During national Elder Law Month, which is every May, elder law attorneys across the country offer public seminars, Elder Law clinics, and other activities designed to educate the public. To commemorate Elder Law Month in Indiana, the Indiana State Bar Association’s Probate, Trust, & Real Property Section (“PTRP Section”) and Elder Law Section, in conjunction with local Area Agencies on Aging, sponsored and presented informational programs on Advance Directives to Hoosier senior citizens. The programs were free and open to the public throughout the state.
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys established May as Elder Law Month as a way to educate seniors and their families about their legal options in dealing with long-term care planning, estate planning, Medicaid, Medicare, elder abuse and fraud, and other important issues. Elder Law Month endeavors to educate seniors and empower them to address these legal issues and find legal services and resources.
America’s population age 65 and over numbered approximately 44.7 million in 2013, an increase of 8.8 million, or 24.7%, since 2003. The number of Americans aged 45-64 – who will reach 65 over the next two decades -increased by 20.7% between 2003 and 2013. Elder Law Month emphasizes the importance of planning for the health and legal needs of an increasingly older population.
Programs this year incorporated the relatively new Indiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST Form), which became effective July 1, 2013. Indiana’s POST Form can be used by a qualified person, who after consultation with a healthcare provider, can make advanced decisions concerning use of CPR, medical interventions, antibiotics, and artificially administered nutrition. A qualified person is one with: 1) an advanced, chronic, and progressive illness or frailty; 2) an injury, illness, or disease from which there will be no recovery and death will occur within a short period of time without the provision of life prolonging procedures; or 3) a medical condition such that resuscitation from cardiac or pulmonary failure would be unsuccessful or result in repeated cardiac or pulmonary failure resulting in death. More information on Indiana’s POST form can be found at www.indianapost.org.
Attorney volunteers from the ISBA’s PTRP Section and Elder Law Section coordinated and presented programs in at least fifty counties throughout Indiana to hundreds of seniors at venues such as libraries, senior centers, community rooms, and hospitals. Some attorneys, such as John Longnaker (Madison County – Anderson and Pendleton) and Terri Pollett-Hinkle (Grant County and Blackford County) gave multiple presentations.
In addition to the attorney volunteers who gave presentations, members of the PTRP Section and Elder Law Section also provided materials for the presentations, recruited presenters, and coordinated with local Area Agencies on Aging to schedule programs. Keith P. Huffman and Christopher L. Nusbaum created a Powerpoint presentation titled “Advance Health Care Planning in Indiana: What You Need to Know”, which was distributed to each attorney presenter to use in developing their own presentations. The following attorneys each served as coordinators and recruiters in regions throughout the state: Connie L. Bauswell, Douglas D. German, Sr., Keith P. Huffman, Dori Brauman Moore, Monica Doerr, Jennifer Terry, Michael D. Wilhelm, Terri Pollett-Hinkle, Tricia Tanoos, Rebecca Geyer, Crystal Francis, Chris Holly, E. Paige Freitag, Doug Denmure, Adrienne Flannery, Jeff Hawkins, Jennifer Hawkins, Peggy Timmel, Adair Brent, and David Smith, Jr. These are just some of the attorneys who dedicated their efforts and valuable time to help make the ISBA’s celebration of Elder Law Month a success.