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News Our disability news section will provide any disability related news, events or announcements about people, government, equipment, culture, and etc.

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6/6/2012 12:30:30 PM - Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
In previous generations, it was a given that the “young folks” would respect their elders. Sad to say, that’s not necessarily the case anymore. In fact, according to a report by the National Research Council, somewhere between three and five percent of the elderly population might be suffering abuse – most often from caregivers or family members.

It’s a hard statistic to get a handle on, because so much of it goes unreported. Some elderly victims have dementia or are housebound. They may be physically unable to report the abuse or too confused to understand what has occurred. It is estimated that for every incident of elder abuse that is reported, there are five more that are not.

Often, the elderly person is frightened. They may not know who to trust or worry that no one will believe them. Many times the logical person to tell is the very person committing the abuse.

We as family, caregivers, friends or bystanders need to be vigilant for signs of abuse. Just because our elders aren’t saying that something is wrong, doesn’t mean that it isn’t.

Elder abuse can fall into any one of a variety of categories – physical, verbal, emotional, financial or sexual. Even neglect is a type of abuse. Here are a few things to look for.

• Physical abuse – Watch for signs of bruises or sudden injuries. You may see actual evidence of this abuse or you may get calls about the senior going to the doctor or hospital. Falls are common among older people, but an unusual number of injuries may mean something else is going on. Physical abuse can also result from the use of restraints or drugs that alter their physical and mental wellbeing.

• Verbal and emotional abuse – These go hand-in-hand and can be much more insidious than the more obvious physical abuse. But when a family member or caregiver treats the elder poorly, the effects are every bit as serious. Is there anyone who frequently yells at the senior? Speaking condescendingly, sneering, taunting, or name-calling is all signs of verbal abuse. Watch and listen to the senior when caregivers are present. While the abuse may only happen when they are alone, watch for how the senior reacts when various people are present. Do they shrink back or become silent? These may be signs that they are frightened or intimidated.

• Financial abuse – A dwindling bank account would be an obvious sign of financial abuse, but some signs are less overt. Watch out for “new” insurance agents or accountants or “friends” who are given access to the elder’s finances. Be wary of any sudden changes in Power of Attorney or anyone pushing the person to change their will.

• Sexual abuse – Any unwanted sexual contact with a senior is sexual abuse, but also be aware of anyone showing porn to the senior or asking them to undress inappropriately.

• Neglect – In a category all its own, neglect is a serious and prevalent form of abuse among the elderly population. Instead of too much attention, the senior is getting little or none. Are they left to lie in their beds all day and night (sometimes showing signs of bedsores as a result)? Are they fed regularly? If they wear adult diapers, are these changed on a consistent basis? Does the senior have clean clothes that are changed daily? Are they encouraged to interact with other residents or caregivers?
Often seniors can’t – or don’t – recognize abuse. And when they do, they still may not report it. Knowing these warning signs can help to keep our seniors safe.


