They Never Visit, and It’s Killing Me!

Q. I live an hour away from both my daughters and their families, but they never visit me. I am aware that they are busy with soccer games and other activities, but I wish they could make the time to come see me once in a while.

It’s true, I live in a senior community with a lot of activities, and I do skype with my grandchildren every week. But, it’s not the same. I need a hug sometimes and to see how big they have gotten in person. To be honest, I am feeling lonely without my daughters around. I would go see them, but I get nervous with all of the traffic in Northern Virginia. My driving skills aren’t what they used to be.

I am not great at guilt, but I feel like facts and research might help convince them to come visit. Is there some research out there that says that children should visit their parents? I read in one of your previous articles that it’s required in China, so there has to be a reason behind it. What can I and other lonely seniors out there say to get our adult children to come around more often?

Thanks for your help!

A. You are absolutely correct that your children and your grandchildren should visit you. And, it’s not just because it feels good to see loved ones in person. Taking time for our parents could extend their lives, a new study shows.

For your daughters and others out there who feel too busy to visit loved ones, there is research to prove how important it is to set aside time and spend it with senior parents/grandparents. In fact, doing so can add up to 9 more years to their lives!

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that loneliness could lead to functional decline and, in some cases, premature death in older people. The study, Loneliness in Older Persons, looked at 1,600 adults with an average age of 71. It revealed that that nearly 23% of lonely participants died within six years of the study, compared to only 14% of those that reported experiencing adequate levels of companionship, and visits from family members.

The researchers came to the conclusion that “loneliness is a significant factor in the decline of quality of life in older adults.”

This isn’t the only study that seems to suggest that loneliness plays a factor in serious health problems. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in Utah, has conducted similar studies. She said:

“Our social relationships are important not only to our quality of life, but also our longevity. Throughout human history, we have relied on others for survival, such as protection and food, and despite modern advancements that may [help with] certain aspects of survival so that we can live more independently, it appears that our relationships nonetheless still impact odds of survival.”

Seniors Without Social Interaction Suffer

The findings about loneliness could explain why many seniors who don’t have a lot of social interaction pass away suddenly or seem to suffer from more health problems than other people of the same age who have more social interaction. With loneliness comes the risk of depression, cognitive impairment, and other health problems, such as coronary heart disease, which are all factors that may lead to an earlier death. For more details, please read our article, “This Can Be as Dangerous to Your Health as Fifteen Cigarettes Per Day.”

To Live Longer AND Sharpen Your Mind, Tell Them You Want to Babysit Your Grandchildren!

Your daughters likely want you to live longer, keep your mind sharp, and stave off dementia and other diseases. And most couples with children love to go out on date nights whenever they can, but babysitting can get expensive. Suggest your daughters bring their children to visit, and watch them if you can, while your daughters go out with their husbands. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Many people don’t realize that babysitting has been linked to decreased rates of depression, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by increasing brain function and memory. Similar to your children visiting, caring for grandchildren can help to prevent the social isolation that can cause depression, and even an earlier death.

But, don’t babysit for too long! A recent study showed that researchers from the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia observed the cognitive function of over 180 women who cared for grandchildren. The results showed that postmenopausal women who spend one day a week caring for their grandchildren may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. However, those that spend five days a week or more caring for little ones may have a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders. So, send them home after a day or two 🙂

Your Children will Benefit from Visiting You Also

It goes without saying that you’re not the only one who benefits when your daughters increase the quality time spent with you. Relationships, especially familial ones, are often symbiotic and supportive. Hope all of this research is helpful in your cause and that you get to spend lots of quality time with your loved ones soon, and that it benefits your entire family’s health and happiness.

To Those Who Don’t Visit Often Enough. . .

When you visit someone who doesn’t get regular visitors (even when he or she has Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia) you may have impacted that person in a major way, especially if he or she is lonely and/or feeling isolated or depressed. The feelings you create by showing you care can change how he or she interacts with others and improve his or her mood. Remember, the benefit of your visit (or a call, if you cannot visit) will likely last, so call and visit senior loved ones whenever you can.

