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.
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.

 

David Really Can Slay Goliath

But First He Must Show Up

Marcel Reid Definitely Showed Up
It has been more than 10 years since Marcel Reid attended a Whistleblower Conference conducted by the Government Accountability Project. She understood the important place the whistleblower plays in maintaining the safety and well-being of the American public and, though she never expected to become a whistleblower herself, the need for laws that will protect whistleblowers from retribution.

Sometime later, and most unexpectedly, Marcel herself become a whistleblower. This inspired her to take all that she had learned at the GAP meeting and, over the years following, to create her own organization. In 2012 they conducted their first summit with a very small audience, just a few whistleblowers, and the support of only three organizations. 

This July, their four-day summit will have 70 organizations supporting them and close to 1000 participants.

Since they began in 2012, more and more states are instituting laws to protect whistleblowers and the safety of the American public is in much better shape because of these heroic individuals. Marcel’s organization has done wonderful things in just seven years and we will watch with great enthusiasm their continued activities.

We encourage anyone who would be in or near Washington DC between July 29th and August 1st to attend. You will be glad you did!

Watch for a profile of Marcel and her organization in our September issue.

 

FIDO         and         FELIX

May Be The Best Medicine

By Mary West

Programs Allow Seniors to Enjoy the Benefits of Pet Ownership Longer

The lavish love and unconditional acceptance that pets bestow on their owners is a gift of great worth to people of any age. However, for the elderly, who often are lonely, the value of canine or feline companionship is incalculable. Studies show that pets enhance physical, emotional, and social health, so pet ownership remains an advantage even after seniors develop conditions that make caring for a dog or cat challenging. Fortunately, programs are available that enable the elderly to keep their cherished pets in their homes longer.

 

Part 1: Benefits of Pet Ownership

Physical Health

Since dogs need to be walked, dog owners are more likely to meet the recommended daily exercise requirement, which is critically important in slowing the aging process. A 2014 study featured in Preventive Medicine concluded that dog owners were 12 percent more active than those who do not have a dog.

Aside from increasing activity, pets improve physical health in other ways. According to the American Heart Association, research suggests a link between pet ownership and better fitness, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Moreover, a study in the Journal of Community Health Nursing found that pet therapy sessions lead to a lower heart rate.

Emotional Health

The emotional health of seniors is often taxed to the limit because they have more than their fair share of problems. These hardships may include losing a spouse, undergoing chemotherapy, or coping with a disability. The comfort derived from all the manifestations of the kind heart of a dog can make a huge difference in weathering life’s hard knocks. In addition, nothing is more relaxing than the sound of a cat’s contented purring.

Pets offer a tremendous emotional benefit through their effect on hormones. Studies show that petting a dog reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and releases the anti-stress hormone oxytocin. Spending time with animals also promotes heightened feelings of security and lessens anxiety, depression, and loneliness, reports the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Social Health

Caring for a pet fosters increased socialization and involvement with life. Walking a dog in the neighborhood puts seniors in the path of other dog owners who could become friends. Driving to the pet store, vet office, and dog groomer provide opportunities to get out of the house.

Loneliness is a common malady for seniors, as they often have a declining circle of family and friends. The affectionate nature of pets, especially dogs, can be a solace to those who have no one to hug them, and the companionship they afford can diminish feelings of isolation. Furthermore, when seniors come home after being out, instead of facing an empty house, they are greeted with joyous abandon by a canine that is delighted to see them.

Protection

A barking dog can be a deterrent to break-ins even if the dog is small. Once the barking starts, any would-be burglars know that the homeowner has been alerted and has likely called the police. If a senior is nervous about staying home alone, having a dog can make them feel safer.

 

Part 2: Programs that Help Seniors with Pet Care

The debility and reduced income that often accompany aging make it harder for seniors to care for pets. When this happens, instead of giving up a dog or cat that is like a member of the family, the elderly can take advantage of programs that offer an array of assistance. Below are some examples.

Pets Forever

Reporter Herald Neighbors reports on Pets Forever, a community program housed in Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It helps local low-income seniors maintain pet ownership by providing financial support for animal supplies and vet care. The program also sends people to the homes of the elderly to walk dogs, deliver pet food, clean litter boxes, and give rides to the vet. Volunteers who staff the program, consisting of students and community members, make it possible to preserve the human–animal bond. Funding for Pets Forever comes from grants and donations.

