August 25, 2019

Registration Still Open for 18th JD Fraud Prevention and Safety Summit

Registration is still open for the 18th Judicial District & AARP ElderWatch Fraud Prevention and Safety Summit. This free informative event will take place on May 15, 2014 at the Parker Arts, Culture, & Events Center. Registration is open through May 7, 2014. UPDATE: Registration extended until May 13, 2014. You can register by phone at (877)  926-8300 or click the link below. 

Click here to register

An informational flyer about the event is available here for download and is also reprinted below. Forward this information to friends, family, and coworkers – it will be a great event.

Summit Registration Flyer

Don’t miss this terrific informative event! Register today.

Senior Law Day: The Village Movement and Your Community

Denver Senior Law Day will be held Saturday, July 28 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. This annual educational seminar presents programs specifically designed for seniors in the Colorado community. This seminar will provide attendees with important and useful information on many issues facing our growing senior citizen population. If you are a senior, an adult child with an aging parent, or a caregiver, this is one day you cannot afford to miss. Every attendee will receive a free copy of the 2012 Senior Law Handbook. Mark your calendar today for this excellent and informative event. Click here for more information.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Ready for some refreshing news on the challenges of an aging America?  Look no further than the surging Village Movement. Across the United States, Villages are sprouting up like well-watered tufts of grass, defying an otherwise arid landscape. Within the past two years, this innovative, community-style approach to keeping older adults in their own homes has grown by 80%. According to Village to Village Network, a national advocacy group, 90 Villages are now open and operating, with another 125 in development.

A Village may grow to serve 100 to 400 members or more, typically age 55 and up. Members live in their own homes, which may be located anywhere within the defined membership service area. Most Villages are local nonprofit organizations (IRS 501(c)(3)) with a board of directors who live in the community. The Village Movement was pioneered by Boston’s Beacon Hill Village, founded in 2001.

Village membership offers convenient, one-call access to volunteer services or vendor referrals. Does the member need a ride to the doctor or to the beauty shop? A day out to go shopping with friends? How about a volunteer to fix a leaky faucet, or to climb a ladder and clean out roof gutters?  When a member needs a reliable contractor – for example, a painter, plumber, or lawn service – the Village can suggest vendors from a vetted list.

Social connection is a powerful advantage to Village membership.  Informal get-togethers and educational activities stimulate and strengthen friendships. “Neighbors helping neighbors” is much more than a tagline; nationally, about 60% of Village members serve as volunteers too.  Certainly, this high level of participation is influenced by the can-do will-do spirit of younger members, who are still in their 50s, 60s, or 70s.  However, it also reflects the passion of members in their 80s and 90s to stay active – teaching, mentoring, leading, or whatever they may choose to do.  Community is the heart and soul of a Village.

In brief, Villages can help older adults to deal successfully with three of biggest obstacles to living independently in their own homes.

  1. The Need for Transportation — Driving may eventually become a challenge, so it’s harder to get to the doctor, pharmacy, grocery store, etc.
  2. The Risk of Falling — Injuries due to falls make it necessary for some to leave their homes for assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.
  3. Social Isolation and Loneliness — People need to be around other people, to live in community and maintain a sense of purpose.

A recent study highlights the effectiveness of a Village in helping older adults to live safely at home.  According to One Call Club in Knoxville, Tennessee, 80% of Village members will avoid moving to an assisted living residence or nursing home for at least one year. With nursing home costs running around $200 per day, it doesn’t take a math whiz to see that $600 per year for household membership in a Village is a bargain. (For an individual Village membership, the national average is $460 per year.)

The success of Villages may be attributed to several factors: reduced risk of injury or accident, healthier eating, a brighter emotional outlook, and a renewed sense of purpose. For all these reasons and more, Villages are a promising, cost-effective option for older adults who want to stay in their own homes, in a community of neighbors helping neighbors.

Arnie Snyder is owner of Elder Life Advisors and co-founder of the first two Colorado Villages: Washington Park Cares (now, A Little Help), Denver, and Columbine Community Village, Littleton. He is a member of the National Advisory Committee for Village to Village Network, LLC.