If you have a senior loved one who lives alone, it is always prudent to plan ahead in the event that assisted living or nursing home care is needed in the future. Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection is the process of protecting your assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into a nursing home, while also helping ensure that you or your loved one get the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. As always, please contact us when you’re ready to make an appointment for a no-cost introductory consultation:

Fairfax Elder Law: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Elder Law: 540-479-1435
Rockville Elder Law: 301-519-8041
DC Elder Law: 202-587-2797

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Critter Corner: Pets to Help Solve Loneliness

Dear Ribbit,

My father lives alone, more than 1,000 miles away. He can be stubborn sometimes and although we offered to move him into our home, he wants to stay put. We are thinking of getting him a pet to keep him company. Do you think this is a wise idea? Is there any research showing that pets help with loneliness? The other problem is what type of pet, because we certainly don’t want to cause him an extra burden of having to take care of a needy pet.


Kat Dogorfrogge

Dear Kat,

Many senior citizens who live alone may not have much contact with the outside world. Loneliness can lead to stress, anxiety, and medical complications. A new study proves that pets can cheer up lonely seniors and enhance quality of life.

In a study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center, psychiatrists examined 830 primary care patients over the age of 60 to determine if social-connectedness, especially pet ownership, could promote health and well-being.

Those participants most likely to report feelings of loneliness lived alone without a pet. Those living with pets were 36% less likely than non-pet owners to report loneliness. The University of Rochester researchers concluded that pet ownership could help spread feelings of social connectedness and significantly decrease feelings of isolation in older patients. They further postulated that sharing a home with a pet could improve an older person’s overall well-being.

I strongly urge everyone, especially those living alone, to consider sharing their home with a pet. The more people interact with pets, the more likely they are to interact with other humans and avoid depression. Pets give people a reason to get up in the morning and dog owners, in particular, to go for a walk several times a day. If walking a dog is too burdensome, a dog may still be a great companion if the owner has a fenced-in yard, or if the owner can afford to hire a pet walker. Professional pet walkers and pet walking services exist in most communities. Cats, of course, are more independent and don’t need walking. But they do need to have their litter boxes cleaned regularly, which may not be that often if you have an indoor-outdoor cat. Then again, there are pet services that will come and clean litter boxes for you, and even take care of feeding your pets and administering any medications that may be needed, if you are not physically able to (or if you are away on vacation or in the hospital or otherwise unavailable), so pet owners can still enjoy the companionship of a loving pet without necessarily having any of the burdens typically associated with pet ownership.

If your father cannot have a cat or dog where he lives, maybe you can buy him a fish aquarium or a frog aquarium! Fish and frogs can make great pets for some people. Even though we’re not cuddly, we can still offer beauty and stress relief to our owners. And you don’t have to walk us or change our litter boxes. You just need a proper aquarium set up with a filter.

Hop this is helpful,


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The Virginia Poverty Law Center is hiring a Litigation Director

VPLC is seeking a litigator with at least 5 years’ experience trying cases in both state and federal court. Successful applicants will have a history of working with low-income people or marginalized communities. Experience handling class action and impact litigation is a plus.

The Litigation Director will support and assist with litigation in all three of VPLC’s centers – the Center for Economic Justice; the Center for Family Advocacy; and the Center for Healthy Communities. In addition to working on litigation with staff of the three centers at VPLC, the Litigation Director will train, assist and co-counsel with legal aid attorneys across Virginia on cases that significantly impact the legal aid client community. Additional duties include managing a Litigation Listserv and keeping the Virginia legal aid community informed about relevant litigation throughout the country.

VPLC engages in wide-ranging advocacy to seek access to civil justice for lower-income Virginians including education, empowerment, impact-litigation, and advocacy with legislative and administrative agencies. We value staff diversity because it enhances our work product. You must be willing to work in collaboration with the rest of the staff and our colleagues outside the office. We value creativity. Most importantly, we value employees whose experience demonstrates their passion for using the law to help others and increase access to justice for all.

Salary/Benefits: Salary is based on experience. VPLC provides a generous benefits package, including paid time off, excellent health insurance, student loan repayment assistance and a 403b plan.

To apply, please submit a resume, writing sample and three references to: no later than March 30, 2018.

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Dozens of Dementia Treatments Have Failed. Will This One Work?

