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AgeWise August/September 2019 Print

PDF of AgeWise

Read the pdf version of the AgeWise Newsletter with photos here.

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President's Message

Greetings to all of our FCOA members!  I am so honored to serve as your new President of FCOA and certainly have big shoes to fill.  Our former President, Charlie Robinson, led us with great passion and wit.  We thank him for his outstanding leadership these past two years and he has promised to continue to serve and advise us as I begin my new role.  

Our FCOA Board of Trustees is comprised of the top State leaders in the aging field.  It is a privilege to serve with such dedicated colleagues, who share their time and expertise to insure our senior Floridians enjoy healthy and productive lives.  We work closely with our State legislators, and advocate for policies and funding needs for our seniors.

I couldn’t work with a more dedicated and experienced management team, led by Margaret Lynn Duggar, whom we all admire for her countless accomplishments in the aging field.  I hope you all had the pleasure to meet Margaret Lynn at our annual conference this year.

And what a successful conference it was, thanks to your continued support of FCOA!  Top leaders in the Aging field shared their wisdom and expertise during our 3 day event.   With 4 plenary sessions, 50 workshops, 1 intensives and 8 different tracks to choose from, the opportunities for learning were unparalleled.  The ballroom was full of 63 exhibitors, who showcased their innovative technology, products and services that strengthen our ability to serve Florida’s seniors.  More than 500 professionals in aging enjoyed networking and exchanging ideas with like-minded colleagues.

Our deep appreciation for our sponsors who enabled the tremendous success of our conference.  Your support enables the Florida Conference on Aging to be the largest multidisciplinary aging conference in Florida!  You allow us to educate, advocate and innovate!

I want to hear from you and welcome your ideas, comments for future FCOA growth and any feedback you’d like to share.   Together, we can continue to make Florida the BEST state for seniors to thrive!

- Christine Cauffield, PhD

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Florida Conference on Aging

The annual Florida Conference on Aging brought together over 540 attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers and advocates for 3 amazing days of education, networking and fun!

The Opening Session, co-sponsored by WellCare/Staywell and Metz Culinary Management, addressed the topic of livable communities.  FCOA was delighted to have Rodney Harrell, Director of AARP’s Livability Thought Leadership discuss the Livability Index and ways to make your community more livable.  View the presentation here.  

The panel discussion on Livable Communities with Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom; AARP State President Jeff Johnson; AARP Associate State Director Laura Cantwell and Rodney Harrell included some interactive polling questions where attendees became part of the presentation!   Attendees selected Housing and Transportation as MOST CRITICAL domains for the future of their communities.  As Florida continues to grow, by nearly 900 people a day, new models and innovation will be the key to Florida’s success.

Day two of the Florida Conference on Aging started with an amazing plenary session co-sponsored by Humana and Uber Health.

Andrea Busada, President, Florida Association of Aging Services Providers and FCOA Trustee, facilitated an amazing session.

The session kicked off with Bob Blancato with his now infamous 10 in 10 presentation that provides attendees with information about what is happening in Washington D.C.

The session then turned to the topic of civil discourse.  FCOA was pleased that Kyle Reese and Nancy Broner of OneJax were at the conference representing the National Institute for Civil Discourse.  This session was interactive and contained a lot of great information about how we can engage in civil conversations are difficult or divisive topics.  Take a look at their presentation here!

The Quality Senior Living Awards Luncheon, Co-Sponsored by Florida Power & Light, AARP Florida and Florida Community Care, speaker was Sister Madonna Buder.  She brought her inspirational message about staying present and engaged, as well as some wonderful stories about being a tri-athlete in her eighth decade.   Watch her in a Nike video here.

(See pdf copy of newsletter for photos.)

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FCOA Advocacy Initiative 2020

The Florida Council on Aging Board of Trustees voted to continue the Advocacy Initiative.  This will be the12th year FCOA will take an active role in advocating on behalf of General Revenue funded home and community based programs.  These programs are an important component of the long-term care continuum.

In mid September the Florida Department of Elder Affairs submitted their Legislative Budget Request to the Governor.  The Florida Council on Aging fully supports their request to serve people on the waitlist for services.  Here is the 2020 request:

Alzheimer’s Diseases Initiative (ADI) - $3.6 million to serve an additional 308 people

Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) - $6 million to serve an additional 712 people

Home Care for the Elderly (HCE) - $1 million to serve an additional 242 people

Local Service Programs (LSP) – Recommend continuation funding $2,472/person

The General Revenue Programs waitlist of above programs, as of 8/27/19, is 64,441.  The proposed increase of $10.6 million will serve an additional 1,262 (2%) frail older adults from the waitlist.

Dr. Jamie Huysman, VP of Provider Relations and Government Affairs, WellMed Medical Management  and FCOA Trustee, announced at the annual conference a $25,000 gift from the WellMed Foundation and Dr. Rapier to support the 2020 FCOA Advocacy Initiative.

Dr. Horacio Soberon-Ferrer, Vice President for Finance and CFO for Florida Community Care, and FCOA Trustee, announced at the annual conference a $5,000 gift from Florida Community Care and Nestor Plana to support the 2020 FCOA Advocacy Initiative.