Share a Dog

Borrowing a dog is an option for the elderly who adore canine company but can’t afford the upkeep or prefer not to have sole responsibility for a pet. Dog-sharing arrangements permit a senior to walk or care for a dog that belongs to someone who travels or whose schedule affords little time for pet care. The schemes are a win-win situation for all concerned. Instead of a dog languishing home alone while its owner works, it goes to a free version of doggy daycare—the home of a loving senior.

Examples of programs that facilitate dog sharing include Share a Dog and the Canadian company Dogtime Community. Borrow my Doggy, a website that connects local dog owners with borrowers, is currently only in the UK, but it might eventually expand to America. Seniors who don’t live in a community that has such a program could perhaps ask around and find someone who needs help in caring for their pet.

Pet-Friendly Senior Living Communities

Some assisted living and senior living communities allow residents to have pets because they recognize the multifaceted benefits the animals provide. This is a godsend for the elderly who face the heartbreak of having to give up their dog or cat when moving from their home to a facility. Pets of individual owners often become like community pets because they’re enjoyed by all the residents. Other assisted living facilities have official community pets that live on the premises. Some communities that don’t allow resident pets may offer pet therapy, where volunteers bring trained therapy dogs to visit.

Organizations That Assist Seniors with Pets

A few non-profit groups help seniors with pet ownership in various ways. The elderly may adopt a pet from PAWS at a discounted rate, and the staff will help select a pet that matches their lifestyle. Pets for Seniors helps pay vet bills, and the Pets for the Elderly Foundation pays part of pet adoption fees.

 

 

 

 

As grandparents, we are the last Americans left who have memories of family members who went to war to protect our world and instilled in us the understanding of the importance of a population who honours that which so many before us were willingly to fight and died to safeguard.

During the months and months of arguing over individuals refusing to stand for the National Anthem, not a single journalist or op-ed writer discussed the meaning of its lyrics.

After a night of heavy bombardment, from British ships during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812, 35-year-old Francis Scott Key awoke to see our flag, the symbol of freedom, flying triumphantly over Fort McHenry and was inspired to write the proud and grateful words of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Over the generations, many millions of people, on other mornings in other cities—across Belgium, Holland, France, the camps of Nazi Germany, and so many other places far from our shores—have awakened to the hope and joy of seeing that flag borne by young soldiers willing to risk their lives to defend the freedom it stands for.

Now those freedoms are in peril. We seem to be more interested in tearing apart this country than protecting it.

Can’t we, as grandparents, help our grandchildren understand that though as a people we are not perfect, and neither is our system, there is great value in what those young people died to protect? That respecting the views of others, listening to what they have to say, and finding compromise is the only way to honor it?

If we cannot come together in agreement that there is something worth defending at the heart of America, then we will fall. And if we fall, the world will fall.

 

 

I Was Just Thinking...

by Joan Hunt

The focus on sacrifices made by the WWII generation this Memorial Day turned our thoughts to the myriad sacrifices made, from the very inception of our country, to safeguard our way of life. This sparked the question of why so many of us no longer treasure that which millions of brave Americans have valued above their own safety and their own lives.
We thought Joan Hunt’s thoughts, put to pen for the first issue of The Silver Standard, should be revisited as a wonderful reminder of how important family and a sense of place are to the human spirit—and therefore to the society we live in.
We are all part of the American family—unique in all of history. If we lose our sense of place—of being the curators of what Ronald Reagan called the “shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere." and grateful heirs of those who rest in places, far far from home, that president Trump appropriately referred to as “the alter of freedom”, then who are we? Have we become no more than a collection of angry bickering people? Is that who we really want to be?

A Sense of Place

Have you ever gotten a whiff of a certain smell that immediately transports you to another time and place? I remember reading once that we keep special places in our memory, and that chance occurrences can bring them back to us in vivid detail. Immediately, a picture of my grandmother's house comes to mind.

Grandma's place was a constant in my life, although many life-altering experiences took place there. By real estate and interior design standards, I don't suppose it was very valuable, but each room of that house, together with the porch and the backyard, hold numerous treasures for my memory.

My Great-Uncle George's beloved wife succumbed to cancer in the front bedroom. I remember Grandma talking about how young and brave she had been and how utterly devastated the loss left Uncle George. Although he was a tad bit gruff and lived to be almost 90 without ever remarrying, for me there was always a halo of romance around him because of that story.

That was the same bedroom I was staying in when I had my first nightmare—huge gray rabbits hopping on the walls. And it is where my mother banished me when, as a toddler, I got into the porcelain candy dish and ate a handful of homemade fudge before anybody caught me.

