Medical Marijuana

For 40 years, NORML has served as a clearinghouse for marijuana-related information. Much of this information, including transcripts of NORML's testimony before Congress and state legislative committees, is now available online in NORML's Library. You will find NORML reports and related information on the following topics: Health Reports, Driving and Marijuana Legalization Reports, Surveys & Polls, Medical Marijuana Reports, NORML Testimony, Arrest Reports, Hemp Reports, European Drug Laws, Marinol vs. Natural Plant, The NORML Truth Report, Economics Reports, Marijuana Crop Reports, Freedom of Information Act Requests

Life Settlement

A Life Settlement transaction is the sale of a life insurance policy which can act as a funding bridge to cover the costs of retirement. If a policy owner has outlived the purpose of a life insurance policy, has decided that it has become an under-performing asset, or has had a life event that requires liquidity-- then selling a life insurance policy through a Life Settlement transaction should be considered. A Life Settlement can provide seniors and their families with peace of mind during a time of transition or financial crisis. Eligibility-Age 65 or older (ages as young as 55 can be considered). Any type of life insurance policy with a combined death benefit value of $50,000 or greater. Has no restrictions on use of money or requirements to be secured or paid back.The policy owner will receive a lump sum payment and is no longer responsible for paying premiums once a Life Settlement is complete. There are no upfront fees or obligations to do a Life Settlement.


Meals and Grocery Delivery
Good nutrition is crucial to maintaining an older person's health and overall well-being. There are 221 programs nationwide that administer Title VI of the Older Americans Act, which promote nutrition and supportive services. One of the more popular programs, commonly known as "Meals on Wheels", provides home meals delivered by local volunteers to the elderly varying from 1-2 meals daily and often includes a hot and/or cold meal. Many grocery delivery services are available nationwide or may be arranged with more familiar local grocers.
Finding Meals on Wheels programs is simply accomplished by looking up which ones are offered in your area. Grocery delivery services can be located by referring to several national companies offering on-line ordering or making arrangements with your local grocery store providing these services.
Nutritional well-being plays a vital role in the overall health, independence, and quality of life of older persons. Research shows that many older Americans, however, aren't eating well. Those who may have lost their teeth find it difficult to chew while others may have disabilities or functional impairments and are unable to shop for groceries or cook for themselves. Still others either do not understand about the types of food that they need to help keep them healthy or simply cannot afford to buy the proper foods. For older Americans, poor nutrition can lead to weight loss, weakness, lessened immunity to disease, confusion, increased frailty and debilitation. Home Delivered meals offers one solution to relieving a family's worry about a loved one's poor eating habits or inability to cook while Grocery Delivery services eliminate concerns about inabilities to drive and shop.
The Administration on Aging through Titles III and VI of the Older Americans Act funds and administers the largest community nutrition services program for older Americans, the Elderly Nutrition Program. This program provides nutrition services including meals, nutrition education, and other services to mobile and homebound elders 60 years of age and older with a preference to those in greatest economic and social need. The meals are usually provided at very reasonable costs or sometimes at no cost depending on income level. Grocery delivery service's costs vary but frequently charge a percentage of total grocery purchases or simply add on service charge.

   Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) assists individuals and families with Medicare problems and other health insurance concerns. Trained counselors provide information on Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance, managed care, long-term care planning and health insurance. 

Home Care (non-medical)
   Home Care Agencies enable seniors to live independently in their own homes or stay with a family member through providing access to outside supportive care and assistance when needed.
   Referred to by many names including Home Care Agencies, Home Health Agencies, In Home Agencies, Personal Care Agencies, Homemaker and Chore Services, Companion services.Home care, also known as in-home care, is nonmedical care provided in the client's home. It includes custodial care and assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and providing medication reminders.

