Every day our Ombudsmen encounter the challenges of human frailty and advocate for the rights of those who are often alone and forgotten in long-term care facilities. The role of the Ombudsman is rewarding yet heartbreaking. It takes a special person to be an Ombudsman.
One of our Ombudsmen helped an elderly gentleman named Richard*. At 88 years young, Richard is soft-spoken with a slight southern accent. He worked in the Southern California aerospace industry for years. Richard was placed in a nursing home following a hospital stay, and he required 24-hour care because he suffered from chronic medical conditions.
His second wife notified the nursing home social worker that she no longer could care for Richard and did not want him back home. But, at the same time, she did continue draining his checking account of his Social Security and retirement funds that Richard now needed to pay for his nursing home care.
When complex cases of care arise our Ombudsmen are often called in to provide guidance and advocacy, protection, and problem resolution.
The Ombudsman for this case suggested a care meeting. The care meeting was scheduled, and Richard’s daughter phoned in from Kentucky – while his wife, facility staff, and Adult Protective Services (APS) participated at the facility. During the meeting, the wife announced she no longer wanted Richard in her life. Richard’s tears flowed with the news, and it also broke the hearts of all in the room. Richard could not bring himself to contact the police about the missing funds in his checking account, possibly due to any number of emotions from embarrassment to denial or just the heartbreak of rejection. Fortunately his daughter, who was on his account, was able to staunch the flow of funds to the wife who didn’t want him.
Richard’s health soon started to decline in the nursing home, turning into depression and weakening physical health. Our Ombudsman urged the daughter to consider moving Richard back to Kentucky. The Ombudsman executed an Advance Healthcare Directive where Richard named his daughter as his medical decision-maker. The daughter began refurbishing his old Kentucky home and a cousin agreed to live with Richard in Kentucky as his caregiver.
When the day came to fly home to Kentucky, Richard waited patiently for his daughter to arrive. He wore a string tie, an immaculate white cowboy shirt with pearl buttons, and beamed with happiness. His Southern accent even seemed more pronounced. His life was going to start over; he was getting a second chance and it would start where it all began, living with his family again in Kentucky.
Last Christmas, our Ombudsman received an update on Richard. His holidays were spent in Kentucky surrounded by loved ones, family, and friends. His life is once again filled with joy and security, surrounded by people who truly care for him.
Stories like Richard’s happen more often than one could imagine. Disaster and heartbreak often strike when a person is at the most vulnerable point of his or her adult life. It can seem overwhelming and as if there is no one to turn to.
The Council on Aging – Southern California wants you and your loved ones to know, that you are not alone. We are here to help. We care. We can make our community a better place, and we can protect the lives of older and disabled adults together.
If you found this story inspiring, please consider making a donation to help the Council on Aging – Southern California continue to help seniors like Richard and the many more in our community who need our support.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
THE FINANCIAL ABUSE SPECIALIST TEAM CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY AT COUNCIL ON AGING – SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
IRVINE, CA, NOV 7, 2017 – The Council on Aging – Southern California (COASC) is proud to announce its twentieth year anniversary of the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) in Orange County. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse, with financial elder abuse being one of the fastest growing crimes in America. FAST has provided two decades of outreach and training to help protect community members against scams and fraud. COASC will commemorate the occasion with a celebratory anniversary event on Nov. 14.
Orange County FAST is a partnership of public and private multidisciplinary professionals who volunteer their time to facilitate comprehensive services to victims of financial elder abuse. Representatives include law enforcement, the probate court, public and private legal services, medical and mental health professionals, Adult Protective Services, Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, Public Guardian, Department of Health Services, Department of Social Services, Social Security, the Attorney General’s office, Alzheimer’s Association, Regional Center, and members of the financial community including bankers, real estate, insurance, and financial planning professionals.
“The Orange County FAST was my first introduction to a dynamic and dedicated group of people who care about the older adults in our county. This program has improved lives, connected people, raised awareness, and made a real difference in our community.” – Dr. Laura Mosqueda, USC Chair of Dept. of Family Medicine, Assoc. Dean of Primary Care
The Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) was created in July 1997 as a program under the Council on Aging. FAST collaborates with Adult Protective Services (APS), Ombudsmen and attorneys to provide monthly training and consultations on financial elder abuse for professionals who serve the senior community.
