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Aging and the Law:  What Every Professional Needs to Know

Learning Objectives/Competencies:

A.  Substitute Decision-Making, Consent & Capacity

1. When Your Client's Capacity is in Doubt.How can I help and what do I need to know?

This session will consider key ethical and legal obligations of professionals when they suspect that their client may have some mental capacity challenges.  It will provide a legal overview of capacity law in Canada and suggest tips for practice in working with these clients.

Learning Objectives:

  1. recognizing the 'triggers' of possible mental capacity challenges
  2. understanding the difference between plenary capacity and decisional capacity - from 'all or nothing' to 'capacity for what'?
  3. understanding common myths about age and incapacity
  4. learning techniques to better support the client's capacity
  5. understanding the importance of note taking 
  6. identifying some ethical challenges within key professions

2. Advance Care Planning & Health Care Consent - Beyond the Piece of Paper. How to plan for the future without losing out on the present.

Advance care planning is one of the most popular areas of interest for older adults who want to plan for future health care substitute decision-making - but it is also one of most misunderstood areas of elder law, both by older adults and professionals alike.  This seminar will ground participants with a solid understanding of the relationship between advance care planning and the law of consent.  It will also raise similarities and differences in approach and in legislation across the country.  Participants will learn about the 'process' of advance care planning and how to identify when health or housing policies are in conflict with the laws. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. having a clearer understanding about the law of consent
  2. learning how advance care planning can occur - it's not just a piece of paper!
  3. understanding legal and ethical obligations raised by advance care planning
  4. learning about how different jurisdictions each have their own system of health and personal care substitute decision-making
  5. learning about how policies and protocols may be in conflict with the law and what to do to support your client in these circumstances

3. Financial Powers of Attorney - Myth Busters.You may be surprised!

In Canada, financial Powers of Attorney are important advance planning documents, which let you choose another adult to make decisions on your behalf.  Not having one can create problems, but having one can create problems too!  This seminar will provide a solid base of understanding of different types of powers of attorney, how laws are different in each Canadian jurisdiction, common mistakes, uses and abuses. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learning the key terminology and differences between Powers of Attorney and Wills.
  2. understanding the basics of how a financial Power of Attorney works and dispelling common myths
  3. recognizing and understanding the differences - general, enduring, springing, limited etc.
  4. awareness of innocent and predatory misuse / abuse of power of attorney
  5. learning tips towards good practice for assisting clients to the fullest extent

4. Inter-jurisdictional Issues - When common law is not so common

The majority of issues raised in 'elder law' in Canada are different in each province / territory.  However, many Canadians hold property, visit family, or retire to other jurisdictions.  Our laws are jurisdictionally bound, but our clients are not!  This seminar will focus broadly on challenges to inter-jurisdictional clients, and then will focus on good practice in the area of planning documents, such as financial powers of attorney and advance care planning.

Learning Objectives:

  1. recognizing the challenges of addressing aging issues that are impacted by both federal and provincial legislation
  2. understanding the advantages and disadvantages of having more than one set of documents
  3. awareness of how inter-jurisdictional issues can give rise to elder abuse
  4. myth-busting common misconceptions regarding jurisdictional issues and advance planning documents

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B.  Families and Contracts :

5. Private Care Arrangements - All Under One Roof?

This session will train you to better recognize private care arrangements - typically a promise to provide care to an older adult in exchange for a large asset.often the family house.  While private care arrangements are common, few clients have 'thought this through'.  This session will raise 20 common 'what ifs', and provide suggestions for you to assist your clients in considering whether to enter into a private care arrangements, and if so, how best to protect their rights.

  1. recognizing a private care arrangement - open or hidden
  2. knowing key questions to ask - the 'what ifs'
  3. triggering to issues of cultural appropriateness
  4. awareness of how private care arrangements may affect wills, gifts, etc.

6. Later-life Love and Marriage - Yours, Mine, Ours.Theirs?

How many of your clients are on their second, third or even fourth marriage?  How many have blended families?  How many are now 'living together' but do not realize that this might be considered a common law marriage?  What implications does a later life marriage have on private care agreements, family arrangements including loans and guarantees, or wills and advance planning documents?  You and your clients may be surprised.  This seminar will provide an overview of common misconceptions and provide some insights in how to improve your practice on these important issues.