Grandma's bedroom was a haven of cherry wood and lace curtains rustling in the breeze. She had a sleigh bed covered in a wine-colored silk down comforter and numerous pillows, and sleeping in it made you feel like you were just this side of heaven. The adjoining bathroom always smelled of lemon soap— the kind you could only buy from the Avon people. (Grandma sold Avon. It was the only job she ever had.)

Thinking of the kitchen sparks memories of homemade fried chicken, chocolate chip cookies, coffee cake, and the afternoon that Cousin Johnny told Grandma (who was urging him to eat his spinach because it was loaded with iron) that if he wanted iron in his blood he'd swallow a couple of nails. I don't know whether it was how he said it or the way Grandma threw back her head and laughed that makes the memory so funny.

Speaking of Cousin Johnny, it was on Grandma's front porch that he and I discovered we couldn't fly. Frankly, I think he'd known it all along, because the "pixie dust" he sprinkled on my head most likely came from Grandma's garden. But the two of us, hand in hand, jumped off the banister over the rosebushes and nose-dived into the grass beneath—eliciting a few scrapes and much scolding from my mother.

Remembering Grandma's place also conjures up pictures of sheet tents stretched across her clotheslines, gathering peonies from her garden to take to the cemetery for Decoration Day, endless games of badminton, catching fireflies in old fruit jars, and Kool-Aid.

Grandma had a big living room with a royal blue wool carpet, a deep claret-colored sofa, and a huge, old-fashioned record player that played records the size of dinner platters. It was there that I learned to play the piano (not particularly well) and draw (somewhat better). In that room, our whole family watched President Kennedy's assassination, and then the hit on Oswald, and then the funeral—over and over again—on Grandma's console television set. I remember staying up with her on several New Year's Eves to watch the Lawrence Welk Show. And I remember being in that room the morning we took her to the hospital because she just wasn't feeling right. I could tell she was scared, and I think we both knew somehow that she wasn't coming back.

But wonderfully, I can close my eyes and be transported to that marvelous place where Grandma Minnie bustled around kneading dough, pushing clothes through the wringer on her washing machine, sewing housedresses on her treadle-operated Singer sewing machine, and giving me what I needed more than anything: a sense of place.


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Do We Really Want Medicare for All? Canada and Britain Showcase the Perils of Free Health Care

by Mary West

Candidates for the 2020 democratic presidential nomination are campaigning across the nation, and several of the most prominent ones are calling for Medicare for all. With the high cost of medical expenses, such promises are resonating well with voters. Indeed, the concept of a national health plan has become so popular that 75 percent of Americans support it, according to a 2018 Kaiser Health Tracking poll.

While the prospect of free health care paints a rosy scenario, it has serious drawbacks. Let’s see what we can learn from Canada and Britain, which have both had a national health system in operation for years. An examination of heath care in these countries reveals that Medicare for all is likely to be a bitter pill to swallow.

Before the issues are discussed, it should be noted that the Silver Standard News doesn’t support one political party over another. When the Republicans propose health care solutions, we will endeavor to analyze them honestly.


What Is Medicare for All?

Medicare for all, otherwise called single-payer health care, means that the government is the sole provider. In this system, most private health insurance coverage is not allowed or is restricted. The government takes control over the financing and delivery of medical services, which profoundly affects health care providers (doctors) as well as health care recipients (patients), reports The Heritage Foundation.

An example of a single-payer system in the US is the Veterans Administration, an institution associated with care rations and long waits. It presents a small snapshot of what health care would look like if the system were implemented on a national scale.


Single-Payer Health Care Results in Shortages and Long Waits

Sally Pipes, President of the Pacific Research Institute, is a well-known speaker on health care. She is a contributor to publications such as Forbes and Fortune and has been interviewed by numerous media outlets. Her eye-opening writings and interviews show that if Americans adopt a single-payer health care system, they can expect doctor shortages, less freedom, and long waits for care that can pose a danger.

In an article in Forbes, Pipes points out that lengthy wait periods to receive necessary treatment are the norm in Canada and other single-payer nations, where the governments ration care to reduce costs. “The only thing Canadian patients are ‘guaranteed’ is a spot on a waitlist,” she said. After receiving a referral from a general practitioner to a specialist, the average patient in Canada waits twenty-one weeks to get treatment. In the US, waiting a year for joint replacement surgery is unheard of; in Canada, it’s very common.