1/20/2012 2:19:59 PM - Judge grants preliminary injunction, stopping IHSS across-the-board cuts from going forward
OAKLAND—January 19, 2012—Judge Claudia Wilken today issued a preliminary injunction, barring the State of California from going forward with the 20% cuts in home care hours for hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities. She had previously issued a Temporary Restraining Order on December 1, stopping the cuts until today’s hearing. The Judge certified the plaintiffs as a class.
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10/10/2011 11:50:03 AM - Good News For Travelers With Disabilities
Under the proposed air travel rule, airlines would be required to make their Web sites accessible over a two-year period, and ensure that their ticket agents do the same. If passed, the requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers with Web sites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United States. Small ticket agents would be exempt, according to the Department.
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10/10/2011 11:04:01 AM - Some Myths About Social Security and Medicare
It's the season of political misinterpretations and outright lies. Websites like Politifact try to sort things out. But people still seem willing to believe the most negative things about two of our most durable social programs - Social Security and Medicare. Are they really in terrible trouble and will disappear soon?
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10/10/2011 10:57:26 AM - Eye-controlled wheelchair
A TINY movement of the eye is all that is needed to control the motion of an automated wheelchair developed at the University of Bradford. The device should offer a much greater degree of independence for severely handicapped people, but the technology could also be used in the home to control televisions, lights or household appliances.
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9/12/2011 2:17:18 PM -  New App Can ID Complete Stranger's Facebook and Social Security No.
Google and Carnegie Mellon University have created a system capable of alarming invasions of privacy –The application's name is PittPatt and it allows a complete stranger to find your identity -- your real identity -- in under 60 seconds. Here's how it works. A client code calls the PittPatt interface with a picture it's taken. PittPatt jumps online and compares that picture to millions of images in Facebook and in Google Inc.'s (GOOG) image search, using advanced facial recognition technology. And within 60 seconds, it can identify an individual.
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9/12/2011 1:43:02 PM - Wheelchair is no obstacle for this working chef
Working on the line in a kitchen is a blur of heat and movement. Pans clatter, people talk over each other and food order tickets string across the station like a pennant of demanding flags. Executive Chef Rob Hodge does it without the use of his legs.
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9/12/2011 1:30:26 PM - Taking Care of Disabled Heirs – When Loved Ones Need Help, Estate Planning Can be Tricky
Deciding how to leave your assets to your kids is tricky enough. If your adult child has a chronic disability, the task is much more complicated. The issue affects many families: According to U.S. Census data, 12% of the population has a severe mental or physical disability.
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9/12/2011 1:17:51 PM - New Retirement Plan: Double Dipping into Social Security and Unemployment
Now there’s a new way to fund your retirement: collect unemployment benefits and Social Security at the same time. Never mind that it flies in the face of logic to be both unemployed and retired. You’re one or the other. Yet a growing number of folks who are past age 62 and out of work are double dipping. It’s yet another government budget absurdity.
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9/12/2011 1:14:27 PM - Social Security benefits? Not for this daughter
Social Security benefits from deceased dad won't go to daughter conceived after his death through artificial insemination. Appeals court rules that she didn't meet Social Security eligibility requirements.
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9/12/2011 1:10:38 PM - Judge: Hollister violated the rights of customers in wheelchairs
U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel ruled today that the center front entrances of the Hollister stores at Park Meadows Mall and the Orchard Town Center mall violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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7/10/2011 1:34:00 PM - Americans with Disabilities Act is alive and well, but more is needed
I will never forget the look on the woman's face as she looked back at her husband walking behind me. Her look said "Why aren't you up here with me? Just get around her like I did!" And she continued the sheer look of disgust back at him until the aisle way we were walking through opened up enough that he could comfortably get around me to catch up with where she was in the line.
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7/10/2011 1:26:22 PM - Motherhood matters, even if you are a mom in a wheelchair
PROVO — Overcoming limitations and breaking down boundaries is what Jessica Frischknecht’s life has been all about. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, having no use of her legs, and limited use of her arms, she’s a sophomore at BYU studying graphic design and print journalism and is writing a book.
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7/10/2011 1:05:10 PM - Higher disability risk for adopted kids, data show
Adopted children are three times more likely to develop physical and mental health disabilities than kids raised by their biological parents, U.S. researchers found. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/07/MNGD1K7CKI.DTL#ixzz1RjcKGzKu
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7/10/2011 12:58:27 PM - Carper concerned about Inspector Gen. report on Medicare wheelchair payments
A report released yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Inspector General reveals that over half of the payments approved for power wheelchairs did NOT meet the standards required for payment, and over 60 percent of the approvals for those wheelchairs either weren’t medically necessary or lacked enough documentation.
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7/10/2011 12:51:14 PM - Apps, iPads help workers with disabilities
Jonathan Avila uses his iPad in ways most people might not realize are possible: The device reads e-mail to him while he's traveling to work, tells him which way to walk when he is lost, and even lets him know if there's a sidewalk on the other side of the street. Avila needs these features because he's visually impaired. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/06/BULS1K6TCA.DTL#ixzz1RjYoptku
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6/2/2011 11:54:58 AM - Opinion: Helping the disabled hold jobs is a wise public investment
In this challenging time, state funds need to provide an effective return on investment. Cuts to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) continue to threaten job placement programs that get individuals with developmental disabilities employed -- and when these cuts occur, we increase these individuals' reliance on state funding.
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6/2/2011 11:08:30 AM - ‘Sighted’ wheelchair gets test drive
Research on an electric wheelchair that can sense its environment and transmit information to a visually impaired person has been tested at Luleå University of Technology. Daniel Innala Ahlmark, a prospective graduate student in the research project, and himself visually impaired, made the first public test, according to ScienceDaily.
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6/2/2011 11:05:43 AM - 'Wheelz' on fire at Nitro Circus
Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham not only flips a catastrophic negative into a positive, he double back flips it. Confined to a wheelchair because of a spinal birth defect, the 19-year-old Las Vegan has ridden that wheelchair to extreme-sports stardom and a prominent slot in the first Nitro Circus Live tour.
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4/27/2011 12:27:12 PM - Revolutionary Technique Helps Chicago Children Overcome Learning Disabilities
Katherine Bald is an organizational wiz. The 13-year-old manages school projects in color-coded folders, keeps all homework assignments in separate binders, and carefully divides long-term assignments into smaller, less intimidating "chunks."
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