“Over the past 20 years, the incidents of financial abuse of elders and dependent adults continue. Thanks to the efforts of the COASC FAST and similar teams, professional responders have more resources and support to better serve the community.”
– Joan Allen, founder of Orange County FAST
In the early 1990s, the Los Angeles Police Department Elder Persons Estate Unit designated financial elder abuse as “The Crime of the ‘90s,” and helped to establish the first FAST for the County of Los Angeles. This was the multidisciplinary model followed by the Orange County FAST. Many other counties nationwide followed this model and are still active today.
“I joined FAST in 2008 when I started with the Public Guardian. It’s comforting to know that we share a common goal of trying to make the lives of our clients better.” – Supervising Deputy Darren Tan
Financial exploitation is often the source of other forms of abuse, however, APS, Ombudsmen, social workers, and RNs are more familiar with investigating and resolving complaints of physical abuse and neglect. FAST is the perfect resource to enhance the services of both programs.
“The multi-disciplinary FAST team has and continues to provide APS staff and clients with invaluable linkages and assistance to help remediate elder financial abuse cases.” – Stacey Lindberg, APS Manager and FAST co-chair
The Council on Aging – Southern California has been a trusted 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since 1973, providing unbiased information, programs and services to more than 290,000 adults and families annually. We promote the independence, health and dignity of older adults through compassion, education and advocacy. Every day we help seniors remain healthy, connected and protected.
Should it become law, AB 1250 could suppress the ability of local governments to rely on nonprofits as vital partners, to help fill gaps in services that government may be ill-equipped to provide, having the very severe potential to undermine the quality and cost-effectiveness of important economic, environmental and social programs that we all deeply care about.
AB 1250’s requirements are far too onerous, adding many restrictions and raising costs without boosting real accountability. Just to give a few examples, AB 1250 will drive up unfunded overhead and compliance costs by requiring complicated audits, to be paid for by nonprofit contractors, and the disclosure requirements could be in violation of HIPAA and other privacy laws and conflicts with other state and federal laws.
An array of state statutes and federal laws already set limits on how counties can contract with outside service providers. Also disturbing is the likelihood that contracts will come to a halt altogether, a prospect the counties are saying unequivocally will occur, or be so delayed that they cause serious adversity to the low-income and marginalized Californians nonprofits serve.
We are concerned about some misconceptions that understate the negative impact of AB 1250. Contrary to what has sometimes been stated, AB 1250 would apply not only to new contracts, but also to existing contracts when they come up for renewal. Some proponents claim that AB 1250’s provisions are included in California State Government Code 19130, and this simply reinforces those codes, but in fact AB 1250 contains numerous provisions that go much further than the state requires.
There are important reasons that counties turn to nonprofits to partner with them on delivery of critical services such as health and human services, animal welfare, juvenile justice, domestic violence, immigration matters and more. Nonprofits have a long and proven track record of providing quality, cost-effective, linguistically appropriate, and culturally competent services that are geographically located in the heart of rural and urban communities. In fact, as noted in CalNonprofits’ seminal report, Causes Count: The Economic Power of California’s Nonprofit Sector, over 80 percent of Californians have confidence that nonprofits act in the public’s interest and deliver quality services, operate efficiently and spend money wisely.
AB 1250 could not be proffered at a worse time. Communities are particularly fearful right now and people are shying away from government contact. Nonprofits have built trusted relationships in those communities, making this an especially bad time to end contracts with nonprofits. Additionally, with a federal administration that has suggested significant cuts, the simple truth is California’s nonprofits, especially those serving our underserved communities through health and social services are under particular threat of federal destabilization.
Many of us are allies with labor on opposing the privatization of government jobs (and many other issues of common cause, such as the successful campaign to raise the minimum wage). But AB 1250 distorts how decisions should be made about providing critical services for our communities. A county’s decision to allocate funds for services is complex and includes technical expertise, experience, efficiency, cultural and linguistic competency, and geography. At the core of county agency and board of supervisor, decisions are a commitment to the community.
Therefore, the County is reaching out for assistance in communicating your opposition of this bill to the Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Included is information in regards to AB 1250 and two sample letters, which you can utilize in communicating your opposition to Sacramento. It is encouraged that you send hard copies of the letters, as emailed letters of support/opposition may be overlooked and not printed for review. The addresses for the Members of the Senate Committee are attached.