Peter Wooding (77) is among the 5 million Americans who are facing Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most devastating diagnoses today. Happily married for more than 50 years, Peter and his wife Joanne are not going to sit back and accept the diagnosis. Currently part of a test group for a promising experimental drug treatment, Peter could be among the first to experience a halt to the declines that result from Alzheimer’s.

Peter is one of the 2,700 volunteers from around the world who are currently testing what researchers believe has what it takes to be the first drug to stop Alzheimer’s. Of the test group, 2/3 of the volunteers will receive the drug, and 1/3 will get a placebo. Participants and their families won’t know which one they received until they have participated for 18 months.

Peter’s Initial Diagnosis

Both industrial designers, Peter and Joanne ran their own design firm for nearly 40 years. Peter also served as president of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), lectured abroad frequently, and was a faculty member at Rhode Island School of Design. Peter was sharp and an expert in his field, until changes in his memory began taking place in the early 2000’s. It began when he was having trouble keeping track of deadlines for projects and what was discussed at meetings, and Joanne felt that it was time for him to get checked.

To learn of his diagnosis, the couple took advantage of a study in which Medicare covered the cost of brain scans of older people to check for amyloid plaques, the protein that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. In the scans, it was undeniable–Peter had Alzheimer’s. Peter described what he saw in the scan as “a white cloud that covered my brain.”

Participating in the study at Butler University

Several vaccine trials led by large drug companies, such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Eli Lilly have failed. Although scientists are aware that amyloid, a protein made by cells in the brain, seemed to build up abnormally in the brains of people with the disease, drugs to inhibit it in those with Alzheimer’s haven’t made much of a difference. In looking at past failures, scientists are beginning to realize that (1) some of the people in the studies showed signs of dementia but may not have had Alzheimer’s or amyloid plaques at all, and (2) the drugs may have been given too late in the disease and in doses that were too low.

Scientists also now know that while autopsy studies have shown that amyloid plaques are a common feature of people with Alzheimer’s, not everyone with amyloid deposits in the brain necessarily develops the disease. Some people have a natural ability to keep the plaques from building up or are able to make less amyloid, so the protein doesn’t aggregate into toxic clumps.

Taking all these things into consideration, Dr. Stephen Salloway, the Woodings’ doctor and the director of neurology and the Memory and Aging Program at Butler is testing a new vaccine, and it could prove to be promising. Developed by Biogen and Neurimmune, the vaccine came from older people who either did not develop Alzheimer’s or showed much slower rates of cognitive decline than average Alzheimer’s patients did. “Something was retarding the Alzheimer’s or protecting against Alzheimer’s in these older people,” says Salloway.

Peter’s Participation in the Trial

Peter wasn’t going down without a fight, which is why he volunteered for the study. Being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s made him a perfect candidate. As mentioned previously, Peter and the other participants agreed to receive either injections of the drug or a placebo once a month for a year and a half. After that, he is guaranteed to receive the drug for two more years. It won’t be until 2020, when all the people in the study have completed their injections, that the Woodings and their doctor will learn whether he received the drug or a placebo.

So far, Peter has received 16 injections. Even if Peter is getting the placebo, the Woodings recognize that they are fortunate to have the opportunity to test a potentially promising drug. Peter is a great example of why early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is extremely important. We’ll keep you updated in future articles about Peter’s progress, and any other promising treatments for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Benefits of Early Diagnosis

Hopefully, the vaccine being tested becomes the breakthrough needed to slow or stop Alzheimer’s in the future. As you can see, once people with Alzheimer’s find out that they have the disease, they may be able to take advantage of the benefits to early diagnosis, even though no treatment or cure currently exists. For instance, those who learn that they are likely to have Alzheimer’s could enroll in clinical trials testing possible new treatments. Another potential benefit could be that it will help those with Alzheimer’s work with their family, caregivers, and an experienced elder law attorney, such as myself, to plan for their future and their loved ones.

Medicaid Planning for Alzheimer’s and Other Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is the most challenging health and social care challenge of our generation, and a diagnosis of the disease is certainly life-changing. When it comes to legal planning for long-term care, generally the earlier someone with dementia plans, the better the result. But it is important to know that it’s never too late to begin the process of Long-term Care Planning, also called Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection Planning.