How do people fare in Britain, where the National Health Service (NHS) is seventy years old? Like the Canadian health care system, it’s plagued with serious problems. Hospitals are so overcrowded that doctors frequently treat patients in hallways. In a recent winter, 17,000 patients waited in ambulances for as long as an hour or more while space in the emergency room could be cleared for them, reports Pipes. Moreover, because of shortages, the NHS cancelled tens of thousands of surgeries, including critically important cancer procedures.

Another problem inherent in single-payer health care is shortages. “If the price of care is zero, then every patient can demand an infinite amount,” Pipes states in an article in Fortune. To keep medical expenses from skyrocketing, the government imposes strict budgetary caps that result in limitations in hospital staff and equipment. The system also results in lower compensation for doctor’s services, which leads to shortages of health care providers, as current doctors retire earlier and talented people seek professions that are more lucrative.

The long waits and shortages culminate in prolonged suffering and, at times, a threat to life. It’s telling that Americans don’t go abroad for health care, but Canadians and Brits who can afford it come to America for health care. This speaks volumes.


Single-Payer Health Care Devalues the Lives of the Elderly

In an interview on the FOX News show Life, Liberty & Levin, Pipes shares how single-payer health care devalues the lives of the elderly. In Britain, an agency under the NHS makes decisions about providing life-and-death treatment based on priority, which is determined by a monetary value placed on each person according to age. The older people are, the less value is placed on their lives, and they only get treatment if their lives are deemed greater in value than the treatment cost.

For example, if the monetary value of a 50-year-old is $200,000, and a cancer drug costs $100,000, the person gets the drug. Conversely, if the monetary value of a 65-year-old is $50,000, the person is denied the drug. “The quality adjusted value of your life is not worth the cost of taking care of you and providing that coverage,” Pipes explains. In other words, the older and sicker people are, the less likely they will be to get the treatment they need. This system is dehumanizing.


Single-Payer Health Care Is Costly

If health care is free for consumers, it begs the question, “Who is going to pay for it?” Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All Act would increase the national debt by $32 trillion over the decade, resulting in a $170 trillion debt hike over thirty years, reports the Daily Beast. Some experts say the tax increases needed to finance the program would be impoverishing. While the national cost of health care would soar, the quality would plummet.


What Are Some Alternatives and Solutions to Consider?

Finding solutions to single-payer health care will undoubtedly be challenging. In brainstorming ways of improving our current system, Pipes makes the following suggestions:

  • A wider use of Health Savings Accounts should be considered. They work like pensions because they involve putting money away every month to use on medical expenses. Contributions to these accounts are eligible for tax deductions.
  • Frivolous or unjustified medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up the cost of health care. “Doctors do practice defensive medicine because they’re afraid of being sued,” Pipes notes. Limits need to be placed on monetary damages the courts award.
  • Greater competition among insurance companies would help bring prices down. This could be fostered by eliminating mandates, which would permit consumers to get a health care plan tailored to their individual needs. To illustrate, men could buy a plan that excludes gynecological care, and women could choose a plan that excludes prostate surgery.
  • Pipes says that 6 or 7 million people, a relatively small percentage of the populace, have preexisting conditions. This pool of people needs to be cared for, but it can be done without dismantling the entire system.

America’s health care is far from perfect, yet it’s far superior to the medical care offered in countries that have a single-payer system. Any efforts to improve it should exclude methods that have proven to have devastating consequences such as restricted access to and reduced quality of care.

 

 

By Elizabeth Sinclair

Donna Hull is not your average travel blogger. Since 2008, she has been documenting her travels with photographer husband, Alan, on her blog, My Itchy Travel Feet. What makes Donna stand out is that she is an older traveler, a Boomer, in fact, and her mission is to “inspire Baby Boomers to get up off the couch and go travel.”

In 2011, Donna was one of five finalists for Best Travel Blog in the 2011 Bloggies. Her blog is syndicated at Arizona Voices Network. She is also a member of Travel Insights 100, an online panel of global travel leaders.

Donna, now professional writer, majored in journalism in college and later wrote for regional and local publications in Arizona. She’s also worked in business communications and marketing. Her interest in travel started after her children had grown and left home.

Donna set up her personal travel blog in 2008 when she and her husband decided to take a long trip together. “I was just looking for a way to communicate with family and friends about all the adventures we were having,” she said. The posts were open for anyone to read, and she started getting some public interest.