The Council on Aging – Southern California (COASC) has been awarded the Ombudsman Services contract by the Riverside County Office on Aging.
The Ombudsman Program was created in 1976 by the federal Older Americans Act and Older Californians Act. Long-term care Ombudsman advocacy has been one of the founding initiatives of COASC, having served Riverside’s neighboring county of Orange in this capacity since 1976. Under this new contract, COASC will advocate for the 14,256 vulnerable older adults living in 518 long-term care facilities in Riverside County.
“The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of the almost 15,000 individuals residing in residential care facilities. We are confident this partnership will further strengthen the advocacy for vulnerable older adults in Riverside County. These are among the residents who need our help the most.” – Anna L. Martinez, Director of the Riverside County Office on Aging.
The Ombudsman program advocates for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care homes. Through regular visits to facilities by staff and specially trained volunteers, the program investigates and mediates complaints, monitors residents’ care and quality of life, and provides public education for clients and families.
COASC has continued to expand direct services to older adults across the region, offering a multitude of no cost programs including the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) in San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo and Mono Counties since 2012. With the addition of the Ombudsman Program in Riverside, they will now maintain an office in Hemet and a greater presence in the Coachella Valley.
“We look forward to protecting the quality of care for all Riverside County long-term care residents. Our commitment to being compassionate advocates and asserting the rights of residents is our priority” said Elizabeth Anderson, Director of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for COASC.
The Council on Aging – Southern California has been a trusted 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since 1973, providing unbiased information, programs and services to more than 275,000 adults and families annually. We promote the independence, health and dignity of older adults through compassion, education and advocacy. Every day we help seniors remain healthy, connected and protected.
How do you perceive aging today? Is it the thriving lifestyle of seniors taking on new careers, volunteering or being physically active? Or is it the traditional notion of the harsher realities of aging? The Council on Aging-Southern California invites all amateur and professional photographers, 18 years of age or older residing in Southern California, to use their imagination and share their vision and unique interpretation of the aging experience.
COASC’s Aging as Art Photography Show will be juried by a panel of distinguished judges. The selected entries will be displayed for an extended engagement March 2018 at one of California’s finest museums, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Selected photographs will also be displayed at the Newport Beach Central Library Summer 2018. The Aging as Art Photography Show will depict the diversity, dignity, and challenges of what living a long life means today.
PANEL OF JURORS
We are privileged to have an esteemed panel of jurors to view the entries and select the contest winners.
The Council on Aging-Southern California Aging as Art Juried Photography Show is grateful to our partners and sponsors who have contributed to an impressive prize list with a total value of over $1,875.00 Entrants have the opportunity to win one Grand Prize, one Second Prize, one Third Prize, or one of two Honorable Mentions. This year the contest will feature a professional and an amateur category.
Professional PhotographerDefinition: A professional photographer is someone who is consistently compensated for their photographic work.
Amateur Photographer Definition: An “amateur” photographer is someone that takes photos for fun and passion.
Professional Prize Package:
1) Grand Prize – $500
2) Second Prize -$375
3) Third Prize – $250
4) 2 Honorable Mentions –$75 each
Amateur Prize Package:
1) Grand Prize – $250
2) Second Prize – $150
3) Third Prize – $100
4) 2 Honorable Mentions – $50 each
A selected group of submissions will also be included in the Aging as Art show at the Bowers Museum and Newport Beach Central Library. This group will not be eligible for a cash prize.
SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS
Photos must be submitted using Smarter Entry beginning on July 28, 2017.
Submission deadline is January 8, 2018.
$30 for up to 3 images (additional images are $10 each, Maximum of 6 images total) submitted by January 8, 2018.
PHOTO CONTEST: RULES, TERMS, AND CONDITIONS
COASC invites anyone residing in Southern California who is passionate about photography to enter the Aging as Art Juried Photography Show.
You must read the following rules, terms, and conditions before submitting any photos!
SECTION 1. WHO MAY ENTER
All amateur or professional photographers residing in Southern California Zip Codes 90000-93599 who are at least 18 years of age as of the date of image submission are eligible.
PARTICIPATION IN THIS CONTEST IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PHOTOGRAPHERS RESIDING OUTSIDE OF THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ZIP CODES STATED ABOVE OR WHERE REGISTRATION OR BONDING ARE REQUIRED, THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
SECTION 2. WHAT TO ENTER
Open to all photographic imagery that can be defined as “How do you perceive aging today?” as interpreted by the entrant. One subject in the composition must be a senior which is broadly defined as an individual 65 and over.