Medicaid planning can even be started by an adult child acting as agent under a properly-drafted Power of Attorney, and even if your loved one is already in a nursing home or receiving other long-term care services. If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia, please feel free to call us for a no-cost initial consultation:

Fairfax Medicaid Planning: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Medicaid Planning: 540-479-1435
Rockville Medicaid Planning: 301-519-8041
DC Medicaid Planning: 202-587-2797

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Critter Corner: I Am My Mother’s Financial Caregiver. Now What?

Dear Bebe,

When my mother did her estate planning several years ago, I was told I would be the trustee for her trust and the agent under her Financial Power of Attorney, should there come a time when she can no longer handle her own finances. Well, that time has come and it’s my time to step in. My sister is my mom’s live-in caregiver, but I am in charge of all the financial matters. What does being a financial caregiver entail and do you have any tips for me in my new role?

Finn Anshul

Dear Finn,

According to a new Merrill Lynch study, 92% of caregivers are paying bills from their care recipient’s accounts; monitoring bank accounts; handling insurance claims; filing taxes, and managing invested assets.
Study authors offer advice to current and future financial caregivers, as follows:

· Find out where documents are located: Taking responsibility for a parent’s financial affairs will be easier if you’re able to have this conversation while your loved one still has the cognitive ability to understand the situation.
· Keep detailed records of all financial transactions made on behalf of your mother: Meticulous record-keeping is typically required with financial powers of attorney. So, make sure you stay organized from the start, noting every financial transaction – including income and expenditures – for your mother.
· Don’t commingle her property with your own: You may need to set up specially designated accounts for your mom in order to keep all funds distinct and separate. Commingling funds can lead to breaches of fiduciary duties, putting agents at risk of getting sued.
· Get help, if needed: If your mom’s financial affairs become complicated and overwhelming, get help from a professional in carrying out your duties. The best place to find a professional is on the website of the American Association of Daily Money Managers.

Take care of your own financial matters, as well

Respondents to Merrill Lynch’s survey report cutting back on expenses, having trouble paying their bills, dipping into personal savings, reducing their work hours, and leaving the workforce. As a financial caregiver, you need to remember to take care of yourself — health wise and financially!

Hope this is helpful. Good luck in your new role!


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Can a Marriage Survive Caregiving for an In-Law?

Q. When my husband, Paul, first met my parents, they didn’t hit it off. He can be stubborn sometimes, and mom is difficult, and she never thought that he was good enough for me. After Thanksgiving dinner, when we announced we were engaged, my mother threw him out of her home, and my mother and I didn’t talk for nearly a year. She and my dad refused to pay for my wedding, so we eloped.

Ten years later, my father passed away. Paul and I have children of our own, and my mother has softened a bit. She isn’t exactly warm to Paul, but for the sake of seeing her grandchildren, they are cordial to one another.

Six months ago, my mother had a stroke and she needed my help. I am her only child, and all other family lives far away. To Paul’s dismay, I told her she could come live with us. Now, Paul claims that she is driving him crazy, and it’s either her or him. Do you have any guidance for people in this type of situation? Thanks for any help!

A. Even the strongest relationships are put to the test when one or both partners are caregivers for an in-law in the home. In most situations, issues such as financial pressures, resentment, distance, exhaustion, and lack of privacy can overwhelm a relationship. In your situation, the fact that your mother and your husband don’t get along obviously makes things dramatically more difficult.

Some spouses are completely supportive of an in-law being cared for in their home by their husband or wife, while other spouses may feel neglected. If the spouse never liked the elder, and now the elder needs a lot of care, the spouse becomes even more resentful. The stress in the marriage can be intolerable for both sides. A survey found that for 80% of respondents, caregiving put a strain on their marriage or other partner relationship. So, as you can see, the sad reality is that many marriages can and do break under these extremely stressful circumstances.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Relationship?

Recognizing your needs as a couple and making your romantic relationship a priority is critical to your health and happiness. To protect and strengthen your relationship while caregiving, aim to:

Talk Openly: Opening up to one another can help you better understand each others’ feelings and behavior, prevent misunderstandings and resentment, and hopefully bring you closer. Your spouse may also be more willing to help manage responsibilities and offer emotional support when he understands where you’re coming from.