   Homecare workers are professionally trained caregivers who provide companionship and are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for the person receiving care.
   Homecare can be arranged without a physician's order and is different from home health care, in that caregivers do not provide nursing care. For example, while they may provide medication reminders, they are not allowed to administer medication. Neither are caregivers housecleaners; although some light housekeeping may be necessary and appropriate, heavy housecleaning is normally not expected.
   Medicare, Managed Care, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits do not cover homecare. Some Medigap policies cover homecare if the individual is simultaneously receiving skilled home health care. As such, most in-home care is either paid for privately or by using a long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy. As many people wish to live at home as long as possible, LTCI policies have grown in popularity. Some states offer payment for family caregivers, and in some states being a Medicaid recipient automatically qualifies a person for homecare. Check with your state Medicaid office to see what is offered in your area.

Home Health Care (Medical Care)
   Appropriate health care programs are designed and implemented based on the patients specific needs under direction of the patients personal physician. What are some of the benefits of home health services? Allows patients to convalesce in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. Teaching the patient and caregiver the skills needed to care for themselves. Meeting the patients social and emotional needs. And preserving the dignity of the patient to name a few.

   Who can benefit from home health care services?  Home Health Care is a program designed to assist the patient who is convalescing from an illness or disability, surgery, or who has had an accident or trauma.     Under the care of the patients physician, can provide: Skilled Nursing RNs, LVNs

   Home Health Aides Under arrangement and referral can provide: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nutritional Services, Social Services, Speech Therapy, Medical Equipment e.g. wheelchairs, Canes, Walkers, Hospital Beds. Infusion Medications and supplies, Laboratory Tests, Portable Chest X-rays, & Inhalation Therapy and supplies.

   Am I eligible to receive Home Health Care Services under the Medicaid Benefit? To Qualify:

   Need intermittent care or instruction

   Be Homebound Requiring assistance to leave home

   Require services of a skilled healthcare professional

   Must be under the care of a Physician who will provide the agency with orders. 

   How will I pay for the services?

   Approved services are 100% covered by Medicare and Medicaid.Patients may be covered under insurance policies or private pay. 

Terminology Defined

Scroll down for the following definitions

​Accessible Design


​Activities of Daily Living (ADL's)

Adult Protective Services (APS)

Assisted Living

Board and Care Home

Companion or Personal Care

Continuing Care Retirement Community

Driving Safety


Home Care (Non-Medical)

Home Health Care (Medical Care)

Life Settlement

​Medical Marijuana


Accessible Design

   ...describes a site, building, facility or portion thereof that complies with ADA Accessibility Guidelines ADAAG - Sections 1-4 of The Americans with Disabilities Act. 
   ADA Compliance is required in commercial construction. However, in residential use, experts know from experience how to interpret these codes and use them as a guideline. Design That Works has over thirty years of experience in various areas of construction, twenty eight years of hands on caregiving, with ten years of Universal and Accessible Design, consulting and lecturing on the proper use and application of ADA compliant codes and adaptive products. 
   Customized design equipped with specific adaptive products can act as an insurance policy to guarantee that individuals with health and mobility issues can remain in their homes as they age. 
   Accessible Design is essential for the safety of children and adults with disabilities for the reason that it promotes independence, safety, and ease of use, while implementing Barrier Free Home Modifications to improve their lifestyles and the lifestyles of those who care for them. 

Accessibility Checklist 

  1. Does your home have stairs?
  2. Do you have trouble getting through halls and doorways?
  3. Can you get in or out of your tub safely?
  4. Is your toilet too low?
  5. Can you use your tub/shower?
  6. Do you have enough lighting?
  7. Can you open your windows?

