The Silver Standard News
"Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊                                ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊
I am not old, she said
I am rare
I am the standing ovation
at the end of the play
I am the retrospective
of my life
as art
I am the hours
connected like dots
into good sense
I am the fullness
of existing
you think I am waiting to die
but I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure
I am a map
these wrinkles are imprints
of my journey
ask me
anything.
Samantha Reynolds
 

Welcome to the Silver Standard News

As a central element of the outreach work of the Elder Abuse Reform Now (EARN) Project, it is our goal to bring you the latest news on developments in the fight to end financial elder abuse, as well as a wide range of other information to assist senior citizens and their loved ones. From detailing the progress of legislation aimed at ending the practice of financial elder abuse in each of the 50 states to telling the stories of those who have suffered from the effects of this practice, the Silver Standard News is dedicated to making sure that no senior citizen in this country is denied the right to control the assets and property that are rightfully theirs.

To achieve this goal, we will be working on several different fronts; whether it be unraveling legal terminology for our readers or giving them a way to connect with each other, we will work to improve the lives of America's senior citizens by giving them a voice that reflects their concerns and ensures that they are part of a larger community that has their interests at heart.

We will shine a cold light into the darkness of financial elder abuse and the involuntary guardianship that is the favorite tool of the financial abuser. Scrutinize every state, every city, and every court to make sure the citizens of each state understand precisely where their state, and each legislator, stands on financial elder abuse, and how well existing laws protect their elders and punish the abusers.

We will remind every politician that senior citizens control the largest block of money and the largest block of votes. We will apply our motto, taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." For we will be watching and reporting on the actions of those powerful Americans who, while enjoying the salaries and perks of office provided by the American tax payers, have failed the greatest generation and are now failing their baby boomer children.

In addition, we will give our readers. a look at the human faces behind every aspect of this struggle--not just victims but politicians, legislators, home care administrators, professional guardians, businesses. We will tell the personal stories of the people who have lost their money, homes and dignity due to unscrupulous individuals who are often allowed to act under the cloak of legality. But we will also tell the stories of those who have fought back, who have refused to take the existing state of affairs lying down, and who are winning their battles. We will tell you about those officeholders who are, and have been, their champions. Our aim is to empower our readers, to make them aware that they do not have to simply accept the way things are. Though they may be past the age of lying down on courthouse steps or participating in noisy demonstrations, we will encourage them to put their voice, their votes and their money to good use on the elder abuse front. Collectively, especially when joined by those who love them and younger people who don't want this evil to invade their "Golden Years"—they can create a mighty roar.

Though our principle focus is to inform and make elder abuse a sin of the past, we also hope we will amuse and entertain. Tell us what you want, what your concerns are, how you feel we can do a better job to make the Silver Standard News a vital source for all seniors and their adult children. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Contributors

Kevin Badu will be keeping us current on all legal changes throughout the country as well as at the Federal level. He will also help us understand how well our local politicians are doing in keeping the senior citizens of their state safe from financial elder abuse and involuntary guardianship. Kevin earned his Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and is currently working on an MBA in Finance at the University of Connecticut UConn School of Business. He has worked for law firms and legal organizations in Michigan and New York and has taught as a College professor in China. Presently, Kevin is preparing for the New York State Bar Admission examinations.
Joan Hunt is a former journalist, columnist and community news editor, who retired three years ago from the Hartford Courant. She lives in Wethersfield, CT, where she freelances and enjoys a large and active family.
Elizabeth Sinclair will be peeking into all corners of the earth to help our readers who would like to spend their leisure time in an invigorating and comfortable style. Liz is a writer, traveler, social media manager and digital nomad who makes her home on 2 continents and an island chain. She writes about travel, health and social issues. Her ultimate dream is to have a tiny house in the country.
Marcia Southwick joined the Board of Directors of The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA) in 2015. She will be sending a letter from NAGSA each month to keep us informed about Guardian Abuse and up to date with changes in the laws. Marcia is a retired creative writing professor, and creator and administrator of Boomers Against Elder Abuse, a Facebook page with 160,000 followers. She lives in Santa Fe, NM.
Mary West is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a broad spectrum of publications. A lifelong avid reader, she takes keen delight in the written word.
Bill Wine was film critic for WTXF-TV in Philadelphia for 12 years and, since 2001, has served as the film critic for CBS’s KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia. He has taught undergraduate film courses at La Salle University as a tenured Associate Professor of Communication. Bill is the winner of three Emmy awards.

 

Considering a Change of Address Rather Than a Nursing Home

By Mary West

Most people are familiar with the reality that neglect and understaffing in nursing homes can result in a range of adverse health consequences to residents, such as malnutrition, dehydration and injuries. While it is known that intentional abuse also occurs, many are often unaware of its breathtaking depth and scope. Tragically, the lack of knowledge of the physical, emotional and sexual mistreatment that sometimes happens in these facilities can put a loved one in danger.

