for Mental Health at Hyde Park from 10:00am-2:00pm. Supports care program. $25 to participate, there will be vendors.


Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 3, at 9:00am via Zoom.
 


February 01, 2022Read Story February 2022 Meeting Notes

*There was no meeting in January 2022.

Meeting Notes: February 1, 2022


Announcements: 

  • 2022 USC Judith D. Tamkin International Symposium on Elder Abuse: February 24 and 25 in Pasadena, California. Register at: https://eldermistreatment.usc.edu/2022-tamkin-symposium/#program.
  •  
  • Community Services for Every1 Seminar on February 24 from 10:00am-12:00pm on Crisis & De-Escalation for Special Populations- Their Brains, Our Behavior, and Providers Best Practices. Call (716) 883-8002 ext 476 or email tpavone@csevery1.com to register.
  •  
  •  Eviction Moratorium expired 1/16. HUB court was created so any town/village evictions in Erie County will be heard at Buffalo City of Court through virtual proceedings.

Scam Update: Kristen Orr, Tech Paralegal at Center for Elder Law and Justice
• CELJ is heading a COVID Scam Task Force which includes presentations and training for organizations and the public to educate on scams. (https://elderjusticeny.org/covid-19-scams-taskforce/)

• Webinar on Romance Scams: February 16 at 1:00pm. Register Here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0r7XS9YXT2iekmK63yNmSw.

• Monthly scams bulletin

• Spectrum phone scam- call from individuals alleging to be Spectrum to offer a senior discount. Requesting social security number and $19 fee to obtain discount.

• CELJ able to make reports of scams to FTC Portal.

Presentation: Bruce Eliot, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office- Weapons Discussion

Handguns (pistols, revolvers, glochs- any firearm that is held in a hand or is stored in a holster):

-In NYS, owning a handgun requires a pistol permit. Pistol permit process includes an extensive background check, interviews with references, and a home visit with applicant.

- Pistol permits are now a small card on which registered handguns will be listed on the back. There is no numerical limit to amount of handguns that can be owned but they must be listed on the permit to be considered lawfully registered. Registered owner must notify local police department if new handgun is purchased as well.

-Permit is renewed every 5 years.


Long guns: (rifles or shot guns)
-No permit required in NYS, owners would need to pass background check in national database for felonies or active OOPs at gun dealership. If not cleared through database, and purchaser has an active OOP or felony conviction, gun dealer must notify law enforcement that a firearm purchase attempt was made. Law enforcement will then check status of OOP/convictions and notify victim.

SAFE Act: passed in 2012, direct result of Sandy Hook
-Handguns permitted to have a maximum of 10 round magazine.
- Intent of the act was to minimize high capacity magazines and therefore minimize loss of life.
- Rifles and shotguns- act forbids fully automatics (also called machine guns).
-Long guns also cannot be used with a tripod, enhanced stocks, or any enhancements that allow for faster loading and/or faster shooting.
-Nurses, psych providers, doctors, etc. made mandated reporters for mental health and access to weapons.

What Can You Do?
- Suggests providing safety planning for gun ownership.
-Call law enforcement to check/inquire about a firearm in a client’s home. Police will ask if you are currently at the house, where the firearm is located, etc. Without a mental health concern or welfare concern (minimal threat) there will be little police can do besides confirm if firearm is registered or not.
- If individual does not have an OOP from family or criminal court that individual is still considered legally able to own firearms until such time an OOP is in place or a medical professional has raised concern.

Red Flag Law Provision-
- Medical professionals or agencies able to petition local county court judge for hearing to determine capacity to own firearm legally.
- Court can issue guns to be turned over to police until issue is resolved.
- Parents who do not live with child, doctors, school principal, or school counselor can petition.

Who Oversees this?
-NYSP processes pistol permits, handgun ownership, and anything to do with the SAFE Act.

Are Gun Sellers Licensed?
- Yes. Required to have a federal firearm license to sell and transport firearms in NYS.
- Course to obtain license can be completed online or in person.
Can a Person in NYS purchase a firearm online?
-Yes. The dealer must have purchased the firearm in person and have a federal license even if in another state.

Disposing of Firearms:
1) Call police- will destroy or dispose of them.
2) Transfer to immediate family member with a valid pistol permit (spouse, son, or daughter).
Ex. Brother in law cannot take ownership (not immediate family). Would have to go through licensed dealer to purchase off owner’s immediate family member for $10 fee.

What About Disposal of Ammunition?
- Police will not take ammo due to evidence storage space issue.
- Call local gun store. May take ammo or give it to a neighbor/family member.
- No regulations on possessing ammunition.