Registration Now Open for Denver Senior Law Day and 2012 Senior Law Handbook Available Online

The 2012 Senior Law Handbook is now online! Designed to provide aging adults and their caregivers and families with useful information on subjects relevant to their legal concerns, it is only possible with the generous donation of time and intellect by our volunteer authors. CBA-CLE would like to thank all of the authors for their contributions and willingness to share their expertise with Colorado’s older adults. The 2012 Handbook includes 33 chapters on a variety  of topics ranging from Social Security Benefits to What Seniors Need to Know About Facebook.

You can review and download individual chapters by clicking here.

And, you’ll receive a free copy of the handbook when you attend Senior Law Day in Denver on July 28, 2012. Registration is now open for this annual educational seminar, which presents programs specifically designed for seniors in the Colorado community. This seminar will provide attendees with important and useful information on many issues facing our growing senior citizen population.

If you are a senior, an adult child with an aging parent, or a caregiver, this is one day you cannot afford to miss. Mark your calendar today for this excellent and informative event and click here to register now!

Colorado’s Justice Crisis

It’s a perfect storm.  Although overused, that metaphor so accurately captures what is happening with respect to Colorado’s legal aid delivery system that it is difficult to avoid.  Just as in a perfect storm, a rare combination of circumstances has resulted in a crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

Colorado Legal Services (CLS) is the only program in the state that provides free legal assistance (advice, brief service, and full representation) in civil matters to low-income individuals and families in every Colorado county.  With 14 offices around the state, it operates like a legal emergency room, serving low income Coloradans at greatest risk and in greatest need.  In 2010 alone, CLS provided assistance to over 11,000 indigent clients facing serious legal problems that directly implicated their health, safety, stability and sufficiency.  With few exceptions, CLS clients live at or below 125% of the federal poverty guideline (which translates to an annual income of $13,613 for an individual and $27,938 for a family of four).  They include senior citizens, victims of domestic violence, veterans, persons with mental and physical disabilities, and other particularly vulnerable Coloradans.

Even before the recession, the need for legal aid among the poor outstripped available resources.  A study in 2005 found that for every client served by CLS, at least one person seeking help was turned away because of insufficient resources.  The Great Recession and its aftermath have made the situation dramatically worse, as more and more low-income Coloradans experience the significant legal problems that accompany acute economic distress and prolonged unemployment.  With the deterioration of the labor and housing markets, rising fuel and food costs, and depleted savings, more Coloradans are facing eviction, foreclosure, delinquent child support, hunger, financial distress, bankruptcy, and domestic violence.  In addition, prolonged un- or under-employment means that the number of people eligible for legal aid continues to rise.  The most recent Census Bureau survey found that there are now over 750,000 Coloradans who are income-eligible for services.

Amidst this rising tide of need, CLS is experiencing devastating funding losses that threaten to compromise its ability to meet even the most serious legal needs of the poor.  Federal funding, with strong bipartisan support, has long been a financial foundation for legal aid.  Yet, notwithstanding the increased need for legal services and the value of those services in stabilizing families in crisis, just before Thanksgiving, Congress approved a budget bill for 2012 that includes a 14.85% cut in funding for legal aid programs such as CLS.  This translates into a loss for Colorado of over $605,000.

This latest reduction in federal funding comes on top of other funding losses suffered over the last two years totaling nearly $1 million.  Most notable among these is the drop in funding from COLTAF, the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation.  The extended period of very low interest rates that we are experiencing (now expected to continue until at least mid-2013) has decimated COLTAF’s revenue, which is comprised solely of the interest earned on lawyers’ trust accounts, and although COLTAF has a reserve, built in better times for just such times as these, it is rapidly being depleted.  Even with the reserve, COLTAF funding for CLS has dropped by $630,000 over the course of the last two years, and COLTAF is projecting another cut to CLS of at least $520,000 in 2012.

Also important is a loss of $165,000 in state funding for legal services for victims of domestic violence.  Whether the state will be in a position to restore that funding for fiscal year 2013 remains to be seen, but an actual increase in the state appropriation, and certainly one anywhere near the magnitude necessary to cover for other losses, is not in the cards, given the state’s current budget constraints.  All told, by the end of 2012, CLS will likely be down over $2 million, or more than 20% of its funding just two years ago.