The news accounts below show the horrific indignities and cruelties the elderly and infirmed are subjected to in nursing homes. Case 2 through Case 6 are merely a few of the 65 incidents reported by ProPublica that have come to the attention of authorities since 2012. While the stories vary, the thread they have in common is a shocking lack of respect for human life. The 65 cases only represent incidents where the perpetrators got caught—it is sobering to imagine how many more abuses must go undetected.

Case 1

Minnesota’s Star Tribune reports on Jean Krause, a 78 year-old  resident of an assisted living facility called Heritage House who was sexually assaulted by her caregiver, 59 year-old David DeLong. On the evening of May 8, 2016, Krause was found in a fetal position in bed, unclothed below her waist. DeLong stood a few feet away, breathing heavily with his underwear and jeans at his knees. When a female staff member noticed DeLong, he began pulling up his clothes. Later, the bloodstained clothing and mattress pad of Krause was discovered in the facility’s washing machine. DNA evidence proved DeLong’s guilt. No one told the family about the sexual assault at the time.

Case 2

In 2013, a nursing assistant at Newaygo Medical Care Facility in Freemont, Michigan was accused of taking an inappropriate  photograph of an Alzheimer’s disease resident. This picture, which involved the resident sitting on the toilet with their private parts exposed, included a drawing of a penis having the caption “limp dick.” After the image was shared on Snapchat, the assistant was fired.

Case 3

A similar incident occurred in 2014 at the Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Centralia, Washington. In this case, a nursing assistant recorded a video of a resident sitting on the toilet and shared it with another assistant working on the other side of the building. The resident’s face was visible, her pants were below her knees, and she was singing and laughing while cleaning herself. Upon learning of the abuse, the administrators notified the police and terminated the employee.

Case 4

Yet more horrors were reported in the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform in 2014. A photo was taken of a resident wearing only an underwear brief being carried over the shoulder of a male nursing assistant. Other pictures featured residents inappropriately exposed and/or deceased. One of the nursing aides said that such pictures and videos were frequently sent among the nursing staff.

Case 5

Another astoundingly heartless case, involved a Snapchat video from the Bentley Senior Living Center in Jefferson, Georgia, which appeared in 2018 in the Athens Banner-Herald. The video, recorded in a hospice room, showed employees smoking a vape pen and yelling curses at an elderly woman who lay dying of a stroke. It was posted online and labeled, “The End.”

Case 6

In 2015, the Chicago Tribune provided an account of a recorded  incident at Rosewood Care Center in St. Charles, Illinois. In it, a nursing home assistant was assistant slapping the face of a 97 year-old dementia resident with a nylon strap. The video, posted on Snapchat, showed the resident crying, “Don’t! Don’t!” as employees laughed. The two employees were fired.

The fear these stories cause us, that a loved one could suffer similar abuses, is all to understandable. The idea of a precious parent being the victim of such atrocious treatment is unbearable.

What can be done about the abuse? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has oversight over nursing homes, has requested state health departments ensure all facilities have policies that prohibit staff from taking demeaning pictures of residents. However, because the nature of nursing assistants’ work involves being alone with residents, enforcing such policies 100 percent of the time seems impossible. State laws, requiring Nursing Homes to report abuse vary greatly and compliance with the laws that do exist Compliance very unreliable. Fortunately, a safer housing alternative is available.

The Co-housing Housing Alternative

In view of the drawbacks and dangers associated with living in nursing homes, more and more people are considering an alternative – co-housing with friends. This option is quite attractive, as it offers benefits that include improved quality of life, cost efficiency and greater safety. A co-housing community is similar to a college dorm of best friends. It’s a unique environment that consists of bedrooms and a shared space that includes a living room, library, fitness area, garden and more.

While the idea originated in Denmark in the 1960s. Though it began to be discussed in the U.S. in 1980s the idea is only just now gaining popularity. In many cases, it can prevent the need of getting a stranger as a roommate or of living among strangers in a nursing home. Although nursing personnel may visit, the seniors have control over their environment.

Living with friends prevents the social isolation so often seen in long-term care facilities. Because the arrangement involves engaging in activities together, such as cooking, watching television and gardening, the emotional and psychosocial advantages are enormous. In addition to the companionship, co-housing also provides an ever-present network for the exchang of information.

Moreover, the inherent support system increases the likelihood that seniors will stay active. Having friends with whom to take regular walks, go on outings or play scrabble helps promote engagement in life and happiness.