Discussion on Safety:
-Ask if there are guns in the home prior to doing home visit.
-Niagara OFA, Crisis Services, and APS ask this on intake.
-Request for home visits safety training
- Any gun has to be locked/in gun safe.

What About Lost/Stolen Guns?
- Owner has to report to local police. Statutorily within 24 hours but that is no upheld and the owner may not realize it is missing within 24 hours.
- Few legal remedies to go after people who have not turned in guns. Police do have a list of these individuals.

How Easy Is It to get a gun across state lines?
- Usually find out after a crime has been committed.
- Ohio and Kentucky have the laxest gun laws.
- No border inspection to travel state to state.
- “ghost guns” – buying parts with no serial numbers or registration off the internet. Then assemble the weapon. Ghost guns are untraceable.

Cost of Guns?
- Pistols- hundreds/thousands of dollars for a legal gun. Limited supply of ammo in stock.

Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 1, at 9:00am via Zoom.

 


December 07, 2021Read Story December 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: December 7, 2021


Announcements: 
- Better Business Bureau 12 Scams of Christmas (https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/23497-the-naughty-list-bbbs-12-scams-of-christmas)


- Lifespan Webinar “Elder Abuse 101: With a Focus on Financial Exploitation” (https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5873575042327910670)


-Evans Bank “Protecting Yourself from Fraud”- view recording at https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/8252455309245497104


-Website resource: https://scamspotter.org/

Presentation: Amherst Police Department Officer McGarvey

- Created a flyer, visiting senior living facilities to educate on scams.
- Lunch and Learn events
- Also going to Target, Wegmans, Tops, etc. to educate staff on gift card scams. Seniors are often embarrassed or don’t believe stores. Asked to sign a waiver to purchase if scam is suspected.
-  Police Department is seeing a lot of lottery scams where victims are asked to pay taxes on their winnings to claim them.
-  Detectives are following up on scams, when possible.
-  Snowplowing scams are starting up- victims asked to pay a high deposit and service is not being performed.
- Where do reports go? –detectives handle that. Not sure if they send or have victim send information on scam to other entities. Also doing out of state or out of country reports. Do refer to a federal agency.
- Contact information (716) 689-1387 or jmcgarvey@apdny.org- contact for flyers to distribute.


Presentation: Empire Justice Center Remla Parthasarathy
-  Empire Justice Center has 3 primary functions:
1) Practice Law- provide representation
2) Teach the Law- education
3) Improve the Law- Advocacy
-  Crime Victims Legal Network- program that meets needs of crime victims. (https://crimevictimshelpny.org/)
-  Main components include: Know Your Rights, Legal Help Directory (able to send email to OVS funded attorney/paralegal to receive response), Victim Compensation (including eligibility guide and claim navigator), and Legal Forms.
- Website and forms are in plain language at an 8th-10th grade reading level to improves accessibility.
- Webinars available- no CLEs for viewing recordings.
- Are there any particular geographical areas at that use this more? –that data is collected, unsure. Some counties lack resources that are needed.
- Difficulty of joint account exploitation cases.

Updates:
• New contacts to add
• Send speaker and topic ideas for 2022 to Kathy Kanaley at kkanaley@elderjusticeny.org


*Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 4, at 9:00am via Zoom. 


November 03, 2021Read Story November 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: November 3, 2021


Announcements: 
-Network in Aging Lunch – Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team Award
- Next Month Speaker: Amherst Police Department presenting on what they are seeing and suggestions for the group.
- Rental Assistance Updates- COVID related reason acceptable plus landlord funds are being paid out for rent in arrears after March 2020 in properties with less than 20 units.
-Crisis Services- NYS Cares a training for first responders on mental health and behavioral issues. Several sessions being offered: November 10 at 6pm or November 15 at 11:00am. Presented by Dr. Drew Anderson.
- Video by NYS OFA Youtube- Combating Loneliness and Social Isolation
-Mercy Hospital strike- labor demands include wanting 1 nurse to 4 patient ratio which is a near impossible staffing goal.