All of these funding losses mean that CLS, already woefully understaffed, will shrink further, which will necessarily reduce the legal assistance available to low-income Coloradans, regardless of their legal need.  Already, where there were six CLS lawyers doing family law cases in the Denver metro area, which has an indigent population of nearly 300,000, now there will be only five;  where there were four lawyers handling evictions and other housing issues, three will have to suffice; and where there were three doing foreclosure defense, now there will be two.  Other parts of the state are faring no better.  In Grand Junction, with an indigent population in Mesa County of about 17,000, there are now only two CLS lawyers, where formerly there were three.  The CLS offices in Colorado Springs and Alamosa have each lost a paralegal, and the Durango office has lost the sole member of its support staff, leaving just three lawyers and a paralegal to serve the entire southwest corner of the state, including the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservations.  This serious understaffing is only going to get worse.

Bar-sponsored pro bono programs alone cannot be expected to pick up this much slack, particularly since they too are suffering from cuts in their COLTAF funding.  Nor can the court system, also suffering from inadequate funding, be expected to seamlessly absorb ever larger numbers of pro se litigants, especially if timely legal assistance would have eliminated the need for them to be there in the first place.  It is true that to maximize access for those in greatest need, a well-functioning civil legal aid delivery system must have well-managed pro bono programs; it must have a legal community committed to providing pro bono services to the poor; it must have self-help resources that make courts and administrative agencies accessible for those who are proceeding pro se; and it must maximize its use of technology to improve access in rural areas and otherwise.  But the backbone of any well-functioning system must be an adequately-funded, staffed legal aid program, with lawyers and paralegals, who are expert in dealing with the problems unique to low-income populations, and who are available on demand when low-income families are in crisis and time is of the essence.

The legal profession has a singular responsibility to respond to this crisis in our civil justice system.  CLS is the place of last resort for low-income families, the disabled, veterans and military families, and seniors who are facing serious civil legal problems.  If turned away, these Coloradans are effectively denied the rights, remedies, and protections afforded by the law, sometimes with devastating consequences – lethal injuries at the hands of an abusive spouse, a home lost to an unscrupulous lender, life on the street because of a wrongful denial of disability benefits.  As lawyers, we understand that the rule of law is in jeopardy when the protections of the law are not available to increasingly large numbers of our most vulnerable citizens.

The leadership of lawyers – whether in private practice or in-house corporate counsel, large firm or solo practice, government or nonprofit – is more important than ever in fulfilling our nation’s promise of equal justice for all.  The effect of CLS’ funding losses is calculable in terms of dollars lost, staff positions eliminated, and additional applicants for service turned away.  But the actual impact on the lives of low-income Coloradans, the damage to our communities, the tarnishing of our nation’s fundamental promise of equal justice, and the risk to our civil justice system and the rule of law is immeasurable.

Here are some things you can do to help:

  1. Give generously to the Legal Aid Foundation (http://www.legalaidfoundation.org/).
  2. Take a pro bono case from Metro Volunteer Lawyers (http://www.metrovolunteerlawyers.org/).
  3. Speak to your elected representatives (federal and state) about the importance of public funding for civil justice.
  4. Speak with your banker to ensure that the interest rate on your COLTAF account is as generous as possible.
Diana Poole is the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Foundation, which raises money for Colorado Legal Services, and COLTAF, which administers Colorado’s IOLTA program. She is also a member of the Colorado Access to Justice Commission.

13th Annual Senior Law Day a Resounding Success

On Saturday, July 23, nearly 900 seniors, adult children, and caregivers attended the Thirteenth Annual Senior Law Day at the Merchandise Mart in Denver. Senior Law Day offers the public the opportunity to hear from experienced elder law attorneys and other professionals involved in elder care issues.  This year, there were twenty-eight different short, informative workshops to choose from that helped seniors learn how to better manage family and financial issues and prepare for retirement.

The tremendous number of resources and educational workshops available not only benefit seniors in our community, but also adult children and caregivers who are helping aging parents, relatives, and friends.

New workshops this year included “DNR Orders, Advance Directives and End of Life Issues,” “Planning for Your Pets,” “Dealing with Trusts & Trustees,” and “Nontraditional Domestic Relationships.”

Attorney Carl Glatstein, the program chair for the event, described the event as way for attorneys and other professionals to provide “relevant and important information to seniors and present it in a way that is easy for people to understand.”

In addition the informative seminars, there were nearly 50 organizations and companies in the Exhibitor area that provided information and resources relevant to seniors.