Financial benefits of co-housing are substantial. Nursing homes are very expensive, and even a retirement home with plenty of nice amenities may not fall within the budget of many seniors. In contrast, when friends share a home, they each contribute to the cost of  rent, utilities and food, thus making it an affordable option.

One of the biggest perks of co-housing revolves around safety. If seniors became ill or suffer an injury while home alone, it might take hours or even days before a family member discovers their plight and gets help. Conversely, within the co-housing community, the members would know to check on someone who doesn’t appear for breakfast or who has a medical condition.

If healthcare is necessary, the friends in a co-housing unit can pitch in and share the cost. Some seniors may require around-the-clock nursing, whereas others may need only a short daily or weekly nursing visit. When hiring nursing personnel, the co-housing members can participate in the interview process and be in control of who is chosen to take care of them. Being their employer prevents the abuses found in long-term care facilities and gives peace of mind to seniors, as well as their families.

In summary, a comparison of spending one’s golden years in a nursing home to spending them in a co-housing unit shows a profound difference in quality of life. Instead of deteriorating physically, mentally and socially in a facility, co-housing seniors can enjoy a full life that is warm with camaraderie, rich with laughter and vibrant with shared pleasures. When the economic and safety benefits are factored in, it’s apparent that the arrangement is extraordinarily desirable for many.

 

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Guardianship... Yet Another Hall of Fame Member

By Marcia Southwick

MEET JUDITH WIDENER,

 

  • Judith has the dubious honor of having been inducted into The Boomers Against Elder Abuse Guardianship Hall of Shame in 2013.
  • Judith had 660 or more cases during her 17 years as a conservator in Nebraska.
  • At the time of her arrest, Judith was in charge of 216 wards spread out over 36 counties all over the state.

 

So how did she manage to visit all of her wards in far-off corners of the state?  Who on earth would allow one guardian to handle 216 wards at a time?  We are talking about 216 people who have had their fundamental rights and lifesavings taken away and have been put under the complete charge and control of Judith Widener.

 

To put this in perspective, imagine someone taking care of 216 dogs. Would not that person land in jail for abuse, negligence, or hoarding?  Yet, Judith Widener was given control of 216 human beings with literally no oversight.  Apparently, in Nebraska, it is perfectly acceptable to neglect and abuse elders, and others, rendered powerless by the court—human beings who can’t fight back and then use the bank accounts of those human beings for your self-benefit.

 

Wards of the state are people who have lost all rights and all power of choice to make any decision concerning their own life—even when it comes to choosing the people who can visit them.

 A ward is person denied the right to drive a car—denied the right to carry their own personal ID or to even leave a facility without the guardian’s permission.   

 

No one is more vulnerable than a ward of the court.

A ward no longer has equal rights in the eyes of the law. 

A ward is even prohibited from signing a contract to hire an attorney to protect themselves.

 

The charges against Widener involved thefts, uncovered by State Auditor Mike Foley as part of an audit of the state Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled program.  His staff audited a sample of the accounts connected with Widener’s business, Safe Haven. At that time, Widener controlled 40 bank accounts that held more than $600,000.   Mind you, these are only samples of a few cases-- not the final figures.

 

Widener also allegedly accepted funds on behalf of wards who were no longer living, double-billed for services, and used funds belonging to wards to make personal payments on credit cards and for phone and television services to her home. She had also written checks from guardianship accounts for birthday and Christmas gifts to herself.  

 

Judith Widener was sentenced to only 180 days in jail and instructed to pay restitution.    

 

In addition, the judge ordered Widener to write a letter of apology to every single ward she had stolen from, or to the family members if wards who were no longer living, as well as to every judge who had appointed her as a legal guardian. 

 

That is a LOT of letters.   I picture her bent over a little table in her jail cell, penning word after word—it has now been 5 years. 

 

Judith, where are you now? Were all of those letters actually written and sent?  Where is the evidence?

 

See https://www.starherald.com

 

 

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I was Just Thinking by Joan Hunt

I’m old school, so when a patch of questionable-looking skin showed up on my face a year or so ago, I started zapping it with some of my favorite home remedies. My go-to solution for skin eruptions is tea tree oil. That helped for a while, but then it returned, so I decided it was either eczema or psoriasis. Over-the-counter lotions and creams for those afflictions were mildly successful at first but bombed out over the long haul.

Medical strength Manuka honey was the next step. Continual applications of that seemed to have done the trick. And then in a couple of months, like Jack Nicholson, it was ba-ack. It became clear I was going to need a doctor, after all. And that is where things got complicated.