 Donna, who has written for publications such as Fifty Plus, Affordable Tours, Live Life Travel, Lovin Life After 50, and many more, says that at first, “I wasn't going to share anything really important on the blog, as I needed to save all that information for articles (which were an income source).”

Later, she realized that not posting the full story “cheated the people who came to read [my posts], as there was nothing substantial there”.

As the publishing industry—and her market for travel articles—declined in the early 2000s, Donna decided to focus more on her blog and tell better stories for her online audience. This decision has worked out very well for her.

As her audience grew, Donna quickly discovered that there were few sources of information or inspiration for Boomers on active travel. “What I found on the internet eleven years ago was depressing. Most of the information for older people was about aged care. If you saw anything about senior travel, it took a more sit-on-the-bus-and-look-out-the-window approach.” She said all her older friends were “out there four-wheeling in Jeeps, or taking hiking vacations or snorkeling. Everyone I knew took active trips, but I didn’t see anyone writing about active travel for our age group.” Donna said even now, eight years later, “it’s still underreported just how many active Baby Boomer travelers are out there.”

Donna said she tries to write in a way that is entertaining and inspiring yet also gives readers the information they need to take the same (or a similar) trip themselves.

Her audience is often looking for specific travel information: where to go, when to go, and how to get there, and they rely on Donna to provide these kinds of details. She writes a lot about national park trips within the USA as well as cruises, particularly small luxury boats. As her audience increased, and Donna realized she couldn’t take all the trips herself that people were asking about, she began to hire the occasional guest writer on her blog to cover trips she either is too busy for or lacks interest in taking.

Donna doesn’t take sponsored trips and funds her travel herself. This, she said, allows her to stay impartial and be critical.

When asked about her best advice for older travelers, she said, “Make sure your expectations are realistic” and that the activities you choose match your fitness level. Donna said she suffers from a fear of heights, so she is careful not to choose trips that involve great heights. She said travelers should look for that “sweet spot: challenge yourself but don’t do something so scary that it isn’t fun.”

She’s had a lot of interest from readers for posts about packing and what clothes to bring. When she’s on a trip, Donna takes photos of everything she wears and posts them for her readers so they have help planning their own travel wardrobe. Cruises, for example, often don’t have luggage restrictions and allow plenty of chances for travelers to dress up.

She said that many cruises have increased their active excursions in ports. “The cruise industry is just booming right now,” she said, “Cruising really appeals to Boomers, and I’m glad to see that cruise lines are offering more activities. This way, you don’t just get into a port, have an orientation, and you’re done.” She feels that by increasing the number of activities and trips onshore, cruises are adding a lot of value for their best market: Boomers.

Donna’s blog is found at https://myitchytravelfeet.com. She also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MyItchyTravelFeet.

 

 

 

Late Night

By Bill Wine

Just in case Brit Emma Thomson's uniqueness, versatility, and talent aren't already crystal clear from her roles in film such as Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, Primary Colors, Love Actually, Saving Mr. Banks, Remains of the Day, just to name a few, she also owns two Oscars and five Oscar nominations and just happens to be the only actress ever to have won an Oscar for writing (Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, 1996) while being nominated for Best Actress for the same film.

Not too shabby.

And now her charm and consummate skill are on admirable display in the TV-or-not-TV, workplace-inequality comedy-drama, Late Night, playing a TV show host with two decades of experience.

Thomson's co-star is Mindy Kaling, the film's screenwriter (her first feature-film script) and producer whose semi-autobiographical showbiz experiences inform much of the narrative.

She was, for example, the only woman writer on the American TV sitcom The Office.

Kaling, best known for The Office and TV's The Mindy Project, plays Molly Patel, a chemical plant worker who decides that what she really wants to be is a TV comedy writer. Events then conspire (and not always as persuasively as the filmmakers would like) to catapult her to the males-only writers' room of the long-running, late-in-the-evening talk show, Tonight with Katherine Newbury. The show is hosted and anchored by the legendary Katherine Newbury, played persuasively by Dame Thomson, as a British comic with a sharp tongue, unfaltering command, and a penchant for what seems like not only insensitivity but cruelty.

Because Newbury's ratings have plummeted of late—to the point where Newbury fears that she has lost the ears of the millennials in her audience, she is more than willing to listen to this lone female voice in the all-male wilderness. It also happens to belong to the only person of color on the show—even if all those staff males refer to her as the "diversity hire."

Meanwhile, Katherine continues to be annoyed at being accused, as she has been, given her all-white-male writing staff, of wearing generational blinders and of being a woman who hates women.