Much of the content presented at Senior Law Day also can be found in the comprehensive 2011 Senior Law Handbook, distributed to all who attend the event.  The handbook is written by Colorado attorneys and professionals who donate their time to provide this valuable resource, published by the Colorado Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (CBA-CLE).

Senior Law Day couldn’t happen without the incredible number of volunteers who not only helped during the day of the event, but also with organizing, planning, setup, and clean up. There were more than 70 volunteers from the legal community who dedicated their time to the event – thanks so much for helping to make the day so successful!

The event continues to grow each year and Boulder County and Larimer County are each holding a Senior Law Day in their communities on August 13.  Jefferson County held their event in June and other counties around the state will be holding events in the fall. Click here to view information about the upcoming Senior Law Day events around the state.

Senior Law Day is co-sponsored by the Elder Law Section and the Trust & Estate Section of the Colorado Bar Association, and CBA-CLE. A $10 contribution is suggested but not required to attend the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Denver again next year!

Click here to view more pictures from the event.

Senior Law Day Featured on 9News LawLine9

Colorado’s 9News LawLine9 had attorneys on hand to answer questions about elder law and estate planning this afternoon. Among them was Carl Glatstein, Program Chair of Senior Law Day. Glatstein spoke to viewers about Saturday’s event, which provides invaluable legal information to seniors, as well as their adult children, caregivers, relatives, and friends.

Senior Law Day is entering its thirteenth year by providing twenty-eight short and informative workshops to choose from that will help attendees learn how to better manage their family and financial issues and prepare for retirement. Attendees will also receive a free copy of the comprehensive 2011 Senior Law Handbook.

New workshops this year include:

  • DNR Orders
  • Advance Directives and End of Life Issues
  • Planning for Your Pets
  • Dealing with Trusts & Trustees
  • Nontraditional Domestic Relationships

Click here for a full list of workshops.

Senior Law Day will be held in Denver on Saturday, July 23, 2011. A $10 contribution is suggested, but not required to attend the event. Registration is requested. To register, call (303) 860-0608 or dial toll-free (888) 860-2531. Registration is also available online at www.seniorlawday.org.

Not in Denver? Don’t worry! Boulder County and Larimer County are each holding a Senior Law Day in their communities on August 13.

Click here to watch the 9News interview with Carl Glatstein and to read the full story.

Wear Purple on Wednesday for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

It’s a sad fact that many elders fall victim to frauds, scams, and other forms of elder abuse. Every year, thousands of people are victimized by loved ones, people of trust, and complete strangers. In Colorado alone, more than 6,000 incidents of adult abuse, exploitation, or neglect are reported each year, with countless more going unreported.

This Wednesday, June 15, help support the elders in our community by raising awareness at the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Special Event at the Greek Amphitheater in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. From 10 am to noon, join seniors, their caretakers, and those wanting to learn more about the issues facing our seniors in this special event, featuring:

  • Denver leaders committed to stopping elder abuse
  • Service providers offering resource information
  • Attendees helping to tie giant purple ribbons and awareness pins around trees in Civic Center Park
  • Planting of a dedication tree to remember victims of elder abuse

Free parking will be available at the McNichols Building parking lot at the corner of Bannock and Colfax. Click here for more information.

Wear purple to show your support and come help bring awareness to this important issue!

And don’t forget, you can continue your commitment to seniors next month at Senior Law Day. The popular annual seminar provided by CBA-CLE offers programs specifically for elders in the Colorado community. This one-day event presents a comprehensive view of the issues facing our growing senior citizen population, educating them, their caretakers, and other attendees on a vast range of topics, including elder abuse, assisted living and nursing home issues, fraud prevention, end of life issues, estate planning, elder independence, health care, social security, non-traditional relationships, and even pets!

Join us for Senior Law Day in Denver on Saturday, July 23, from 8 am to 1 pm. Registration and more information about the event can be found here.

Not in Denver? Don’t worry. You can find other Senior Law Day events across the front range this summer. Click here for more information.

Resource: 2010 Medicaid, Medicare Updates Available

If you own CBA-CLE’s Elder Law Handbook, you may be interested in how recent changes to Medicaid and Medicare affect your clientele. The forthcoming 2010 Senior Law Handbook contains important updates to these topics, which we are making available for download here and here.