FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM NOVEMBER 7, 2019 • HEALTH • THE QUEENS COURIER 49
Elder Law Minute TM
What is at Stake if You Don’t Complete the 2020 Census?
BY RONALD A. FATOULLAH, ESQ.
Ronald Fatoullah & Associates has been
advising New Yorkers about the legal and
fi nancial challenges of aging for more than
Th rough proper planning we can help individuals
legally protect their assets and be prepared
for possible long-term care needs. Even
in an emergency situation, we can help individuals
preserve at least half of their assets
and facilitate Medicaid eligibility.
But the ability to protect our clients and
make sure they receive the care they need we
will be dependent upon available governmental
Some would say that we are at a tipping
point in America concerning the quality of
life, health and well-being of our seniors. Th e
older population is expected to increase dramatically
to 80 million seniors in the next
Many of our seniors have worked all their
lives, nurtured their families, paid their taxes
and served their country through military
service. Yet, many of our seniors are victims
of fi nancial, emotional and physical elder
Senior housing is limited and in New York
alone, 90,000 seniors pay more than 50 percent
of their income on rent and over 2,000
people over the age of 60 live in homeless
shelters. Th ere is a shortage of qualifi ed
health care workers with limited skilled staff
at assisted living facilities, nursing homes and
home health care agencies.
Many of our elderly rely on food pantries or
survive on food stamps. Due to a lack of adequate
transportation many seniors and individuals
with disabilities are forced to remain
in isolation. Th e inability of older adults to
fi nd local employment places an additional
fi nancial burden on an already impoverished
segment of our community.
Once every 10 years, the United States
Census takes a count of every person in the
United States. Th e census is mandated by the
United States Constitution and has occurred
every 10 years since 1790.
But the census is so much more than just a
count. Census information is used to determine
New York City’s share of $650 billion
in federal funds for public education, public
housing, infrastructure and more, including
the number of seats we have in Congress. In
the 2010 Census, the city’s response rate was
less than 62 percent, far less than the national
average of 76 percent.
April 1, 2020, is Census Day for the next
decennial census. New York City is at risk of
being undercounted in the upcoming census.
“We are less than one year away from the
2020 Census, and there’s a lot riding on it…
Given the state’s disappointing $20 million
investment in Census outreach, we must work
twice as hard in outreach eff orts across New
York State to ensure full participation of hardto
reach communities so that all New Yorkers
— immigrants, youth, the homeless, and the
elderly- are counted and their voices heard,”
says Steven Choi, executive director of the
New York Immigration Coalition and facilitator
of the New York Counts 2020 Program.
Th e newly-created Offi ce of the Census for
New York City, led by Director Julie Menin,
is focused on coordinating the local outreach
eff orts among civic, community, labor, faithbased,
and all stakeholders to get every New
Yorker counted and make sure that New York
gets its fair share.
Inaccurate population counts can deprive
New York of federal funding and remove crucial
resources for important government services.
If the 2020 Census count is inaccurate,
New York State could lose two congressional
In advance of the 2020 Census, the U.S.
Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of
people for temporary jobs across the country.
Th ese positions provide the perfect opportunity
for seniors to earn some extra income
while helping the community. Th is is a chance
to play an important part in history and help
ensure that everyone is counted.
To be eligible for a 2020 Census job, an
individual must be at least 18 years old, have
a valid Social Security number, be a U.S. citizen,
have a valid e-mail address, complete an
application and answer assessment questions.
Additionally, any male born aft er Dec.31,
1959, must be registered with the Selective
Service System. Applicants must also pass a
Census-performed background check including
fi ngerprinting, must commit to training,
and must be available to work fl exible hours
which can include days, evenings or weekends.
Most jobs will require a vehicle or accessibility
to public transportation as well as
access to a computer with internet and an
e-mail account. Th e application process takes
approximately 30 minutes. Visit 2020census.
gov/jobs to apply.
Th e 2020 Census is around the corner
and will shape New York’s future for years to
come. To get involved and sign up for updates
from the Offi ce of the Census for New York
City, visit www.nyc.gov/census2020.
Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq. is the founder
of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, a law fi rm
that concentrates in elder law, estate planning,
Medicaid planning, guardianships, estate
administration, trusts, wills, and real estate.
Th e law fi rm can be reached at 718-261-1700,
516-466-4422, or toll free at 1-877-ELDERLAW
or 1-877-ESTATES. Mr. Fatoullah is
also a partner advisor with Advice Period, a
wealth management fi rm that provides a continuum
of fi nancial and investment advice
for individuals and businesses, and he can be
reached at 424-256-7273.
BODY IMAGE AND AGING
Older individuals continue adapting to
an altered image especially in light of an
American culture that emphasizes youth and
beauty. We become aware of changes in our
body that may not be particularly enhancing
to one’s self esteem.
Body image is both a conscious and unconscious
composition of fantasy and reality;
a dynamic process that involves distinctive
bodily modifi cations such as with cosmetic
Understanding the personal as well as
the emotional investment in dealing with a
changing body image requires planning and
intervention for that elderly individual.
How far can one go in achieving a desired
image of reasonable perfection? Have we ever
hoped and desired to be taller, thinner or
even more muscular than how we look now?
Body image is a constantly changing
dynamic! Th e elderly individual tends to
evaluate and re-evaluate his or her image
through 1) the lens of a culture they are currently
living in, 2) the refl ections of that society
around them, and 3) the comments of
others they depend on and either take to
heart or reject.
Internal messages are forever being
received that are psychological as well as
physiological in origin and are constantly
forming and re-forming those dimensions
of how we look, and as we age. Posture, hair,
eyes and face are important indices of bodily
acceptance for the young as well as the old.
In a recent study on body image, appearance
was for the elderly subjects, a major
question as to whether to accept or reject.
Overwhelmingly, the study concluded in favor
of appearance as an important factor for a
“healthy” body image.
Body image is but one of the many ways
in which we view ourselves. Th is can include
behavior and lifestyle experiences as well.
Body image is further aff ected by prescribed
special diets, the use of multiple medications,
elimination and sleep patterns that can
intrude and disrupt our daily schedules and
routines requiring greater attention.
Assisting the elderly person to cope with
gradual changes to their body image and
potential distortions can be a wholly diff erent
choice from one person to another.
Some may hardly notice these gradual
changes until confronted with specifi c comments
voiced by either a family member or
close friend who may sincerely believe they
are speaking with well-intentioned words
and are being candid. To that elderly person,
however, their remarks may not necessarily
be what the elderly individual wants to hear.
I encourage the reader to study the following
questions that can be useful when dealing
with issues regarding the aging body – issues
such as graying hair, loss of height, facial
wrinkling, sagging muscles, aching arthritic
joints and more.
1) How would you describe yourself as you
2) Do you currently experience limitations
in your daily mobility and unable to perform
many important activities>
3) What does it mean to you personally that
you are an old man/woman?
4) What does it mean to you when others
perceive you as an old person?
5) How has your physical appearance
changed as you’ve aged?
6) If your appearance has changed as you’ve
aged, are you disturbed by it?
Major traumatic shift s in body image can
oft en produce a sense of revulsion when
viewing oneself with the passage of time and
as reality sets in. Researchers call this “positive
mirror imaging,” a term that requires 1)
eventual acceptance, and 2) a lay individual
who is supportive and sensitive to that person’s
concerns and acts as a friendly advisor.
Ornstein is a
a doctoral degree
in nursing organization.
He has specialized
in the care
of older adults and has published
many articles on the subject. He
has done post-graduate work in
gerontology and has taught at
several universities. In 2013, he
was inducted into the Nursing
Hall of Fame at Teachers College,
I would like to conclude with an anecdote
about my mother, of blessed memory. She
would always say whenever there was a serious
health crisis in the family that was satisfactorily
resolved, “as long as we have our health,
nothing else matters.”
Mom had a close relationship with family
and friends, and to my recollection, never
voiced concern with her own body image. I
suspect it was because the concept of body
image and all of its complications were not
part of her lexicon in the 1940s and 50s.
Sheldon Ornstein Ed.D, RN, LNHA