Updates:
• Homecare (Judy K)- judge ruled religious exemptions not permissible for healthcare workers. Homecare agencies are very short staffed, staff are refusing to service clients who are not vaccinated.
• ECMC- discharging home and homecare services are also a struggle with staffing at hospitals being low. Question: What happens to patients brought to hospital because they cannot receive 24 hour care?
• People Inc- have a homecare waiting list, offer consumer directed options. Also have a chore program in which hiring/keeping aides is a struggle.
• APS- increase in cases due to lack of caregivers? Yes- lots are leaving AMA from facilities due to lack of care. Access order with environmental concerns/condemned homes are sent to hospital.
• JFS- in home health services? –working with Kim Leonard to set up services.
- Grant for counseling for caregivers
- Support group/ another group after holidays. Possibly shifting to in person group. Virtual attendance is hit and miss.
• Ventureforth- challenge to get aides into home. Recruitment increasing but not where it needs to be.
• ECSO- senior safety presentation- lots of telephone scams. Looking to do joint programs with other agencies. Seeing more mental health and isolation than ever. Recently most common are emergency contact information scams/texts.
• FBI- scams- grandparent scam involving scammers physically coming to victim’s house to pick up requested funds. FBI looking for outreach opportunities or to partner with other agencies on outreach.
• Senior Financial Safety Tool- used to screen for risk of financial exploitation. Clients or community partners can fill out the tool and submit it.
• Out in Community? People Inc/Senior Services- no home visits. Remote work a couple days per week.

 

 

Next Meeting: Tuesday, December 7, 2021  at 9:00am via Zoom. 


October 05, 2021Read Story October 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: October 5, 2021


Announcements: 
- Caregivers (Judy K) is looking to hire a nursing supervisor.

-Senior Living Housing- call (716) 817-9090 to apply.

-CELJ Housing Unit is doing ERAP applications to prevent evictions/payment to landlords.

-October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month- Spotlight event and Haven House web series are virtual. https://www.eccafv.org/domestic-violence-awareness-month/

- FBI Grandparent Scams Press Interview: https://www.wivb.com/news/call4action/fbi-takes-on-organized-crimes-newest-vice-grandparent-scams/

-JFS- Older Adult Virtual Support Group resumes October 20th. Led by Janice Burns from the Prevention Council. Topics TBA

-Sarah Bonk- looking for NFTA Mental Health Advocate

- AATI trainings from October 4-6 Conference will be posted for post event viewing. https://silbermanlearningprojects.com/the-2021-new-york-state-adult-abuse-training-institute-aati-schedule/

- Roxanne Sorenson Daughter’s Benefit: 
Location:   Main Transit Fire Dept. 6777 Main St. Williamsville NY
Date: OCTOBER 16, 2021
Time: 1pm – 6pm


Updates:
• Senior Services- no home visits. Senior companions are visiting to provide services. Have had trouble getting aides.
• VIA- open, doing visits and office appointments.
• CELJ- Outreach and Mobile Legal Units available and scheduling events.
• Domestic Violence Hotline changes.


Discussion:
- Caregivers have a Senior Services client receiving about 8 hours of non medical homecare. Client was hospitalized and needs changed. Caregivers asking who would communicate with the discharge planner about the change in care and coordinate services?
- Senior services not able to be part of discharge plan and do not provide 24 hour care.
- Caregivers can contact case manager with services/care plan inquiries.
- Hospice Outreach- importance of getting affirs in order.
- Share any outreach opportunities with the larger group.
- New Pooled Trust? -Oasis

Next Meeting: WEDNESDAY, November 3 at 9:00am via Zoom. 

 


September 07, 2021Read Story September 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: September 7, 2021


Announcements: 
- UB Institute on Addictions- Training on 9/14 from 2:00pm-4:00pm at Main Transit Fire Hall.
- ‘No Safe Place’ Webinar by the Bar Association on 9/22 from 12:00pm-2:00pm on Zoom. This is a free presentation and the format is speakers and panel discussions. Register Here: https://eriebar.org/events/cle-no-safe-place-recognizing-and-responding-to-intimate-partner-violence-and-technology-facilitated-abuse/
- EMDT Scam Update: increase in Norton Security scams- access is granted through pop ups/remote access.
- Online purchases: BBB warns of look-alike websites
- Secret shopper scam case, victim paid $3500- check bounced.
- NYS Unemployment Benefit will not be extended due to deficit.
- FTC portal- able to report through CELJ
- International Institute/Jericho Rd. have an Afghan refugee wish list.


Updates:
• Beth Nelson- durable medical equipment scams now faxing script for signature. Some doctors have been catching that the script is not related to patient’s diagnosis, and therefore doesn’t sign. *Find out who signed for the equipment to be delivered*
- DR asking patients to pay up front and bill Medicare.
- Vaccine surveys, vaccine cards still a prominent scam area.