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Guardianship 101

By Pamela Wiener, PhD, FCOA Trustee

Guardianship is a means to keeping a vulnerable person safe, fulfilled and engaged. This article will concentrate on older adults (and will exclude the guardianship of children). However, what you see here is generally relevant to adults of any age with special needs such as traumatic brain injury, addiction, developmental disabilities, etc. which can seriously impair judgement and/or function. Consider this an overview, and I invite you to reach out for further information.

Typically an interested party such as a neighbor, relative, or friend will notice that an adult is compromised after significant exploitation or behavioral changes have taken place. When concerned that an ‘allegedly incapacitated person (AIP)' can no longer manage his or her affairs without assistance, the interested party will petition the court for a guardian to be appointed. This must be done with an attorney’s assistance. Sometimes the interested party will report concerns to Adult Protective Services (APS), and APS will do the petition.

The attorney will seek family members and will inform them of the petition. Family members are invited to participate in the hearing. If a relative is able to take on the guardianship responsibilities, a professional guardian will not be assigned.

It is also possible that an ‘Emergency Temporary Guardianship (ETG)’ may be put in place for 90 days so that the AIP can get treatment while the guardian gets financial, medical and other matters in order.  In some cases the AIP can emerge from the ETG with all of his or her rights restored, and the guardianship will end. The ETG can also be extended.

Concurrent with the guardianship hearing is an incapacity hearing.  The law requires three people to evaluate the AIP, formally using metrics such as Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS) tests, medical exams, chart reviews, interviews with medical providers, etc. One of the examining committee, as the evaluators are called, must be a physician, another a licensed clinical professional. The third is a community member with expertise in the area of concern such as dementia, mental illness, addiction, etc. The evaluations of these individuals are considered very seriously by the judge overseeing the case.  Sometimes the committee members are asked to testify at the hearing.

Florida law requires that less restrictive alternatives to guardianship be considered prior to assigning a guardian. Therefore, if there are documents pointing to a trusted person as Power of Attorney even if incapacity is determined at the hearing, guardianship may not be the end result. If a guardian is assigned, the court will approve a budget and a plan of care. Any expenses outside the budget or activities beyond the submitted plan of care require a judge’s review and a court order.

At the incapacity/guardianship hearing, the AIP is represented by an attorney. If he or she does not have the means or wherewithal to engage representation, an attorney is assigned for this purpose and they meet prior to the hearing. The attorney advocates for the AIP’s wishes during the hearing.

When the judge determines that the AIP needs a guardian, he or she may delegate a limited number of rights to the guardian, or may assign a plenary guardian. 

The AIP is then called a ward. In my experience wards often maintain the right to determine their friendships and the right to vote. Rights that are frequently removed include the ability to contract, to apply for public benefits, to marry, to drive, and to consent to medical treatment. Some wards maintain their right to determine their residence and some do not.

A professional guardian is typically assigned when a ward has no family, or when family can not agree on what is needed nor which family member should provide care. We see many families that are estranged and haven’t communicated in decades. Professional guardians are also assigned when the court determines that relatives participated in the exploitation the ward.

The goal of guardianship is to restore as many rights to the ward as possible. This means finding good treatment and helping the ward navigate the world as much as possible. It means good stewardship of the ward’s assets. Guardians encourage positive relationships with family members and maintain communication with the families of their wards. With older adults who have dementia, the expectation of restoration of rights is unrealistic. We provide those wards with the highest quality of life possible.

Professional guardians are randomly assigned to cases off of a wheel, unless there is a compelling reason why a specific guardian should be chosen. If a professional is the guardian of a married person and the spouse becomes incapacitated, it is likely that the same guardian will be assigned. Cultural and religious considerations are taken into account. Professional guardians must accept at least 1 pro-bono assignment annually from the wheel. The Public Guardian offices (in most counties) and other not-for-profit corporate guardians (such as my agency, Ferd and Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service) take on many indigent cases.

This is the tip of the iceberg. It is important to note that there are standards of practice, that we have professional certification, and that our role as guardians is guided by statutes. Many professional guardians have additional training and expertise in real estate, nursing, social work, and law.

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Grant and Funding Opportunities

Volunteer Florida Announces $6.4 Million for Hurricane Michael Disaster Case Management Programs - The funding, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will support a Disaster Case Management Program that will connect Hurricane Michael survivors with a case manager who can help them achieve recovery. Organizations interested in applying to provide these services should respond to the request for proposal by October 11, 2019 at 12 pm (ET).

Environmental Influences on Aging: Effects of Extreme Weather and Disaster Events on Aging Processes (PAR-19-249, National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with other agencies, application deadlines November 4, 2019; March 9, 2020; July 7, 2020; November 9, 2020; and March 8, 2021).  Together with the companion FOA (PAR-19-250) that focuses on how extreme weather and disaster events impact older adults, these FOAs will help to explicate the behavioral, biological, epigenetic, genetic, neurological and socioecological processes that affect the aging process. The ultimate goal is to improve the health and well-being of older adults via increased knowledge about extreme weather and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time.  Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1,000 or the local equivalent, come out of pockets of the chapter's "trustees" and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects.  Deadline: Open

The Walmart Foundation is accepting applications through its Community Grant Program.  Through the program, grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to local nonprofit organizations in the service area of individual Walmart stores in the areas of hunger relief and healthy eating, health and human services, quality of life, education, community and economic development, diversity and inclusion, public safety, and environmental sustainability.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through December 31, 2019.  For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the Walmart Foundation website.

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