It's in this environment that Molly soon becomes the primary mover and shaker on Katherine's staff as Katherine not only works on changing her own surface image but also comes to question some of her attitudes and assumptions. She’s under the gun to make changes quickly—her bosses are looking to replace her.

That's when Katherine and Molly, the two feminist principals—and principled feminists from separate generations—team up to find a voice that speaks to and includes the youthful portion of their audience.

Thomson, who exhibits an acerbic wit that occasionally borders on the sadistic, also manages to be touching and sympathetic at the same time by way of her praiseworthy warts-and-all portrait. Kaling holds her own acting opposite Thomson, with the former's audience-friendly screenplay serving as an accessible workplace satire as well as a backstage dramedy.

Pity, then, that although tangentially connected motifs and subplots are liberally referenced—for example, the Me Too movement and affirmative action—they are only minimally explored, leaving us wishing that the script itself had the same bite as Katherine's standup.

Canadian director Nisha Granatra (Chutney Popcorn, Fast Food High, Cake, and lots of television shows) is unable to get the laughs that audiences may crave or expect in what appears to be a comedy, but her film also delivers a bonus of poignancy late in the game when it focuses on being resonant and absorbing drama.

Thus, the comfortable combination of Kaling's authoritative and affecting script and Thomson's precise and three-dimensional delivery render Late Night short of inspiring but long on watchability—rewarding viewing, late at night or any time.

 

 

 

 

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 Montana Nebraska Nevada
Does the State define an elder? Yes. Person 60 years or older Yes. Older Person. 60 yrs or older No. Just Vulnerable Adults. Yes. Older Person. 60 years or older
State laws protect all elders against financial exploitation? Yes   Yes No. Just Vulnerable Adults. Yes
Are there penalties for financial exploitation of all elders? Yes. Divided into Classes of Felony Yes No. Just Vulnerable Adults Yes
Is there a duty to report financial exploitation of all elders No No No. Just Vulnerable Adults 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 No 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 means:
(a) the unreasonable use of an older person or a person with a developmental disability or of a power of attorney, conservatorship, or guardianship with regard to an older person or a person with a developmental disability in order to obtain control of or to divert to the advantage of another the ownership, use, benefit, or possession of or interest in the person's money, assets, or property by means of deception, duress, menace, fraud, undue influence, or intimidation with the intent or result of permanently depriving the older person or person with a developmental disability of the ownership, use, benefit, or possession of or interest in the person's money, assets, or property;
(b) an act taken by a person who has the trust and confidence of an older person or a person with a developmental disability to obtain control of or to divert to the advantage of another the ownership, use, benefit, or possession of or interest in the person's money, assets, or property by means of deception, duress, menace, fraud, undue influence, or intimidation with the intent or result of permanently depriving the older person or person with a developmental disability of the ownership, use, benefit, or possession of or interest in the person's money, assets, or property;
(c) the unreasonable use of an older person or a person with a developmental disability or of a power of attorney, conservatorship, or guardianship with regard to an older person or a person with a developmental disability done in the course of an offer or sale of insurance or securities in order to obtain control of or to divert to the advantage of another the ownership, use, benefit, or possession of the person's money, assets, or property by means of deception, duress, menace, fraud, undue influence, or intimidation with the intent or result of permanently depriving the older person or person with a developmental disability of the ownership, use, benefit, or possession of the person's money, assets, or property.


Financial Exploitation means  means the wrongful or unauthorized taking, withholding, appropriation, conversion, control, or use of money, funds, securities, assets, or any other property of a vulnerable adult or senior adult by any person by means of undue influence, breach of a fiduciary relationship, deception, extortion, intimidation, force or threat of force, isolation, or any unlawful means or by the breach of a fiduciary duty by the guardian, conservator, agent under a power of attorney, trustee, or any other fiduciary of a vulnerable adult or senior adult. Financial exploitation means any act taken by a person who has the trust and confidence of an older  person or a vulnerable person or any use of the power of attorney or guardianship of an  older person or a vulnerable person to:
(a) Obtain control, through deception, intimidation or undue influence, over the older  person's or vulnerable person's money, assets or property with the intention of  permanently depriving the older person or vulnerable person of the ownership, use,  benefit or possession of his or her money, assets or property; or
(b) Convert money, assets or property of the older person or vulnerable person with the  intention of permanently depriving the older person or vulnerable person of the  ownership, use, benefit or possession of his or her money, assets or property.

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. 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