Presentation:  Alex Fehrman, Esq. Staff Attorney at Center for Elder Law and Justice
- Homeless Coalition Survey indicates homelessness is mostly the result of loss of jobs, covid concerns, lack of available housing, and limited access to or lack of understanding of benefits.
- Last Year: Tenant could submit a hardship declaration for either a financial hardship due to COVID or a medical reason not to move. Landlord could still evict for behaviors/hazard to other tenants.  This ended August 21, 2021. Supreme Court struck this down because there was no opportunity for landlord rebuttal.
Extension to January 15, 2022:
- Landlord can challenge hardship declaration and tenant must demonstrate lost income with documentation. Eviction is on hold until January if granted. If certified, must apply for rental assistance program (ERAP).
- State shifted to concern about nonpayment from landlord termination with tenancy.
- Allows for virtual court appearance/hearings if needed.
- Eviction for family member/cohabitant should be filed as a nuisance and demonstrate moratorium doesn’t apply. An OOP stating person is not permitted to remain on the property is good evidence to support this.


Rental Assistance: call 211 or otda.ny.gov/programs/emergency-rental-assistance
- Check payable to landlord
- Landlord must participate in process.
- No known max amount. Pay out has been about $3,000- $6,000.
Roseanne B.- properties for families, apts for homeless  (716) 817-9190

Questions:

Q: Is there education for assistance recipients to reduce recidivism?
Answer: Belmont Housing Counselors able to provide.

Q: What is going on with foreclosures?
Answer: Unknown- WNY Housing Alliance may have some information.

Q: If tenant left apartment, landlord received no income- what could be done about that?
Answer: small claims court for back rent


Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 5 at 9:00am via Zoom.
 


June 01, 2021Read Story June 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: June 1, 2021


Announcements:
 Miguel Santos- HEAP is extended through August 31st.
 Eviction moratorium to continue through August 31st (with COVID hardship).
 Power of Attorney changes in effect June 13th.
 Outreach/ in service trainings being offered by CELJ.
 Meals on Wheels/Feedmore WNY- no in person meetings yet.
 Alzheimer’s Association education series begins Tuesday, June 8th. Topic information and registration on Alzheimer’s Association website or Network in Aging website.
 Longest Day is June 20th.
 Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence meeting on June 11th from 9:00am-10:30am.

Presentation: Rachel Baldassaro, Esq.  MedLaw Program (716) 853-3087 ext 250

- MedLaw is a unique collaboration that unites medical provider with a legal services agency. Adds an attorney tothe patient’s care team. 

 

 

-Current medical partners include: ECMC, Kaleida (Buffalo General Hospital and Gates Vascular, soon to add Millard Fillmore Suburban), and WNY Breast Health.

- ECMC MedLaw program is located on the 3rd floor of the Snyder Building.
-Research has demonstrated that patients tend to be healthier, have decreased hospital admittance, better medication management, better physical and mental health, more stable housing, access to more financial resources, and clinical services are more frequently reimbursed by public and private payers when linked with a legal service.

- MedLaw program provides free civil legal services.
-Two on-site Legal Assistance Centers- Direct referrals from ECMC, Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute and other healthcare providers/staff
-Ability to meet with patients easily


Eligibility:
o Patients being treated by ECMC or BGMC/GVI are eligible
o Any breast cancer patient or survivor is eligible

-Receive referrals directly from hospitals/medical providers.

-Participate in Community Education Events- free education on a variety of topics.


Available Legal Services: I-HELP
I= Income and Insurance
H= Housing and Utilities
E= Employment and Education (new diagnosis often affects employment)
L= Legal Status
P= Personal and Family Stability (elder abuse, Power of Attorney, simple wills, kinship, consumer)


MedLaw and Elder Abuse:
Case example: an elderly woman was admitted to the hospital d/t abuse and neglect. She was discharged to a facility for rehab. She feared going home. MedLaw/CELJ was able to assist with completion of a Medicaid application and provided advocacy with facility to ensure client continued to receive the care she needed and safety.
 Case example #2: an elderly woman in a facility whose granddaughter was using her funds, not paying any bills, and also refusing to participate in the Medicaid process. CELJ was able to revoke Power of Attorney, completed Medicaid process, and client was able to stay at the facility.
Questions:
- What is the biggest barrier of this work? – Identifying or reluctance to disclose what happened.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Updates:
-6,000 Meals on Wheels recipients
-Goal: provide 700 caring cards for smaller programs
-Mask and sanitizer with each card
-All recipients will receive a rack card with information on elder abuse and resources.
-Theme: “Reach Out, Speak Out”
-Focus on isolation and prevalence of scams.
-Press Conference: June 15th at 1:00pm, steps of 92 Franklin
-Purple landmarks


Scams:

- Apple and Amazon

- FBI/CIA scam- secondary scams

*Next meeting: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 9:00am via Zoom.
 