It may not be easy for you and your spouse to talk about how caregiving for your mother and how your husband’s difficult relationship with her is affecting your marriage. These are touchy subjects. One way to help get the conversation started might be to see a marriage therapist who is also familiar with family unrest and caregiver concerns. You can also consider joining a caregiver support group together. A caregiving support group can help you get new perspectives and talk to other people experiencing similar challenges. It can also be enormously helpful to have other people to lean on for support. Look for a group that meets in your area, or connect with one online.

It is also a good idea to talk openly with your mother. Tell her how much it would mean to you if she and your husband tried to be nicer to one another and get along, and how your marriage is being affected.

Spend time together: Don’t let the difficulties of caregiving and the issues with your husband and your mother take the joy out of your marriage. Make time to reconnect and have fun. If date nights and weekends away aren’t possible, find connection in the small, everyday moments. Even running errands as a team can offer time together in an otherwise packed schedule. Make little romantic gestures like a walk around the block while the sun is setting, a candlelit (takeout) dinner, or hidden love notes. Little actions can go a long way!

If you are able to get away, technology such as the Lively Urgent Response device can keep your relative connected to help in case of an emergency, so you can have peace of mind that they can get assistance even if you’re not there.

Space is good too: Offer your partner some space. He’ll likely want to get away for some alone time since he is experiencing such stressful times with your mother in the house. Don’t take it personally and encourage each other to get out of the house, do things you love, or take up new hobbies.

Get support: Don’t be afraid to ask for backup. Look to family, friends, community resources, and respite care to help you take time for your relationship. Check into the possibility of hiring an in-home caregiver for a few hours so you and your spouse can go to a dinner and a movie.

By prioritizing your relationship through teamwork, understanding and patience, you can hopefully not only cope with the challenges of caregiving but create a bond that may be better than ever.

Make family roles clear: Both your mother and your spouse have equally important places in your life, although generally one’s spouse has the stronger allegiance. However, there are times and circumstances when one of them has to take center stage—particularly in cases of a mother’s illness. It is up to you to evaluate who should get top billing, and communicate to the other why he or she has to take the backseat at the moment.

Other Alternatives

Most people would prefer to age in their home or in the home of a loved one, but they often can’t do so for the long-term. Or, the living situation might no longer work for your family or your loved one. This may be the case in your situation, if you are unable to get your marriage back on track. If your elderly parent is showing signs that he or she needs more assistance, or if aging in place is no longer the best option for one reason or another, it is time to consider other alternatives.

Whether the outcome is assisted living or nursing home care, it is essential to plan ahead, since assisted living costs $6,000 to $9,000 per month and nursing homes cost $10,000 to $14,000 a month in the Northern Virginia / Metro DC area. If you are going through this situation, please contact us to make an appointment for a no-cost initial consultation to discuss long-term care planning. If you know someone else who is going through this situation, please forward this information to them.

Fairfax Elder Law Attorney: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Elder Law Attorney: 540-479-1435
Rockville Elder Law Attorney: 301-519-8041
DC Elder Law Attorney: 202-587-2797

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Seven Marathons in Seven Days with Parkinson’s?

Bret Parker has had Parkinson’s for 11 years, since he was 38 years old. Recently, he made an amazing goal for himself of running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days, and nothing was going to stop him from achieving it. That was his attitude, anyway, but was it enough to help him achieve his extremely ambitious goal?

Since Bret was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he has been on the hunt for personal challenges, which have included the New York City Marathon, a triathlon along the Long Island Sound, and even a jump out of an airplane. Then, there was this- the World Marathon Challenge. Let’s see how he fared:

Bret’s first marathon was in Antarctica, but during a warmer season (temperatures were around 20 degrees Fahrenheit). Similar to the 50 or so others on the adventure with him, he wore ski goggles and trail shoes and lots of layers of clothing. Unlike them, however, he carried a tiny plastic bag of pills that he was regularly popping to help ward off the stiffness, cramping and tremors of his Parkinson’s. Bret crossed the finish line in just under 6 hours, 23 minutes, with a few Parkinson’s-related symptoms—uncontrollable head-to-toe shivering and aches and pains — along the way. At the end, his hands had curled up, his calves were cramping and he struggled to speak. However, with a positive “1 down, and 6 to go” attitude, he was ready to do it again in Cape Town, South Africa eight hours later. He had an easier run in Cape Town, and crossed the finish line there at a similar pace.