Entries may originate in any format including, but not limited to digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints — so long as they are submitted electronically.
Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still maintain the right to grant Council on Aging-Southern California a license (see Your Rights).
For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and be prepared to provide it to Council on Aging-Southern California upon request if your photo is selected. You do not need to submit it at the time of entry. Model Release
Each submitted photograph, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the Contest entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant warrants that the submitted photograph(s) is an original work created solely by the entrant, that the photograph does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity, and that no other party has any right, title, claim or interest in the photograph. Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s copyright are not eligible.
All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are acceptable. Images that do not meet these requirements may or may not be judged at the sole discretion of the Panel of Jurors.
There are no restrictions on eligibility regarding the date or the location the photograph was taken.
The photographs entered must not, in the sole discretion of the Council on Aging-Southern California, contain obscene, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable content. Entries deemed inappropriate will be ineligible.
SECTION 3.1 REGISTRATION
Each entrant must set up an account on the contest registration site and registers for the show “Council on Aging-Southern California Contest: Aging as Art.” An email confirmation will be sent to the email address affiliated with the entrant’s account.
Follow the online instructions to upload and submit images.
To submit more than three images, an additional entry form is NOT required. Simply log into your account on the registration site and select “Buy Additional Images.”
SECTION 3.2 IMAGE FORMAT
– 72 ppi resolution
– 1,280 pixels on the longest side
– sRGB or RGB color space (standard) with layers flattened
– 8 bit mode
– JPG format with compression at level 7 (at minimum)
– less than 3MB total size
If your image is selected for display at the Aging as Art show, you will be required to submit a photographic print and signed model release. Winning entrants will be sent instructions for the submission of the final print after the juried submissions are selected.
SECTION 3.3 FILE NAMING
To avoid image upload errors, you can ONLY use alphanumeric characters with a period preceding the file name.
Please INCLUDE YOUR NAME in the file name. Example: Jake Snider My Parents.jpg.
DO NOT USE any punctuation or special characters such as ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) + ? / ” ~
SECTION 4. ENTRY DEADLINES AND FEES
Entries are accepted beginning July 28, 2017 at 8:00 am Pacific Standard Time (PST) and ends on January 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm (PST).
All entries must be received by 5:00 pm PST on January 8, 2018, to be eligible.
A standard fee of $30 applies to entries of up to three photos beginning 8:00 am PST on July 28, 2017, through 5:00 pm PST on January 8, 2018.
SECTION 5. JUDGING
Images will be judged online based on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit.
All decisions made by the Panel of Jurors are final. The Council on Aging-Southern California shall determine winner eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion.
Winners will be selected on or about January 11, 2018, and notified by email on or about January 15, 2018.
SECTION 6. YOUR RIGHTS
You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit, including ownership if applicable. By submitting your image in the contest, you grant Council on Aging-Southern California a nonexclusive right, in perpetuity, to:
Use your name, city, state in Council on Aging-Southern California promotions and publications, in connection with the current and any future Photo Contest,
Subject to the rights of the photographer, use your image on partner and third party promotions and publications in connection with the current and any future Photo Contest, event, auction, newsletter, COASC webpage or any COASC publication or communication,
Subject to the rights of the photographer, keep the files provided, and to archive the images in electronic forms, so that your photos can be used by COASC as stated in I and II above.
For any photograph used under the terms of this agreement, Council on Aging-Southern California shall give credit to the photographer as feasible.
SECTION 7. YOUR PRIVACY
We respect your privacy. Council on Aging-Southern California will not sell, rent or exchange your e-mail address.
SECTION 8. LEGAL CONDITIONS
This Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if Council on Aging-Southern California determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.
Participants also agree:
(a) to be bound by these Official Rules;
(b) that the decisions of the Panel of Jurors are final on all matters relating to the Contest; and
(c) if he/she is selected for display in the Aging As Art show, the Council on Aging-Southern California may use each winner’s name, city, state, and photograph in any publicity or advertising relating to current or future Contests.
All federal, state and local taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners.
Council on Aging-Southern California, in its sole discretion, reserves the right not to award all prizes in the event that the number of submissions does not meet the minimum judging criteria.