   To prepare for our aging populace The National Association of Home Builders implemented a certification program for architects, designers, consultants, builders and remodelers, to teach home modifications and salesmanship techniques for the aging market. "CAPS" Certified Aging in Place Specialist and "ILS" Independent Living Specialist, from the National Family Caregivers Association.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL's)

   The ordinary things we do in just caring for the basic needs of our body are called the activities of daily living. Think of what you do from the moment you wake up in the morning. You will stand up from your bed and walk to the bathroom. That's an activitiy of daily living called transferring. You may use the toilet. You might take a bath or shower. After toweling off you will groom yourself by combing hair, brushing teeth, shaving, etc. Then you get dressed and put on socks and shoes. You may then ambulate (the word for the ADL of walking) to the kitchen to feed yourself. The Activities of Daily Living, when compromised by fraility, ill health, or cognitive deficits will signal the need of special caretaking for the person.

Adult Protective Services (APS)

   Social services provided to abused, neglected, or exploited older and/or disabled adults. APS is typically administered by local or state health, aging, or regulatory departments and includes a multi-disciplinary approach to helping victims of elder abuse. Services range from investigation of mistreatment to legal intervention in the form of court orders or surrogate decision makers such as a legal guardian.
   Many states provide adult protective services to older adults only, such as the case in Ohio where the APS law applies to those 60 and older. Other states provide adult protective services to anyone over the age of 18. APS is intended to assist vulnerable adults such as those with disabilities due to aging, health related issues, or dementia.
   Forms of abuse include physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse. Exploitation can be either financial or material in nature. Neglect can be perpetrated by any caregiver who has accepted the responsibility of assisting an older or disabled adult. Additionally, many states include self-neglect in their definition of those needing adult protective services. Self-neglect involves an individual's inability to care for themselves due to physical or cognitive deficits.

Assisted Living
   Assisted Living Facility accommodations, services and sizes vary widely. Assisted living facilities come in all shapes and sizes, from single family homes with only a few residents, to large communities with hundreds of residents. Living arrangements vary from studio, single or double rooms, to suites or apartments, and are usually within a multiunit residential setting.

   Often referred to by a variety of names that universally confuse most families include Residential Care, Personal Care, Retirement Community, Board and Care, Adult and Elder Care Homes. They may exist as freestanding facilities or as a component of a Retirement Community with multiple levels of care. Popular in demand hybrid versions combine Assisted Living with Nursing Care and Assisted Living with Alzheimer's care. Dual levels of care in same location serve to accommodate an individual's declining health needs or that of a spouse's to help minimize need for relocating.

   Assisted Living is designed for seniors that require some assistance with activities of daily living and wish to live as independently as possible. Assisted living is appropriate for someone who is too frail to live at home or in an independent setting but does not need skilled nursing care. Equally baffling as the name problem is the inconsistent combination of personalized care, supportive services, and health-related services offered among homes throughout the country. Most facilities provide personal care assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, hygiene, ambulating and medications. Meals, transportation, laundry, and housekeeping are provided along with twenty-four hour supportive service and supervision. The varied amount of specific health care services should be closely evaluated in order to accommodate your loved one's current and changing needs.

   Assisted living facilities are not fully regulated by the federal government and each state sets their own licensing requirements, regulations and inspection procedures. Due to this lack of a national inspection reporting system, it is necessary to tap in to some lesser known resources with a lot more diligence. JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) are two of the primary accreditation organizations.

   Tour the homes, talk with residents and staff and have lunch. Request to meet with the Director of Nursing to discuss his or her philosophy of care which is often reflected throughout the facility. Go back and visit unannounced in evening when families are visiting and encourage their comments about care.

   Most residents privately pay the cost for care from their own financial resources. They sign a residency agreement as they would when renting an apartment and likewise the rent varies according to size and location of living quarters, as well as amenities and services available. Cutting costs for assisted living rent is sometimes as simple as choosing a 3 star moderate hotel room versus s 5 star deluxe room with a view. Consider sharing a room to reduce costs or perhaps moving away from the high rent district. Several long-term care insurance plans and some State Medicaid programs may also reimburse a certain amount of these health services provided. Learn more about the cost for Assisted Living and strategies to make Assisted Living affordable.

