Critter Corner: YouTube Videos Teach Seniors New Skills

Dear Magic,

Welcome to the Farr Law Firm! I hear you really “work your magic” when it comes to technology questions, similar to Commander Bun Bun, so here goes: My mother is a shut-in, but would like to learn new skills to keep her brain sharpand to stay in shape. Do you know of any videos she can watch, that are specifically for seniors?


Lauren Newskills


Dear Lauren,

Seniors are encouraged to stay active and engaged to keep their minds sharp, and some YouTube videos are a great way to do so. Below are some examples of videos that teach new skills and fitness videos that your mother may enjoy.

  • Senior Citizen Forever Young Cardio Aerobics–Join Senior aerobics instructor, Victoria Popoff, as she dances and instructs to some timeless tracks. Sweat to the oldies with this fun and effective workout, perfect for anyone seeking for low impact cardio. And who knows, you may even learn a new step or two.
  • Learn a New Language– Innovative Language Learning is a fun way to learn a new language. Whether you’re studying for work or travel, or simply enjoy learning languages, you’ll find the perfect solution right here.
  • Learn to Paint for Beginners– If you are looking to learn how to paint in oils and acrylics and you are a beginner then check out these free video courses for beginners you will discover how easy it can be learning to paint.
  • Learn to Cook- Cooking Basics– Gordon Ramsay compiled five previous videos into one, helping you to master your basic skills in the kitchen. Cooking rice, chopping an onion, sharpening a knife, deboning a fish and cooking pasta.
  • Pilates for Seniors-Great Pilates Workout for Beginners and Seniors–Looking for a low impact way to tone and strengthen your entire body?! Try this short workout and introduction into the wonderful world of Pilates. This is a floor workout but this is also something that could be tried from the comfort of your own couch or bed, safely of course.
  • Gardening for Seniors– Seniors at the Thomas A. Glazier Senior Education Center use gardening to gain new skills and stay social.
  • Actively Aging Energizing Chair Yoga–Yoga is arguably one of the best types of workouts for seniors as it is notoriously low impact and utilizes personal strengths while improving weak areas.

Hop your mother enjoys these and other videos and learning opportunities for seniors on YouTube, and elsewhere online.


About Magic: Magic is a two-year old mixed-breed rabbit adopted from the Loudoun County Animal Shelter where he gained experience as a small-pet educator.  Although he was adored by staff, volunteers and the many children he taught, he felt his true calling was to be a greeter and counselor of clients at the Farr Law Firm, and a co-author of the Critter Corner blog with his new pal, Angel.  His writing and ministrations will be geared toward letting clients know that they can prevail through difficult times when a special some-bunny is there to guide them through the rabbit hole of Medicaid.

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My Wife is in a Nursing Home- Now What Do I Do with All This Free Time?


Q. My wife has dementia, and your firm recently helped us qualify for Medicaid. At first, I never thought it would be possible, but it was, and I am forever grateful for your assistance. She is now in a nursing home, and seems content and I am happy with the services she is being provided thus far. I know she is in the right place for her at this time, but I am having a hard time getting used to the transition. It’s very different being all by myself, after 50 years of marriage, and ten years of being her full-time caregiver.

I visit my wife every day at the nursing home, but it’s honestly beginning to wear on me. I want her to know that she is loved, and I want to continue to read her books, but our son could tell I am stressed and recently suggested that I go home and take some time for myself.

I’ve never had this much time for myself, as I’m used to helping her with everything. Do you have any ideas of what I can do to help with the transition? Also, what do seniors in Fairfax do with their “me time” to avoid getting bored and depressed?

A. For family members caring for a relative with dementia in the community, the transition of nursing home placement may be difficult to get used to at first. Besides no longer being a full-time caregiver, you need to get used to transitioning to an empty nest, and figure out how to keep busy and feel healthy, happy, social, and fulfilled in your life.

A five-year study recently examined the effect of long-term care placement on 180 community-dwelling dementia caregivers, and it provides us with some interesting findings. Family caregivers were assessed both before and after their relative was placed in a long-term care facility to determine the impact of this transition on the caregivers.   Although 80%-90% of the family caregivers reported adequate satisfaction with the care in the placement facility, findings from the study show that most, if now all, had a difficult time transitioning from their prior roles, as follows:

  • Those who were caregivers to a spouse remained highly involved with their relatives following admission to a long-term care facility. Following placement, about half of spousal caregivers visited daily and an additional 45% reported at least weekly visits.
  • Among non-spousal family caregivers, a quarter visited daily and an additional two-thirds reported weekly visits.
  • The majority of the caregivers visited their relatives on a regular basis and performed tasks similar to those carried out when the care recipient was living at home, such as managing money, arranging medical care and transportation, and providing social support, when there was not as much need to do so!

According to the National Institute of Nursing Research of the NIH, using interactive, Web-based videos developed by Fox Learning Systems, Inc. ( and skills training in mood management, family members can gain the knowledge and skills needed to cope with this transition.

Knowledge of the long-term care systems can aid families during this difficult period. Getting this information to families can be a challenge.  Recently, The Rite Aid Drug Store Chain has launched a national caregiving campaign using videos supplied by Fox Learning Systems. Facilities can use the Rite Aid Giving Care for Parents site as a great educational tool in learning more about clinical, legal and financial concerns. The educational videos are free to the public.