Bret’s third marathon was in Perth, Australia. Prior to the race, the top of his right foot and his left shin hurt badly. He also had developed blisters, including a huge one on the ball of his left foot. He sent out a Facebook post a half-hour before the start that said, “It’s possible I won’t make it through this one.” With lots of encouragement from family and friends and his own personal drive for success, he crossed the finish line with eight minutes to spare.

Bret mostly walked at a slower pace during the next three marathons — in Dubai, Lisbon and Cartagena, Colombia. When he arrived in Miami for his 7th and final marathon of the challenge, he could barely walk off the plane. With encouragement from friends, family, and strangers who heard about him through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Bret felt euphoric that the end was in sight and embarked on the race. A chorus of loud cheers erupted as Bret crossed the finish line. He flashed seven fingers as he broke through the tape. He did it!

A Crazy Challenge

Running seven marathons in seven days can be damaging to a perfectly healthy adult. But having Parkinson’s doesn’t necessarily make it more so, said Melissa J. Nirenberg, a neurologist and researcher who treated Bret for the first 10 years after his diagnosis.

Nirenberg had the same reaction as many of Bret’s friends when he told her of his plans. She remembers saying, “What in the world are you thinking?” She did note, however, that exercise is known to slow the progression of the disease’s symptoms.

Bret’s Amazing Attitude

The way Bret challenges himself and his uplifting attitude and accomplishments have brought attention and awareness to himself and to Parkinson’s disease. Bret has become an advocate for the disease on social media, where he has built a support network that spans continents and includes people he’s never met. His feats have attracted donations totaling in excess of $215,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

According to Bret, “Parkinson’s has given me the freedom, the liberty to take on these things, even though they seem ridiculous,” Bret said in an interview. “It helps me get over a fear of water, it helps me raise money, it gives me a goal. It’s a lot better story when I’m trying to tell people to donate to be able to say I’m doing my part. “Also,” he added, “I don’t want it to be in charge of me.”

Bret is a husband, a father, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (from where I and another Farr Law Firm attorney, Sara Entis, also graduated), and he is also the executive director of the New York City Bar Association. See the video of his story and marathon experience here.

Similar to Bret, the Washington Post published another story about a man with Parkinson’s who took up boxing to keep his body from freezing up. Read about him here.

Mental and Physical Toughness for Those with Parkinson’s

Many people with Parkinson’s and other chronic diseases without a cure find lots of ways to stay positive – from small, everyday things like keeping a diary of positive moments, to longer-term relaxation activities, such as taking up yoga or meditation classes. Many also do what they can to stay mentally and physically tough, to stave off the effects of the disease for as long as possible.

Here are some ways to stay mentally and physically strong if you have Parkinson’s:

1. Get the emotions out. Go ahead and get mad, throw a fit, cry for a while, then get over it and get on with your life.
2. Laugh a lot. Laughter stimulates all parts of the brain, including the parts of the brain that produce dopamine. Laughter enables dopamine to be released into the system and this is helpful for alleviating some of the physical and emotional symptoms of Parkinson’s. Laughter releases happy hormones, including dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. The biochemical changes that occur during laughter create a more positive state of mind and a more optimistic outlook.
3. Exercise or at least get up off the couch and move. Maybe you found the story about Bret Parker motivational, or at least were inspired by his can-do attitude. Remember, you don’t have to run seven marathons, or even one! Take a walk, stretch. . . do what you can! Just keep moving. If you don’t use it, you might lose it!

Anyone can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s or any other debilitating disease. Remember, even though you may have certain obstacles and setbacks, life can be pretty amazing if you choose to adapt to it. Hopefully, Bret and others will inspire you to stay positive, have a can-do attitude, and do what you can to make your life the best it can be!

Do you or a Loved One Suffer from Parkinson’s or Another Debilitating Disease?