First, I have Medicare and all the supplemental stuff guaranteed to protect me in my golden years, BUT I never used it – thus I had no primary care physician, which in the medical world made me a persona non grata.  The dermatologist I chose gave me an appointment, but then couldn’t see me because I didn’t have a referral. So, I picked a physician, who of course couldn’t become my primary until I saw him. I made an appointment with him, had a quick physical, got the referral, and went back to the dermatologist – but I had to wait the customary two months again for an appointment.

The dermatologist did a biopsy and discovered basal cell carcinoma, which is usually slow-growing and not life threatening. (Let’s remember, however, that it is in the middle of my face!) He sends me to a surgeon for a consultation, which takes another two months, and this doctor has me scheduled for removal in – you guessed it – another two months. I realize I am lucky because this kind of skin cancer will probably not kill me, but it isn’t making me any more appealing either. It looks like a roach sitting between my upper lip and my nose, and I have taken to wearing an enormous pair of sunglasses to keep people from looking at it.

While I am waiting for a doctor I have met once to carve this new appendage off my face, there is another problem. My insurance company has denied payment of the bill from my new primary care physician because – are you ready for this – he was not listed as my primary care physician at the time of the appointment. And my very logical question is: If you must be seen by the physician for him/her to become your PCP, shouldn’t there be some provision for this in the world of medical insurance companies?

Apparently not. I am going to have to fill out an appeal and hope that it makes sense to the claims department, so they will be willing to overturn their ruling and pay the hundred-plus dollars I owe my new primary care physician. AND, I must also hope that his referral and the referral the dermatologist gave me are to people who are acceptable in my network, or I will not only have to worry about face being disfigured, but I may have to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for the privilege.

No matter how many times the people who are involved in this travesty call me “dear” or “sweetie,” I do not feel loved by the medical/insurance community. Like my grandmother Sahling, who once fell on the ice on the way to the grocery store, continued her shopping, went home and iced her arm for three days before my dad convinced her to go to the doctor for what was clearly a broken arm – I am not anxious to “trouble” a doctor for things I can take care of myself. But when it is necessary, it should be a lot easier to get help – and I would rather the conversation be about what’s wrong with me, instead of how good my insurance coverage is.

 

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How to Legally Abuse a Senior Citizen

Have Powerful Birdies Chirp in The Governor's Ear

From the Editor's Desk

In 1998, Elaine Renoire’s grandmother was caught up in the guardianship system. Some years later, Catherine Falk, daughter of actor Peter Falk, had to get a judge to rule she had the right to visit her elderly father. Both women were horrified by what they went through and determined to make sure other families did not suffer through the same experience.

 

Elaine founded The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse. Catherine founded The Catherine Falk Organization.  Once introduced, they joined together in an impressive effort to prevent the ongoing practice by Guardians/Conservators of abusing their wards and denying wards their constitutional right of association. Together, they have been working to develop laws to protect the public and sharing the herculean effort to get those laws passed in all 50 states.

 

The proposal Catherine and Elaine submitted to The Uniform Law Commission  was accepted and incorporated into their law … She told the EARN Project “I could have sat there drinking my slurpy and chewing on popcorn because those people, most of them were judges and lawyers, took the words right out of my head before I could even get my hand raised.  I was amazed…I know there are good people in every profession, but I didn’t expect what I got at the ULC meetings….. one man got the floor and gave a rousing speech…. every word he said, he said with passion and when he got finished with his rousing speech….I could tell, he spoke from the heart…. The new uniform law is not perfect, there are so many states with laws in the dark ages, and who haven’t updated their statutes in years and the uniform law, if we can get it passed, it will bring all states to an even level. I think that’s really important. 

Oregon, for instance, doesn’t even have to have a hearing to guardianize someone. 

The uniform bill will be a big change to Oregon.”

Guardianship law was created with the noble purpose of protecting incompetent people and their assets.  But, over the years, that good intentions began to twist and fade and now are all but forgotten.  Guardianship has become a weapon of abuse, very popular with Financial Elder Abusers. It is wielded by opportunists taking advantage of loopholes and passed legislation. The end result is people who have been declared incompetent are frequently, and easily, exploited by their court-appointed “protectors.” For myriad reasons, caused by a court system that tempts even good people to do bad things, many of the judgements of incompetence are false—perfectly healthy senior citizens are swept up into the system. Once guardianized, human beings become possessions. They are left to a life-long sentence of oppression, abuse, and no place to turn for help.

The majority of individuals functioning as guardians are family members with an emotional attachment to their ward and a focus on protecting their loved ones.  However, “the majority” isn’t all.  Family can be very greedy and cruel to each other.

 

Professional guardians have the protection of professional organizations as well as the court—this provides them with much more power than family guardians and little to no oversight. The temptation of easy access to monetary gain through guardianship, and the vast number the aging Baby Boomers, has introduced a very real and serious peril to growing old in America.   