In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Council on Aging-Southern California, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.
Council on Aging-Southern California reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s) as the result of causes beyond its immediate control.
SECTION 9. THIRD PARTY RELEASES
Upon Council on Aging-Southern California’s request, each entrant must be prepared to provide a signed written model release from all persons who appear in the photograph submitted, authorizing us to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph entry in connection with and promotion of Aging as Art, in any media now or hereafter.
In addition, upon Council on Aging-Southern California’s request, each entrant must be prepared to provide a signed written release from the copyright owner of any sculpture, artwork or other copyrighted material that appears in the photograph entry, authorizing us to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph in connection with and promotions of Aging as Art. Failure to provide such releases upon request may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner.
SECTION 9.1 LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
By participating, entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Council on Aging-Southern California and each of its partners, affiliates, agents and its employees, directors, and representatives, including volunteers, from any claims, losses, damages, or other liabilities arising out of their participation in Aging as Art or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.
Council on Aging-Southern California assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. Council on Aging-Southern California is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any electronic submission to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Contest.
SECTION 10. RIGHT TO CANCEL OR SUSPEND CONTEST
If for any reason Aging as Art is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Council on Aging-Southern California that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this contest, the Council on Aging-Southern California reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest. If Council on Aging-Southern California elects to cancel or terminate Aging as Art, Council on Aging-Southern California will not retain any rights in the submitted photographs and will return the entry fees.
SECTION 11. NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS: REMOVAL FROM MAILING LIST
Any individual may elect to unsubscribe from email lists. To elect to have an individual’s name excluded from such communications, select “unsubscribe” from the link in the Council on Aging-Southern California email. You may also contact (714) 479-0107 to request removal.
SECTION 12. QUESTIONS
Questions and inquiries about Contest can be emailed to email@example.com.
The Council on Aging’s Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) was established in 1997 to provide advocacy for seniors as well as elder abuse education and training to fiduciaries and others providing service to the aging population in Orange County.
Over the years, FAST has evolved to protect seniors from fraud and scams, whether new or just reinvented.
FAST membership has also evolved to include professionals from a multitude of relevant professions to best advise Adults Protective Services and the Ombudsman of Orange County on complicated cases of financial abuse.
In 2017, we celebrate 20 years of great work by FAST and we look forward to many more despite recent Federal Budget cuts that affect advocacy and services to seniors across the nation.
To Learn More or For Additional Guidance Call (714) 479-0107
Become a Support System for Isolated Seniors and Adults with Disabilities
The Friendly VisitorProgram recruits and trains caring community members to participate in a countywide program that benefits older adults and adults with disabilities who are frail, isolated, and have a limited support system. As a volunteer, you can help this vulnerable population to secure access to necessary health care and social services, as well as offer social and emotional support.
We are in need of Friendly Visitors who are bilingual in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Contact Celine Castellano at 714-352-8837 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Counsel and Advocate for Medicare Rights and Benefits
Do you have good communication skills (bilingual skills are especially needed), peer counseling ability, and advocacy potential? We are looking for qualified candidates to become HICAP Volunteer Counselors. Our HICAP Counselors provide unbiased, individualized counseling to help Medicare recipients maximize benefits, understand health plan choices and resolve the denial of services.
We are in need of HICAP Counselors who are bilingual in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog or Farsi. Contact Mary Ozurovich at 714-560-0432 or email@example.com
There are over 28,000 long-term care residents in Orange County who live within 1,100 facilities. As an Ombudsman volunteer, you will make unannounced, regular visits to long-term care facilities. Your training will help you develop the skills necessary to advocate for the residents and to help them resolve their concerns. Ombudsmen provide the security of a caring advocate and assert the rights of a long-term care resident, particularly when a family member is not present.
We are in need of Ombudsmen who are bilingual in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Farsi. Contact Patricia Johnson at 714-479-0107 x 216 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stand Up Against Stigma by becoming a Mental Health Advocate
Nationwide, one in four older adults experiences mental health challenges including depression and anxiety. As a ReConnect volunteer, you can offer emotional support and make a positive impact in the lives of our local seniors by sharing various skills, from public speaking and group facilitation to one-on-one participant support and community advocate.
We are in need of ReConnect Volunteers who are bilingual in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Chinese. Contact Christine Tran-Le at 714-479-0107 x 416 or email@example.com