If you or a loved one is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care or if you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), please call at one of the numbers below to make an appointment for an initial no-cost consultation, or sign up for one of our upcoming seminars:

Fairfax Elder Law: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Elder Law: 540-479-1435
Rockville Elder Law: 301-519-8041
DC Elder Law: 202-587-2797

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The Farr Law Firm Congratulates Sunrise Senior Living

Congratulations Sunrise Senior Living. According to the J.D. Power 2018 Senior Living Satisfaction Study, Sunrise Senior Living ranks highest among senior living communities with an overall satisfaction score of 802, driven primarily by high scores in caregiver and staff; services and activities; rooms, building and grounds; food and beverage; and service setup and new resident orientation. Holiday Retirement (792) ranks second and Capital Senior Living Corporation (780) ranks third.

The study is based on responses from 2,539 residents (or their decision-maker) living in an independent or assisted-living community within the previous five years, and was fielded in October-December 2017. Sunrise started right here in Fairfax.

For more information about the Senior Living Satisfaction Study, visit

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Why is Congress baiting Virginia for internet loan sharks?

baiting sharks

Thanks to the House of Delegate voting down HB 1248, Virginia will not be baiting for loansharks. Unfortunately, there is another big threat out there and this time it’s Bills in the U.S. Congress, including one sponsored by own Senator Warner.

H.R. 3299 and S. 1642 are Bills in both Houses of Congress that make it easier for internet loansharks to use sham connections to banks to ignore our state law. The sole purpose of these bills is to enable non bank lenders to use bank partnerships to override state interest rate limits.   The Bills would bless arrangements such as the partnership between the payday lender Elevate and Republic Bank through which Elevate is using to justify their 100% APR loans in Virginia (their loans are so confusing that the 100% APR is an estimate).

In Virginia, we have made a lot of progress.  The Virginia Poverty Law Center is doing our part to drive out illegal internet loansharks.  We have sued several internet lenders and forced them to stop lending in Virginia.   The Attorney General of Virginia has also done his part to stop these internet loansharks by filing lawsuits that force them to return illegal interest and stop lending in Virginia. Further, the Virginia General Assembly has done its part by defeating HB 1248.

Tell your congressmen and Senators to do their part too.  Don’t offer Virginia as bait to internet loansharks–vote NO on H.R. 3299 and S. 1642.

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Working to Improve Laws for Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims

DV photo

Every year at the Virginia General Assembly, VPLC supports, opposes and/or works to amend legislative initiatives that affect domestic and sexual violence victims. This year is no exception. As we approach Crossover (the point at which each chamber—the House of Delegates and the Senate—must finish hearing its own bills), we’ve highlighted some of the bills that have failed or that we expect to become law:

HB 262 (Delegate Jason Miyares) is a bill to prevent abusers with protective orders against them from cutting off victims’ cell phones. This safety measure  passed the House unanimously and reported out of Senate Courts of Justice on a 12-3 vote.

HB 807  is designed to allow judges to consider a parent’s “other violent abuse” in making a custody or visitation determination. But VPLC and other victim advocates fear its overly broad nature will lead to the unintended consequence of giving abusers yet another tool to use against victims. HB 807 failed to report from the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee.

HB 744  would have had a chilling effect on victims seeking Preliminary Protective Orders (PPOs) by requiring judges to make findings and a summary of allegations when an affidavit is not attached to the other documents served on abusers. In courts in populous areas that are very busy, if this bill were to become law, some judges might refuse to issue PPOs if they were forced to make findings and a summary of allegations. While VPLC supports abusers’ due process rights, HB 744 is burdensome for the court, requiring District Courts that are not courts of record, to MAKE records in what are supposed to be emergency, limited time orders designed to prevent further acts of violence, force or threat.  HB 744 failed to report out of the full House Courts of Justice Committee on a bipartisan 11-7 vote.  The Senate version of this bill, SB 85  passed the Senate, and will now be heard by the House.

A good bill, SB 952 (Senator Richard Stuart) passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee only to be carried over to Senate Finance Committee in 2019 (failed to report for 2018). The bill would have given discretion to judges to issue longer protective orders than the current two-year term under circumstances where the abuser has also been convicted of a violent felony such as malicious wounding or strangulation. VPLC supported this bill (and its House companion, HB 1335 patroned by Delegate Bourne) as a common sense way to prevent victims from having to relive their trauma every two years.

For more information on these or other 2018 bills that affect domestic or sexual violence victims, contact Susheela Varky,Director, Center for Family Advocacy, at or 804-351-5274.”

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