Learning Objectives:

  1. knowing key questions to ask - the 'what ifs'
  2. triggering to common law, same sex and 'informal' relationships which may have legal implications
  3. awareness of how later life relationships and marriage may affect wills, gifts
  4. understanding issues relating to capacity to marry or divorce

7. Family Financial Arrangements - Loans, Legacy, Love & Lies

With the financial downturn and the credit crunch, inter-family financial arrangements are becoming increasingly common - and for many seniors - increasingly dangerous.  Many seniors may want to 'keep the peace' in the family and end up providing loans or signing guarantees for their family members.  In some cases this makes sense and can work well.  In other cases, it can be disastrous for the senior, who has no way of making up that lost money.  This seminar will review inter-family family dynamics, consider how to recognize this kind of (often hidden) transaction and how to understand how such a financial arrangement may affect interpretation of the senior's will.   This seminar will also provide some tips on how to best support and protect your client.

Learning Objectives:

  1. identifying hidden family financial arrangements - loans and guarantees
  2. learning about the law of 'advancement by portion' - assumptions / misunderstandings about loans and 'the will'
  3. awareness of innocent misunderstandings regarding loans vs financial elder abuse

8. Grandparents - Access, Estrangement, Rights, & Money

How many of your clients are, or hope to become, grandparents?  How many of them provide childcare, support, gifts or trusts for their grandchildren?  What happens if your client has a falling out with their children - do they have right to visit their grandkids?  This seminar will focus on key rights and responsibilities relating to law and grandparenting issues in Canada. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. understanding key issues relating to 'access' and 'visitations' and support
  2. learning about inter-generational abuse issues (grandkids abusing grandparents / grandparents abusing grandkids)
  3. knowing how substitute decision-making and grandparenting is related and ranked

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C. Hidden Topics, Ethical Challenges

9. Privacy and Aging - Hot Topics

From 'Granny-Cams' to health records, from capacity concerns to dealing with 'the family'.this session will provide an overview of the intersection of privacy law and aging issues. 

Learning Objectives

  1. understanding the term 'common purpose' within the privacy context
  2. awareness of 'who is my client' concerns regarding document disclosure
  3. understanding of key differences between federal and provincial privacy laws
  4. grasping the similarities and differences between ethical restraints on disclosure and legal restraints on disclosure
  5. knowing about the relationship and processes of consent to disclosure

10. Your Own Arrangements - Taking Care of Business - Practicing to a Higher Standard.Why you HAVE to!

Are you a professional with clients who depend on you?  Do you have clients who assume that you will 'always be there'?  However, anyone can be vulnerable to illness or accident.or you may even decide to slow down your practice to pursue other experiences.  This seminar will provide an introductory overview to helping you better understand what you may need to do to get your own professional and personal planning in order. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. identifying areas of current personal / professional planning vulnerability
  2. reviewing key professional needs according to professional codes of conduct / practice
  3. creating emergency back-up plans in case of emergency, illness or other need

11. Elder Abuse - Rights, Responsibilities, Reticence & Respect

By conservative estimates, 1 in 12 seniors in Canada are subject to some form of abuse and neglect.  Many think that it is more likely to be 1 in 8.  With the significant demographic shift, all professionals need to understand key issues raised by abuse and neglect in Canada, learn how to work with abused seniors and how to understand and support their needs.  "Missing" indicators of abuse and neglect can even give rise to personal and professional responsibility - this is a must attend seminar for everyone working with seniors.

Learning Objectives:

  1. understanding 'elder abuse and neglect' in the Canadian context
  2. identifying the major areas and types of elder abuse and neglect
  3. recognizing the 'signs' that may indicate that an older adult is suffering from abuse or neglect
  4. understanding the need to respect older adults who choose to live 'at risk' - how to avoid 'saving' people who do not wish to be 'saved'
  5. understanding the barriers that older adults face in getting help
  6. awareness of resources in place for responding to the abuse and neglect of older adults (including legislation and community resources)  

12. Family Caregiving - Leaves and Legal Issues.When you need to need to 'drop everything' to take care of an older relative, can you?

More than 1.7 million adults aged 45-64 provided informal care to almost 2.3 million seniors with long-term disabilities or physical limitations. Current statistics also indicate that 80% of elder care is delivered through informal care arrangements and over 60% of adults with disabilities require the assistance of family members to accomplish daily living activities.  As such, every professional who works with older adults needs to understand the basics of family caregiving leaves in Canada.  This seminar will provide an overview of government family caregiving leave provisions, union or work arrangements, and more.  It will consider the rights and responsibilities of both caregivers and employers when a family caregiving leave becomes necessary.

Learning Objectives:

  1. understanding the effects of an aging population on family caregiving
  2. awareness of the current legal framework governing family caregiving programs
  3. understanding of differences between palliative care leaves and other caregiving leaves

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