The Green Party of California believes that the Elderly must be treated with respect and dignity and with full civil rights.
The Elderly (age 65 or older) are becoming more important as life expectancy increases. The Green Party of California believes that the Elderly must be treated with respect and dignity and with full civil rights. The special needs of disabled Elderly are also covered in the platform plank on the Rights of the Physically or Mentally Challenged and Mentally Ill.
Physical and financial abuse and neglect of the Elderly are growing problems in the community and in Licensed Care Facilities. The Elderly are vulnerable to abuse by their own families, caregivers, licensed care facilities, court-appointed conservators, and by people selling insurance and investment opportunities.
Many seniors do not have access to affordable health care and prescription medication. Many belong to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) who fail to provide equal access to medical care and to durable medical equipment. Medicare D, the Medicare prescription drug program, fails to provide the Elderly with guaranteed access to their prescription medication. The Green Party believes universal health care is the ultimate solution to this problem.
The Green Party supports policies that maintain full civil rights for the Elderly who have unimpaired mental capability, irrespective of physical condition:
Allow the Elderly with adequate eyesight and physical coordination to drive motor vehicles.
Provide financial assistance for indigent Elderly to give them adequate income to provide for their basic needs.
Require two medical declarations establishing lack of capacity by appropriate medical specialists (e.g psychiatrists, neurologists, neuro-psychiatrists, gero-psychiatrists) to
activate Durable Powers of Attorney and Successor Trustee powers.
Allow mentally competent Elderly people the right to ask their physician for assistance with ending their lives in the event of a terminal medical condition by passing into
California law the 1997 (revised in 1999) Oregon Death with Dignity Act articles 127,800 to 127,897 (upheld in 2005 by the U.S. Supreme Court).
The Green Party supports policies that provide for the health and safety of the Elderly:
Require caregiver agencies to be licensed and to set minimum performance standards for staff.
Provide public access to reports of violations of State Health and Safety Regulations of licensed care facilities (board and care, assisted living and nursing home facilities) by their respective licensing agencies. The 1999 California law relative to nursing homes to do this must be enforced, and expanded in scope.
Require notification of health and safety violations to residents of cited licensed care facilities and to the persons responsible for overseeing the residents' care (family members, conservators, probate court investigators, those holding powers under Durable Powers of Attorney)
Regulate Private Professional Conservators of the Elderly by establishing a State Conservatorship Licensing Agency with regulations setting forth minimum performance standards and malpractice and disciplinary procedures.
Improve Court Supervision of all Conservatorships:
All Conservators (Public Guardian, Private Professional and members of the public serving as conservators) must be under court supervision to ensure the safety and well-being of the conservatee.
Probate Court Investigators must investigate appropriateness of Temporary Conservatorships as well as the appropriateness of the General Conservatorships.
Probate Court Investigators must conduct visits on at least on an annual basis to investigate the continued necessity for the conservatorship, the management of the conservatee's physical and medical care (for conservatorships of the person) and the management of the conservatee's estate (for conservatorships of the estate).
Probate Court Investigators must investigate Citizen Initiated Complaints in a timely manner.
Hold all conservators, licensed care facilities, caregiver agencies, home health and hospice agencies financially responsible for demonstrable abuse or incompetence relative
to their conservatees.
Protect staff whistle-blowers who report incompetent care and/or abusive treatment of elderly persons.
Establish Domestic Violence programs, shelters, and services that are specifically designed for elderly men and women that can accommodate both the physically and mentally fit and the physically and/or cognitively impaired.
Provide the elderly with access to affordable medical care, prescription medications, and durable medical equipment until Universal Health Care for all persons is enacted.
Require Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) that accept Medicare Assignment to provide access to services that are, at a minimum, equal to those provided for under the Medicare Regulations.
Set up a system of substantial fines and penalties for failure to provide equal access to services and durable medical equipment.
Require Medicare D prescription drug program to provide full coverage for prescription drugs until such time as Universal Health Care is established.
Eliminate Medicare D gaps in prescription drug coverage.
Require Medicare D prescription drug programs to retain prescription medications in their formularies for a period equal to the length of the enrollment period of elderly patients unless the medication is decertified by the FDA.
Require a notice of intent to remove a prescription drug from the program formulary a minimum of 60 days prior to termination of the established enrollment period.
Make accommodation for infirm Elderly when they are in public e.g. specialized accommodation on Public Transport for those using wheelchairs, walkers, or other assistive devices; longer walk signals at pedestrian crossings, more stop signs at intersections, appropriate construction and maintenance of sidewalks and their entries, and more understanding and patience by officers of the law and the general public.
Protect Elderly investors:
Require strict regulation of sales to the Elderly of insurance and investment options that have delayed maturity dates of more than 2 years such as annuities and bonds.
Establish a 40 day " cooling off" period allowing the purchaser to cancel the sales contract without penalty.
Require that sales to persons who have been diagnosed with cognitive impairment prior to the date of sale can be voided with full refund and without penalty.
Provide better environments for the Elderly:
Establish retirement homes, senior centers, activity centers, and activities for the Elderly
Use Elderly volunteers for mentoring and teaching purposes
Provide opportunities for the Elderly to use their wealth of experience