May 04, 2021Read Story May 2021 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes: May 4, 2021


Announcements:

CEA Website- minutes and events added
Network in Aging Programs
ECCAFV- next meeting is Friday, May 14 at 9:00am.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Elder Abuse Meeting- scam case where victim provided cash to scammer who picked up the cash at the victim’s house. What happens when a scam is reported to FBI/Social Security/ Law Enforcement? Recommendation is to hang up phone and call actual agency number listed online or in the phone book + ask for the agent that called.
WEAAD- June 15th. Press conference is being planned for outdoors in front of the court/DA’s office. Caring cards will be done in some form, likely collection of cards will start at the press conference. History of WEAAD: selection of exemplary service to elderly award. Contact Kathy Kanaley with nominations or to be on the selection committee.


Power of Attorney Updates: Sarah Duval, Center for Elder Law and Justice
- Scheduled to go into effect on June 17th, 2021.
- Separate statutory gifts rider is being eliminated. Instead cap of over $5,000 in gifts will be located in the modifications section.
- Document no longer has to be signed by the principal. Can be signed at the direction of the principal, with two witnesses not named as agents or permissible recipients of gifts.
- Remote notarization: principal can ask someone else to sign for them
- Changes to accept/reject POA: rejecting agency/entity must send reason for rejection in writing to both the principal and the agent within 10 days of the rejection.
Question: At direction of principal- what about limited capacity?
Answer: Principal still has to have capacity to execute POA.

Presentation: VA Caregiver Support Program- Julie Robinson


1) The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)
- Also referred to as the VA “stipend” program, offering enhanced clinical support as well as a monthly stipend payment to caregivers of eligible Veterans.
- Started in May 2011 for post-9/11 Veterans who required personal care services
- Expanded in October 2020 to include Viet Nam era and earlier Veterans.
- Will expand again in 2022 to Veterans who served after Viet Nam and before 9/11/01
- An enrolled veteran may be eligible for this program if:
He or she has a serious injury (including serious illness) incurred or aggravated in the line of duty of active military service on or before 5/7/75, or on or after 9/11/01. The Veteran has a service-connected disability rating of 70% or greater AND require in-person personal care services for a minimum of 6 continuous months based on:
-  An inability to perform an Activity of Daily Living (ADL), each time the Veteran completes one or more qualifying ADLs (Dressing/undressing; bathing/grooming; toileting; adjusting a prosthetic or orthopedic device mobility: transferring, walking, stairs, etc.; feeding oneself).
- A need for supervision, protection or instruction (The Veteran has a functional impairment that directly impacts their ability to maintain their own personal safety ON A DAILY BASIS)
- May also include: Financial stipend, access to CHAMPVA health insurance IF the caregiver is not covered by another insurance plan, mental health counseling, respite care, legal services, financial planning, mileage reimbursement.
Application process includes:
- The application process for the PCAFC includes:
- Veteran and caregiver must submit a signed 1010CG via Caregiver Support Website
- Intake interview and psychosocial assessment of the veteran, including collaboration with the Veteran’s primary care provider
- Functional Assessment of the Veteran
- If indicated, specialty evaluations
- Caregiver assessment

2) The Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS)
- Serves caregivers of enrolled Veterans of ALL eras.
-A General Caregiver is defined as a person who provides personal care services to a Veteran who: Needs assistance with one or more activities of daily living (ADL)  OR Needs supervision or protection based on symptoms or residuals of neurological issue or other impairment or injury


3) National VA Programs Available to Caregivers:
Building Better Caregivers
National Caregiver Support Line- 1-855-260-3274
REACH VA
VA National Caregiver Center in Memphis - Virtual courses on self-care for caregivers
CaregiversFIRST
Peer Mentoring
Telephone/virtual yoga & meditation
VA CSP Website: www.caregiver.va.gov
Local VA Western NY Caregiver Support Program: 716-862-6516
Hidden Heroes Respite: www.hiddenheroes.org/respite/


Presentation: Reno Di Domenico, Vice President for Law Enforcement Lollypop Farm,  Humane Society of Greater Rochester, SPCA

    Phone: (585) 223-1333 x234
    Email: didomenico@lollypop.org


- Reno Di Domenico is the Vice President for Humane Law Enforcement at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, where he conducts and directs four peace officers in the investigation of animal cruelty. He instructs police recruits and provides in-serve training on animal cruelty laws for local police departments and academies. He has trained over 1,000 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers in dog-police encounters to help reduce unnecessary family dog shootings by police. Di Domenico was a deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department for 22 years, where he was a certified police instructor and field trainer.
- His team consists of 4 peace officers who investigate and respond to animal abuse/cruelty and hoarding scenarios.
- Serve 4 counties
- There is no specific amount of animals, condition of animals/care or lack there of standard that leads to criminal charges for animal cruelty.
- Hoarding (definition) is the excessive collecting of items in and around a house that interferes with health and safety use of the house for family or social life.
- Animal hoarding is a type of hoarding that involves the keeping and care of large numbers of animals. Sometimes, the lack of care is so severe that it is considered animal cruelty.