The new uniform law, “Uniform Guardianship Conservatorship and Other Protective Arrangements Act” is an extraordinary effort to turn the tables and return the focus of guardianship back to protecting incompetent people instead of protecting a failing system. 

See:  www.UniformLaws.org

 

THE CRIMINAL LAW S2421:

S2421 categorized guardians in the definition of “caregiver” and defines caregivers as:  … “a person who has been entrusted with or has assumed responsibility for the care, custody or control of, an elder person or dependent adult whether for pecuniary gain, by contract, or as a result of the ties of friendship, or who stands in the position of trust with an elder person or dependent adult.  Caregiver includes, but is not limited to, caretakers, relatives, court-appointed guardians, adult household, conservators, attorney-in-fact, neighbors, health care providers, and employees and volunteers of elder care facilities.”   

This definition covers the gamut of caregiving and subjects those who abuse elder persons (or dependent adults) to criminal prosecution, with criminal penalties (which could include either fine or jail or both--- which is how it should be.


They define “Abuse” as:

(i) attempting to cause harm, intentionally or knowingly causing harm, or intentionally or knowingly placing another in fear of imminent harm.
(ii) causing physical injury by knowing or intentional acts or omissions;
(iii) unreasonable or inappropriate use of physical restraint, medication, or isolation that causes or is likely to cause harm to a vulnerable adult that is in conflict with a physician’s orders or used as an unauthorized substitute for treatment, unless that conduct furthers the health and safety of the adult; or


(iv) deprivation of life-sustaining treatment, except:
     (A) as provided in Title 75, Chapter 2a, Advance Health Care Directive Act; or
     (B)  when informed consent, as defined in this section, has been obtained


It also lowers the age of the definition of “elder” from 65 to 60 (which is the national standard).

 

THE CIVIL BILL:

Prohibits the withdrawal of the right to association from individuals under guardianship. This directly addresses the all too frequent problem of unscrupulous guardians who use isolation as an instrument of retaliation, control, convenience or sometimes just plain viciousness.  

With the passing of this law, guardians, who believe a ward needs to be prevented from visitation with specific persons, must petition the court for withdrawal of visitation.   Opponents to its passage say, the burdened of this extra work it will discourage people from becoming guardians. However, that statement is illogical—professional guardians get paid for their work and will not shy away from the added time this necessitates. Volunteers, on the other hand, are not forced into their duties—they have volunteered to be of help to those who need them.

 

IN RHODE ISLAND

The criminal bill, S2421, was sponsored by Senator Frank Lombardi, and  introduced on February 2nd of this year.

The legislative process to take this from Bill to a law, provided both sides with sufficient time to work out issues and come to the legislative hearings with a bill that, having benefited from conversation and compromise, has a good chance of being passed.

If one side fails to participate in this process, that results in the failure of the Bill, even though there were many elements of it that both sides would have agreed on. Frequently special interest groups use this ploy by getting friendly Senators to refrain from attendance in order to get a Bill defeated. That was not the case with S2421 in Rhode Island.

Catherine Falk went to Rhode Island to give testimony before the Senate Hearing and the individuals that one might have expected to attend the hearing and request revisions did not do so.

Individuals such as:

Maureen Maigret, Chair of the Aging in the Community Subcommittee of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council,

Meg Underwood, Rhode Island Senior Center Directors Association,

Kathy McKeon, Catholic Social Services,

Kathy Heren, Rhode Island Long Term Care Ombudsman,

Elder advocates and advocates for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities,

The Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs,

The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Hospitals never attended the hearing and never once, throughout the entire four-month period, called Senator Lombardi to voice any reservations or request any revisions.

S2421 sailed through both the Senate and House Judiciary passing on June 26th  and going to Governor Gina Marie Raimondo‘s desk for her signature.  

A great victory, and peace of mind, for Rhode Island’s rapidly aging population which is the 11th highest in the country—16.8% of Rhode Islanders are Senior Citizens

Six days later, Governor Gina Marie Raimondo vetoed the bill and, surprise surprise, who do you think the little birds whispering in her ear were…

Maureen Maigret, Chair of the Aging in the Community Subcommittee of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council,

Meg Underwood, Rhode Island Senior Center Directors Association,

Kathy McKeon, Catholic Social Services,

Kathy Heren, Rhode Island Long Term Care Ombudsman,

Elder advocates and advocates for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities,

The Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs,

The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Hospitals.

For all of those agencies to have chimed in, for governor Gina Marie Raimondo to have listened to their reservations, done her own research, and draft a letter to the Senate in six days is quite a feat of organization…

OR WAS IT SOMETHING ELSE?