Board and Care Home
   Board and Care Homes are in every neighborhood you pass through. Licensed assisted living care homes providing family-style living in residential homes along with care services. This usually includes Alzheimer's/dementia care, hospice care, care for those with blindness and/or hearing loss, and incontinence care. Included are 24/hour caregiving, housekeeping, laundry, activities such as exercise, crafts, music therapy, art therapy, entertainers and transportation to adult daycare centers or senior centers, and doctors' office appointments. Nurses can be called in to help when necessary and some of the homes are cleared to allow a bedridden person or a non-ambulatory person to remain as a resident.
   Board and Care Homes always have fire alarm systems and many have fire sprinklers. They also often have emergency call systems, grab bars and all manner of medical equipment for the added convenience of their residents.
   A Family-style Residential Care HomeTM full-fills a preference for a close-family lifestyle.  These dwellings are officially known as a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE). They are inspected and licensed by the State Department of Social Services.
    In a Family-style Residential Care HomeTM you get what you were used to having during your lifetime, a house to live in with things you are used to, like a kitchen, dining table, fireplace, and a backyard. People are there that care about you, and take care of you 24/7. They clean up after you, do your laundry, cook your meals, clean up the kitchen, do your housekeeping and grocery shopping, and mow the lawn along with other home maintenance chores. Any other assistance you need is also provided. Some people need help with bathing, dressing, grooming and taking medications. A Family-style Residential Care HomeTM is also known for purposeful activities. I have participated in a number of Luaus, birthday parties, sing-a-longs, and current events discussions while visiting at a Family-style Residential Care HomeTM.
    This type of assisted living proves to be quite a bit less expensive than living in your own home and hiring the care services to come in. The monthly cost at a Family-style Residential Care HomeTM runs anywhere from $1,800 to $6,000 per month. Compare this to the cost of the mortgage (on average $1,000/month), property taxes ($333/month), homeowners insurance ($100/month), home repairs ($84/month), plus utilities ($118/month), groceries ($350/month), a gardener ($120/month), a housekeeper ($120/month), a cook ($2,400/month), and a live-in caregiver (minimum $4,320/month).  One would be paying on average $3,400 a month for a family-style care home to live in with services valued at approximately $8,945. Even if you no longer have a mortgage payment, it is still a bargain.
    The best thing of all, your own children and grandchildren can come to your Family-style Residential Care HomeTM to visit you just like they always have come to your home in the past. Now, they are not your caregivers, they are your caring visitors.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
   CCRCs offer several housing options to choose from, so individuals can select the lifestyle that fits with their personal needs. CCRCs also offer a range of services, amenities, and health and wellness programsall geared toward helping CCRC residents stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. But the foremost advantage that CCRCs offer is in providing residents with access to high-quality assisted living services and nursing care at fees that are below current market rates.
    Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are designed for seniors who are currently living independently but want the security of being cared for when needed as they grow older. Sometimes referred to as Lifecare, they encompass a long-term care contract for independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and certain healthcare services all at one location.

   Residents living in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) can take advantage of a full range of care and services available as his or her health needs change without having to relocate. Residents usually begin in an independent living residence, transfer to assisted living, and if declining health dictates, move to an onsite intermediate or skilled nursing care facility. Many seniors feel secure in having a contractual arrangement with a CCRC for long-term care that covers the extensive and burdensome cost of nursing home care. Some communities offer residents with Alzheimer's disease specialized programs adapting to their changing needs.

   CCRCs offer residents specialized services, support, and security. Residents derive great peace of mind from knowing there are three levels of careall within the same community. They know that if their needs change, the appropriate level of support is availablefrom independent living, to assisted living and nursing care.

    As in the assisted living concept of care, services are tailored to an individual's needs and typically include meals, housekeeping, transportation, and personal care assistance. Planned social, educational, and recreational activities are often available as with many senior housing and retirement homes. The key difference between CCRCs and assisted living is that a lifetime commitment exists to care for a resident regardless of changes in level of care or health needs.