Who is an Animal Hoarder:
o There are three characteristics indicative of hoarding behavior:
o Hoarders collect a large number of animals.
o Hoarders fail to provide for animals’ most basic physical and social needs, including food, water, veterinary care, sanitary living conditions and in some cases shelter.
o Hoarders offer excuses for, or deny, the terrible living conditions of their animals and or themselves.
- One 1999 study found that just over half of the hoarders operated in urban areas, with the remainder divided rather evenly between rural and suburban settings
- Companions animals—are involved in as many as 65 percent of hoarding cases
- Farmed Animals—including horses, goats, and pigs—are accumulated by a little more than 10 percent of hoarders.
- 65% of hoarders are female.
- Cats are the most commonly hoarded animal.


Presence of a variety of mental disorders:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Addictive behavior similar to substance abuse
Schizoaffective disorder
Attention deficit disorder
Anxiety
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalized social phobia, and major depressive
- Usually hoarding begins with a trigger, a relationship that is lost (usually death) which causes a regress into hoarding.
- Typically present in the home is a calendar that has not been touched, changed, or moved from the date since the person/relationship the hoarder lost has died or left them.

3 Types of Animal Hoarders:
Overwhelmed Caregivers- most receptive to agreement/downsizing
Rescuer hoarders
Exploiter hoarders- doesn’t care, will resist intervention, feels justified

- Takes multiple visits into the house, before action is taken.

Tip: Take pictures. Law enforcement is able to obtain a warrant based on the pictures any person has taken of the conditions in the home. Use “your animals are so beautiful” line to charm the person into allowing photos to be taken.

Questions:
Hoarding Committee has wondered how the animal hoarder reacts to deceased animals being removed from their home- remorse at loss, denial, not recognizing loss?
- Considers deceased animal as part of the collection. Still valuable to the hoarder.
Do you need a warrant to remove animals?
- Not always
What support is there for Lollypop Farm team?
- Mental health days, offer counseling sessions a couple times a month/year
Are you aware of any Grief counseling for hoarders?
- Monroe County has a Hoarding Group Session. Generally requires an individual to be court ordered, so there would have to be an arrest. Lollypop Farms/Humane Society does not make a lot of arrests, more do social work or try to assist the individual with cleaning up and receiving services.
What age group to you usually see?
- Usually over 50 years old.

 

Grandparent Scam Information: FBI Buffalo

FBI Buffalo Partners,
  We're alerting you about a new variation of a scam against our senior population that we're seeing right here in WNY.  Please take two minutes to watch this public service announcement (PSA), and please share it broadly.  As our Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Jeremy Bell says in the PSA, this scheme is scary and successful.
   FBI Buffalo Warns of Grandparent Scams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI1vfsLbLQo
  Aside from forwarding this message via email, you can also share the PSA with others on social media by clicking Share on the YouTube page.  We also encourage you to raise awareness about this scam to seniors who do not regularly use computers.
  For your convenience, here is a transcript of the PSA:

FBI BUFFALO PSA RE GRANDPARENT SCAM COMMUNITY AWARENESS SCRIPT; MAY 2021
Hi, I’m Jeremy Bell.
I'm an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Buffalo Field Office.
I want to alert you to a costly scam that is occurring throughout western New York right now.
This scheme is what we call an elder fraud, and it targets our senior population. 
It's scary and successful...with the loss of money locally in the tens of thousands.
Here is one variation of the scam we are seeing in western New York:
Someone calls an older person at their home claiming to be that person's grandchild -- often knowing the true name of the grandchild.  The grandchild is claiming they've been in a serious car accident.
They are frantic and panicked during the call....and they plea for the grandparent to get cash for them, so they can post bond.
The grandchild then gives the phone to another person, who is described as an attorney.
The supposed attorney directs the grandparent to go to their local bank and withdraw approximately 15,000 dollars in cash, to put the cash in an envelope...and then to wait for a courier to arrive at their house.
A short time later, a car or van arrives at the grandparent's home, and they turn over the money. 
Sometimes, the scammers use ride share companies to retrieve the cash from the victims' homes.
If you get a call like the one I just described, please hang up the phone and immediately report it the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or your local police department.
Lots of good folks are losing their hard-earned money due to this fraud.  We want to stop that from happening.
And if YOU are a ride share driver and are asked to pick up mail or an envelope from a home...immediately report it to law enforcement. 
We are asking the public to please alert your family members to this fraud, especially if they are older.
Let me be clear, these scammers are convincing, and their actions are criminal. The experience is traumatic for the victims. 
Currently, we are working with police departments and sheriffs' offices throughout western New York to find and arrest the people responsible for these crimes.
We are asking the public to report these scam calls, even if you do not give the scammers money. 
Thank you.
 