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." …..President Ronald Reagan

 

Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo, is most emphatically from the government, and her definition of “I’m here to help” means locking up senior citizens, taking all their property, physically attacking them, prohibiting them from seeing those persons they choose to see—including a lawyer--and denying their enjoyment of the rights every American is guaranteed by the American Constitution and Bill of Rights.

 

Two requests have been submitted for copies of all correspondence stating the reasoning behind opposition to allow S2421 becoming Rhode Island law. Needless to say, we are hearing the sound of crickets coming from Rhode Island.

If you are one of those 16.8% of seniors and you are being mistreated by a guardian, I would suggest you call the governor and tell her you no longer have any money to pay your share of her salary—a guardians got it. Or, you might think of getting another governor—November is here.

 

 

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The Doors Are Now Open to the STANS

By Elizabeth Sinclair

Lying between the Caspian Sea, China and Russia are the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, often called the ‘Stans’, Persian for ‘land of.’ These Central Asian countries were originally settled by nomadic peoples and were once strategic locations on the ancient Silk Road trade routes connecting the Muslim world with Europe and the Far East.

While each of the ‘Stans’ has its own unique culture and history, they share an overall adherence to Islam: the entire region is famous for its Islamic architecture, tombs and mosques. 

Only a handful of tourists come to Central Asia, but tourism is growing rapidly. The ‘Stans’ offer the choice of high-country activities, such as trekking, hiking or driving along the Pamir Highway over mountain passes and native wildlife tours, as well as the chance to visit extensive historical sites or markets and bazaars selling traditional crafts.

Intrepid travellers can sleep in yurts – tents made of wood and wool – in the desert, and experience the nomadic way of life, while the cities offer old-style guesthouses, museums displaying exhibits of traditional culture and ethnic restaurants featuring native dishes.

 

DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN

Although Tajikistan is the region’s poorest state, it is blessed with some of the most spectacular high-altitude natural landscapes. Just an hour outside the capital city of Dushanbe, you can trek through high mountain passes, past coloured mineral lakes and stay at small family-run guest houses. Or drive along the Pamir Highway – the world’s second longest road – that starts outside Dushanbe and weaves through the high country along the Pyanj River and remote mountain pastures to the border with Kyrgyzstan. Highlights include the Hulbuk Fortress, that once guarded busy trade routes, the Shurbad Pass, Neolithic cave paintings and ancient Ismaili shrines.

Dushanbe was once a key city on the Silk Road and home to the medieval poet Rumi.

Visit Dushanbe’s Ethnography Museum, with exhibits of traditional clothing and enamel jewellery, Tajiki embroidery and handmade rugs. The city has museums dedicated to the regions’ antiquities, history and musical culture and history, as well as modern art galleries.

 

WHERE TO STAY:

While Dushanbe offers a range of mid-level hotels, try staying in a local guest house for a more authentic experience. MARIAN’S GUESTHOUSE is a charming older hotel, with rose gardens, fountains, antiques, traditional carpets, Moorish architecture and a spread of locally-made pastries for breakfast.

 

WHERE TO EAT:

Traditional Tajik cuisine is based around rice pilaf – which is eaten communally with hands, flatbread, salty cheese, meat and vegetable soups as well as savoury stuffed pies, made with meat, pumpkin or onion. Green tea is the national drink. Try TRAKTIR for regional fare.

 

NUKUS, UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan lies directly in the heart of Central Asia and has the most historical sites of all the ‘Stans”. Since ancient time, Uzbek has a been a sacred area, with ruins, burial mounds, crypts and petroglyphs dating back as far as the Bronze and Stone Ages. The country features multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Termez, an ancient Buddhist centre. Before Islam came to the region, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism in turn were the major religions, and left many ruins behind. Uzbekistan has numerous Islamic relics, mausoleums, minarets, mosques and other sites that attract modern religious tourists.

The Uzbekistan Mountains are popular destinations for outdoor sports such as mountaineering, hiking and rock climbing. Fishing, camel-back riding, bird watching, and wildlife tours are all popular activities.

Medical and spa tourism are also popular, with many people combining a tour of archaeological sites, hiking, soaking in mineral springs and new dental work.

The country is known for silk weavings, ceramics and handmade mulberry bark paper, which you can see in the museums and buy in the bazaars.

Nukus, the main city and gateway to the country, is full of old Soviet apartment buildings and museums, including the Nukus Art Museum, and a State Museum that displays archaeological artefacts, and traditional costumes, jewellery and musical instruments of the region. The Savitsky Museum contains an extensive collection of Russian and Uzbek art from 1918-1935 that survived the mass destruction of art in the Soviet Union, due to the city’s remoteness. A documentary film, The Desert of Forbidden Art, tells the story of the collection’s survival.