   Most communities emphasize preventive health care through encouraging regular immunizations, examinations, proper nutrition, social opportunities, exercise and physical therapy at convenient onsite locations. Better Continuing Care Communities use a multidisciplinary approach to coordinate the care of their residents with chronic or debilitating medical problems. Services may include primary health care, specialist's care, diagnostic testing facilities, counseling and social services that may be offered in an outpatient clinic, a skilled care facility, or in a resident's home.

   CCRC settings range from expansive campuses to high rise apartment complexes. Housing choices vary widely including studio, one, two, and three, bedroom apartments, townhouses or even single family homes. Some CCRCs are confused with "hybrid" communities that have emerged over time and due to popular demand. It is common to find communities that combine Independent Living with Assisted Living or Assisted Living with Skilled Care. However keep in mind a true CCRC by definition provides all levels of care allowing for aging in place.

   Some CCRCs elect to become accredited by the national Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC / CARF) which conducts voluntary extensive evaluations of facilities.

   Residents commonly pay an entry or buy-in fee to join the community with monthly maintenance fees thereafter. These entrance fees may be sizable and vary considerably depending on the size and location of residences, whether for single individuals or married couples, and if renting or owning living space. Furthermore the type of additional services and amenities, and the level of financial risk for needing long-term care are determining factors in overall costs. There are three basic types of contracts and fees to consider that may require consultation with a financial planner and/or attorney to help determine which plan is best for you.

   An extensive contract offers unlimited long-term nursing care with little or no significant increase in your usual monthly fees. This is the most expensive contract but may prove to be the most cost-effective later should skilled care be needed.

​   A modified contract includes a specified amount of health care or long-term nursing care beyond which additional fees are incurred that you are responsible for payment.​

Companion or Personal Care
   In-home care and companionship for seniors who are capable of independent living. Companions do not provide medical care. They may perform household chores such as cooking and cleaning, and/or transportation and errands.

Driving Safety
   Why and how to talk about stopping driving. (See the above suggestion that a personal care companion could be the driver.)
   Too often, older drivers who are losing their ability to drive safely either don't recognize it or can't face the terrible thought of giving up the independence and control that comes with driving a car. Sometimes, loss of the ability to drive is a life-changing event, as the elder can no longer maintain himself at home without transportation.
   Denial is a very common reaction to the early warning signs of an older driver who is becoming dangerous. This denial can occur both among the elderly, who may get frantic at the idea of this privilege being taken from them, and among their adult children, who don't want to have to deal with the consequences of Mom or Dad becoming a burden when it comes to transportation.
   So make sure you start the driving conversation with your parent when the parent is still safe to drive. You both know that, it would devastate everyone for an accident to happen. So your parent to think about what would happen if /he she could not drive.
   Adult kids' support and action can keep us all safer. We've heard, "Yes, my Dad, 89, is still driving, but he only goes to the store." "Only going to the store" is no protection against unsafe driving.
   Yes, every person ages differently, and some folks do much better than others of the same age. No state wants to set an age limit on how long we can exercise our driving privileges. However, it's normal to have decreased vision, hearing loss and loss of flexibility in the joints as we get older. (That reduced flexibility could mean that you can't turn your neck to see the car in your blind spot.) We're even more likely to suffer such driving impairments as we pass 85 years of age. Only teenagers have a higher accident rate than seniors in this age group. So if your aging parent won't bring up the question of when it might be time to stop, you need to do it before he or she turns 85.
   If your parent suffers dementia, the conversation must start much sooner. If a parent has memory loss, might have dementia, or has a diagnosis of dementia, family members need to ask the treating doctor how far into dementia that parent has gone. Objective testing can provide some good information. But a general rule of thumb is that about a year or two into Alzheimer's disease, the elder should not be driving. Children's involvement is critical because often the person with dementia can't tell how impaired she is. That's because dementia can knock out the intellectual ability to understand that.