*Next meeting: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 9:00am via Zoom.
 


April 06, 2021Read Story April 2021 Meeting: Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April 2021 Meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 Meeting at 9:00am via Zoom.


April 06, 2021Read Story April 2021 Meeting Notes: Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Meeting Notes: April 6, 2021


Announcements:

Agency Updates- who is open, who is doing visits, etc.
• VA + MOW- all virtual visits
• JFS: Health Home and Refugee are rotating. Geriatric is not doing visits- all telehealth/phone.
• DA- open and in office.
• Senior Services: Home visits are by phone; work from home/office blended work schedule. County opening set for June 1.
• APS- open and doing visits. Limited staffing in office. Exception: facilities that are not allowing visits.
• Catholic Charities- virtual/in person blend based on program.
• Ombudsmen- virtual, rotating in office. Starting to go back into facilities, based on COVID status.

  • NY Times ‘Hit the Wall’ Article
  •  Buffalo News ‘Loneliness and the impact on physical/mental health’ article

WEAAD (World Elder Abuse Awareness Day): express interest in participating in the committee or ideas to Kathy Kanaley kkanaley@elderjusticeny.org or (716) 853-3087 ext 219.


ECCAFV (Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence): Next meeting April 9, at 9:00am via Zoom. April is

Child Abuse Awareness Month- blue pinwheels signify the events.

Crisis Services- April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Alzheimer’s Association: alz.org/ny to register for Spring Education Series. Free, 90 minute sessions on various topics.


Presentation: David Shapiro, Staff Attorney at Center for Elder Law and Justice in the Kinship Unit


 Our Kinship Care unit provides free legal representation to relative caregivers of all ages in Erie and Niagara counties. Our clients are often seeking temporary or permanent custody of relative children (nieces, nephews, siblings, grandchildren) because the parents are unable to continue parenting. By placing children with a relative, they can avoid foster care.
 Picture you’re in your 80s, sitting on the porch drinking lemonade when all of a sudden you get a call that your grandkids need you to come live with you, and suddenly you are parenting again.
 Grandparents, relatives must be able to show extraordinary circumstances such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment to obtain custody of child from a parent.
 Article 6 or Article 10 (CPS cases); 10-17 guardian
 Supervising visitation has a high potential for elder abuse. May end up needing an OOP or other interventions against parent.
 Parents with substance abuse issues: court will be looking for a consistent dedication to recovery.
 Goal is always return to parent.
 If child is in placement for more than 15 months, the department must file a termination of parental rights.
 TANF/non parent caregiver grant- can receive $397 for 1 child; $530 for 2 children. Benefit is based on the children’s income (if any) and is to cover cost of care, activities, etc.
 Discussed Foster Parent Training
 Foster parent who is over 65 years of age can name a successor guardian.
 If adopt, 65 and over can set up a will, trust, or create a guardianship in will in case anything happens to the non-parent caregiver.
 Kinship Unit has income limits for those under 55 years old.
 Visitation: Only relative with a right to visitation is grandparents. Must demonstrate existing relationship with child and that visitation is in child’s best interest.

Questions:
How are you doing court? – all virtual. Cases are backed up. Lack of in person leads to losing the element of reading body language, and it is harder to object.
65+ in subsidized housing, does a kinship matter affect housing status? -Buffalo Municipal Housing has been cooperative. Will typically add client to waitlist for a larger apartment to accommodate children in client’s care.
What is the most rewarding aspect of the work you do? -being able to help/give advice.
What is the most challenging aspect of the work you do? -dealing with difficult people that you can’t talk to or won’t listen.
Any support groups for grandparents? -unsure, not aware of any

JFS Support Groups resuming May 5th. Call general number 883-1914 to register or email groups@jfsbuffalo.org.

 

 

Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 4, 2021


March 03, 2021Read Story March 2, 2021 Meeting Notes

Announcements:

  •  Alzheimer’s Association First Responder Training, “Approaching Alzheimer’s” on March 4th at 9:00am and March 23rd at 6:00pm.
  • For Nursing Home Placement Resources- contact Liam McMahon at the Center for Elder Law and Justice by phone at (716) 853-3087 ext 257. Or email: lmcmahon@elderjusticeny.org.
  • Partnership with the Niagara County OFA/CEA for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Presentation: Robin Eichen, Senior Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

• The FTC is a national consumer protection agency of the federal government that protect consumers and small businesses from fraud and identity theft.