 

WHERE TO STAY:

JIBEK JOLI, a popular hotel with tourists, has an on-site restaurant that serves traditional Uzbek cuisine and is close to traditional markets and bazaars.

 

WHERE TO EAT:

NEO restaurant, located in the heart of the city, serves traditional local fare, featuring pilafs, made with meat, carrots, raisins and rice, simmered together, lamb kebabs, dumplings and noodles.

Uzbekistan also has an ancient culture of grape growing and winemaking and regularly won gold and silver medals at international exhibitions for such wines as ‘Red Tashkent’ and ‘Sultan.’

 

BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN

With visa-free entry, KYRGYZSTAN is often the first stop for tourists visiting the ‘Stans”. High country spots such as spectacular Son-Kol or Kol-Suu Lakes, or the sweeping vistas of the Alay Valley, are accessible in summer months via horseback treks and yurt-to-yurt trekking or riding trips.

The capital Bishkek is a city of wide sweeping boulevards, trees, green parks and vintage Soviet apartment blocks, where nomads live in the winter months, leaving in warm weather to take their flocks of sheep to high mountain pastures for the summer. You can explore the Museum of Fine Arts, the State History Museum and the State Museum of Applied Arts, containing fine examples of traditional handicrafts. Visit the Osh or Dordoi bazaars for traditional clothing and handicrafts.

You can take a city tour with a cooking class that explores the national dishes of the region, starting with a visit to a local bazaar to gather ingredients and ends in a tasting of the country’s best known foods.

 

WHERE TO STAY:

SOUTHSIDE B&B is a small family-run guest house located in a vintage wooden house with only five rooms and a spacious garden, with pine and walnut trees, grape vines, farm-fresh food and a sauna.

 

WHERE TO EAT:

SUPARA ETHNO-COMPLEX is a museum and restaurant complex in wood, stone and skin, designed to commemorate the nomadic life and culture of the Kyrgyz people and their history: yurts, fire places, horses, hunting. The centre contains the world’s largest yurt. Staff in traditional costumes serve up a wide range of authentic Kyrgyz meals.

 

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Gaga is the one word that sums up a suitable response to the latest version of "A Star Is Born"—a remarkably rich remake in which an actress is born, a director is born, and a very old, challengingly familiar movie plot is reborn.

"A Star Is Born" was born in 1937, when William Wellman directed Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Then, reborn in 1954, when George Cukor directed Judy Garland and James Mason. And yet again in 1958, with Frank Pierson directing Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

All were acknowledged, one way or another, at Oscar time and now it's here again in this 2018 version, debuting Bradley Cooper directing Lady Gaga and himself.

If the fourth outing isn't the most accomplished and endearing of the quartet, it sure is close; simultaneously intimate and majestic, which is already an accomplishment of note. But its core can probably be most aptly captured by answering three questions:


Can Lady Gaga act?

Can Bradley Cooper sing?

Can any contemporary juice be squeezed out of this narrative?

An emphatic yes on all three counts.


The romantic musical drama looks in on Cooper's iconic Jackson Maine, a hard-drinking country singer and movie star wearing a metaphoric backpack stuffed with family-connected demons, and Ally (Gaga) , the aspiring and delivering singer and actress unsure of herself and her talents whom he meets, mentors, and marries.
You know the drill: she enters as he exits, she rehearses while he drinks, she resounds as he resents, she soars while he falters.
We've been here before, to be sure, but, in a remarkably assured debut in the director's chair, Cooper, breathing new life into a Hollywood staple, makes it feel freshly observed, working from a thoughtful, no-need-to-reinvent-the-wheel script about fame and ambition that Cooper co-wrote with Eric Roth and Will Fetters.
Which is not to overlook Cooper's self-directed performance -- no easy task under any circumstances -- as a Maine attraction on the way down from the mountaintop, battling demons and self-destructiveness with decided downheartedness.
It's at the very least a reminder that three of Cooper's four Oscar nominations thus far have been for acting, although it's certainly not his only prodigious skill.
The intensity he maintains and the revealing closeups he highlights in mid-performance are just two of the weapons in the actor-director's arsenal that will make it easy for him to recruit cast members down the line.

As for first-time leading lady, Gaga, of the golden pipes, like the story’s character, hijacks the spotlight. Somehow, she manages to fit smoothly into the ensemble and remain anchored in reality while, at the same time. bringing that astounding, larger-than-life voice of hers into the spotlight. It is as though this role, rather than an old standby, had been custom made just for her.

So, yes, both individually and together, the co-leads ace their chemistry exam.

The musical numbers, which the co-leads contributed to and recorded, pack a punch that lingers in memory, disarming viewers—even those inclined to dismiss this as the proverbial showbiz weepie.

But it's a lot more than that.