Overview of latest FTC Consumer Sentinel Network data:

  • 2.2 Million Fraud Reports in 2020.
  • Consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019.
  • In NYS- top two report categories were Identity Theft and Imposter Scams.
  • Top Identity Theft types were: Credit Card Fraud, other identity theft, government documents or other benefits, loan or lease fraud, and bank fraud.
  • Go to ftc.gov/explore data to find out what kinds of scams and identity theft people are reporting most in your community.

For consumers who have been scammed:

  • Contact the payment provider
  • Tell them the transaction was fraudulent
  • Ask for the money back
  • Report the fraud to law enforcement: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/

Robocalls/Unwanted Calls:

  • Hang up.  It’s okay to be rude!
  • Sign Up for the Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov
  • Don’t trust caller ID — it can be faked
  • Report robocalls to the FTC at donotcall.gov
  • Ask your carrier about call blocking

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-block-unwanted-calls

COVID Vaccine and Healthcare Scams:

  • https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus
  • FTC law enforcement has sent warning letters to makers of teas, essential oils, colloidal silver and many other products making claims the product will prevent coronavirus. No evidence to back up claims. Also to VoIP providers who helped illegal telemarketers/robocallers push products related to the Coronavirus and MLM business “opportunities” with Coronavirus cure claims
  • Healthcare.gov- only legitimate website to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
  • “Whole Leaf” lawsuit- made claims product kills COVID and cancer.

                            

 

Fake Social Security Administration Calls- claim a person’s SSN has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or it’s been involved in a crime.

Medicare Fraud- www.medicare.gov/fraud

Theft of Unemployment Insurance Benefits- Imposters are filing unemployment insurance claims in the names of people who haven’t filed claims. Report to: employer and your state unemployment benefits office.

Fake Calls from Amazon or Apple- will claim there is something wrong with your account. It could be a suspicious purchase, a lost package, or an order they can’t fulfill. Don’t press any number, don’t call back the phone number given, and don’t provide any personal information.

Email/text scams and malicious websites: don’t click links from sources you don’t know.

Tech Support Scams: often begin with a pop up

  • Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.
  • Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-spot-avoid-and-report-tech-support-scams

Romance/Online Dating Scams: Never wire money, purchase a gift card, etc.

  • If you are made to feel rushed, it is a scam.
  • Contact your bank asap if you think you sent money to a scammer.
  • Report to FTC.

Family Emergency Scams

Scammers Offering to Pay your Rent: if they offer assistance but tell you to give them money up front or hand over your personal information first, it is a scam.

Scammers Impersonating the FTC:

  • Calls itself the US Trading Commission and uses the FTC’s seal and address.
  • Claims it operates a “personal data protection fund”.
  • “instantly receive” a cash payment by clicking a link and entering personal information.

How to Avoid a Scam:

  • If someone says you must pay by wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram, by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back, or with cryptocurrency, it’s a scam.
  • Know how to recognize common scams.
  • Report to: https://reportFraud.ftc.gov   

Financial Impact of Coronavirus

                      

 

Identity Theft

  •  Review mail, especially financial statements
  • Check credit report every year:
  • Free report from AnnualCreditReport.com
  • Protect Social Security and Medicare numbers
  • Store documents securely and shred before discarding
  • File taxes early

Don’t Post Your Vaccine Card on Social Media- Can Lead to Identity Thef


Use and Share FTC Materials:

  • Consumer.FTC.gov: hundreds of fraud articles
  • Consumer.gov: consumer protection basics, plain and simple
  • FTC.gov/coronavirus:  our most up-to-date information on the pandemic
  • FTC.gov/PassItOn: helping older adults protect others from fraud
  • YouTube.com/FTCVideos: view and share
  • Bulkorder.ftc.gov: order free FTC materials

Get the FTC’s Consumer Alerts: https://www.ftc.gov/stay-connected


Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 9:00am via Zoom


If you Suspect Abuse, TAKE ACTION!

More than 1,500 cases of elder abuse are reported each year in Erie County. Many more cases are never reported.

If you suspect abuse and would like legal assistance, please contact:

Center for Elder Law & Justice:

716-853-3087

For immediate assistance 24 hours a day, please contact:

Crisis Services Hotline at:

716-834-3131

If you suspect someone is being abused, please contact:

Erie County Protective Services for Adults: 

716-858-6877

For general information on programs or referrals, please contact:

Erie County Department of Senior Services / NY Connects: 

716-858-8526

            In an emergency, call 911

For Elder Shelter screening tool, please visit the Elder Shelter Page located under the "Elder Shelter" tab at the top of your screen