It's an absorbing and affecting musical melodrama and one rousing reboot. Yes, "A Star Is Born." Again. And ain't we the better for it.

 

 

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On the EARN website under “State Info,” There is a drop-down list where you can find all the legal information about Financial Elder Abuse and involuntary Guardianship for your state.

As we researched each state, a question arose—though the public chooses those who will represent their interests and safety and, through one manner of taxation or another, pay the salaries of those representatives as well as Attorney Generals, Judges, and District Attorneys, why is there so little concern shown for the senior citizens in so many states? It is particularly perplexing given the fact that those very senior citizens are, more often than not, paying the largest share of the taxes and casting the largest share of the votes.

Over the next year, we will compare all 50 states, each month we will carry forward the state that was the best in the previous month’s comparisons, to see...

 

WHO IS DOING THEIR JOB.

Financial Exploitation of Elders Comparison of State laws protecting Elders against Financial Exploitation 
Alabama  Indiana Iowa Kansas
Does the State define an elder? Yes. Person 60 years or older No. Endangered Adult. 18 yrs/older No. A vunerable Adult. 60yrs/older. No. Dependent Adult. 18 yrs/older
State laws protect elders against financial exploitation? Yes No. Endangered Adults. Yes. But you've to be vulnerable Yes. But you've to be a dependent adult.
Are there penalties for financial exploitation of elders?  Yes. Divided into Classes of Felony No. Endangered Adults.  Yes    Yes. Divided into classes of felony.
Is there a duty to report financial exploitation of elders No  No Yes Yes
Is there a penalty for failure to report? No  No Yes Yes
Does the State law define financial exploitation? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Does the State's Elder law define the following:
a) Deception Yes No No No
b) Undue Influence Yes No Yes No
c) Intimidation Yes No No No
How does the State define
a) Financial Exploitation Financial Exploitation means the use of deception, intimidation, undue influence, force, or threat of force to obtain or exert unauthorized control over an elderly person's property with the intent to deprive the elderly person of his or her property or the breach of a fiduciary duty to an elderly person by the person's guardian, conservator, or agent under a power of attorney which results in an unauthorized appropriation, sale, or transfer of the elderly person's property Financial Exploitation occurs when a person who recklessly, knowingly or intentionally uses the personal services or the property of an endangered or dependent adult, without authorization, for the person's own profit or advantage commits exploitation of a dependent or an endangered adult.  Financial Exploitation means Financial exploitation of an elder means when a person stands in a position of trust or confidence with the vulnerable elder and knowingly and by undue influence, deception, coercion, fraud, or extortion, obtains control over or otherwise uses or diverts the benefits, property, resources, belongings, or assets of the vulnerable elder. Financial exploitation means:  misappropriation of an adult's property or intentionally taking unfair advantage of an adult's physical or financial resources for another individual's personal or financial advantage by the use of undue influence, coercion, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretense by a caretaker or another person.
b) Deception Deception occurs when a person knowingly: a) Creates or confirms a false impression b) Fails to correct a false impression the defendant created or confirmed; c) Fails to correct a false impression when the defendant is under a duty to do so; d) Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved; e). Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property, fails to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property. None
c) Intimidation Intimidation is a threat of physical or emotional harm to an elderly person, or the communication to an elderly person that he or she will be deprived of food and nutrition, shelter, property, prescribed medication, or medical care or treatment None
d) Undue Influence Undue Influence means domination, coercion, manipulation, or any other act exercised by another person to the extent that an elderly person is prevented from exercising free judgment and choice. Undue influence means taking advantage of a person's role, relationship, or authority to improperly change or obtain control over the actions or decision making of a vulnerable elder against the vulnerable elder's best interests. None
 

Letters to the Editor

As we have just begun, we have not yet received any letters. I certainly hope that you will write to us: tell us about your experience with Financial Elder Abuse or Involuntary Guardianship. We will also be looking for people to interview for our monthly video and lovely photographs for our cover.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving demonstrated how much change can be accomplished when we all speak as one and insist on change. Now, it is time for Americans to again speak as one—create a roar so loud we cannot be ignored--no longer tolerating the abuse of our senior citizens.

Join The EARN Project. The membership is free. It will provide you with notifications when your Senate or House have a Bill, concerning Financial Elder Abuse and Involuntary Guardianship, coming up. It will provide a contact to all pertinent officials, through the EARN Project for you to make sure your concerns are heard and addressed. It also gives you access to information on all the laws in your state and an emergency contact list for your state which, at this time, are open to all on our website but, will soon be for members only.

Earn has picked up the baton, won't you please join the chorus —without you there is no roar and no change.

Looking forward to seeing what you send us

Sharon de Lobo

 

please send your letters through the EARN Contact Form or directly to earnmail@nyc.rr.com