What to Do When You Have Time for Yourself

A big part of making everyday life easier for yourself is establishing a daily routine of activities to keep busy and engaged. Once you get to know which activities are of interest and enjoyable, you will hopefully be enjoying the time that you have for yourself! Below are some links that may interest you!

  • Fairfax County Adult & CommunityEducation– Sign up for a class and learn something new! Fairfax County residents 62 years of age or older may opt for a 25 percent tuition discount!
  • Fairfax County Adult Sports Team Directory– Play a sport and want to join a local team? There is a Golden Girls softball team in Fairfax, and lots of other opportunities inother sports!
  • Center Without Walls– In Burke and West Springfield, programming focuses primarily on exercise and fitness for older adults, including Tai Chi and Zumba classes. In other parts of the county, programming includessocial gatherings and continuing education for older adults, including technology workshops, trips, current events discussions and guest speakers/lecturers on a variety of topics.
  • Chronic Disease Management Program-This program offersworkshops that areheld at senior centers, churches, libraries, and hospitals throughout the county.
  • Creative Aging (Video)
  • Everyday Yoga for Mature Adults(Video)
  • JCC of Northern Virginia Adult Services-The Adult Services Department at the JCC offers social and self-development programs and activities for adults of all ages. Subject areas include cultural activities, such as films, concerts, and lectures; Judaic programs, such as Hebrew and Yiddish language classes; outreach programming for adults 55+; and, social activities such as day trips and theatre outings.
  • Fairfax Libraries – 50 and BetterMore than 200 adult events are offered each month including author talks, wellness activities, reading programs, writers groups, lectures, crafting and technology workshops. Pick up an events calendar or read it online tosee what events are planned each month.
  • Fairfax Parks and Recreation– Sign up for hundreds of classes, events, and programs throughout Fairfax County:

Park Authority – 50+

Parktakes – Classes

Day Trips and Tours

Rec Centers

  • Pets and Older Adults(Video)
  • Fairfax Senior Centers– Fairfax Senior Centers are recreation centers for adults ages 50 and over. Hundreds of active older adults from around the county have become registered members of the county’s network of Senior Centers to pursue hobbies, fitness goals, special interests (such as art, music, and technology), friendships and enjoy a wide variety of activities with their peers. Center programs and activities are as diverse as the needs and interests of the communities they serve. Meals and transportation options are also available (eligibility and fees apply)
  • Fairfax Supportive Services for Older Adults-Supportive services for older adults enables seniors with minor cognitive and physical disabilities to actively participate in the day-to-day activities atFairfax County Senior Centers. The program is provided in partnership with ServiceSource – a local non-profit organization with extensive background in supporting older adults and adults with disabilities.
  • Stroke Club
  • Fairfax Therapeutic Recreation-Fairfax Therapeutic Recreation offers services, education and resources to meet the needs of participants and assist them on the road toward lifelong participation and enjoyment in recreation and leisure activities. Staff also providessupport and advocacy to individuals who wish to participate in general recreation activities.

Volunteer with . . .

Make Connections

Find . . .

Subscribe to . . .

For more details about these services in the Rockville area, in DC, in Fredericksburg, or elsewhere, be sure to visit your local Agency on Aging website. Also, be sure to check with your religious institution for guidance, activities, and support services. Meetup is another excellent resource for get togethers with like-minded folks. Join a Meetup group! There are thousands at or on their App.

Visit Your Wife and Plan for Yourself!

While you are busy doing all of the activities this area has to offer for seniors, don’t forget to visit your wife! 🙂 She may have dementia, but she knows you are there, and I am sure she knows she is loved by you!

It is also always prudent to plan ahead for yourself — including the need tomake updates to your own estate planning and long-term care planning documents. Now that your wife is on Medicaid, we need to plan in the event you wind up needing nursing home care in the future. Please be sure to come in as soon as possible for your follow up 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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Playgrounds for an Aging Population are Popping Up in Fairfax and Worldwide

Megan called her parents the other day to check-in and see how they are doing. She was surprised when her dad told her that her mom was at the playground. How could that be? Her only close-by grandchildren were at camp that day!

Her dad explained that she goes to the senior playground once or twice a week for exercise and to see her friends, and that there are now a couple of these types of playgrounds in Fairfax!

Senior playgrounds are growing in popularity in the Metro DC area, and worldwide. The first senior citizen playground is believed to have been built in China in 1995, when China adopted a law involving a nationwide physical fitness program that focused on its senior citizens. After the law was put into effect, parks across China incorporated equipment that seniors could use. As more people visited China from other countries and saw the equipment and increased well-being of China’s seniors, they incorporated similar practices in their communities. Similar parks were established throughout Japan, and are referred to as Nursing Care Prevention Parks. Senior playgrounds were subsequently established in Finland, Berlin, Germany, Canada, England and the United States. Today, they are found worldwide.

How Do Senior Citizen Playgrounds Differ from Traditional Playgrounds?

As science continues to show the correlation between exercise, health, and fitness and the importance of these things to seniors, playgrounds for the older population are in high demand. A senior citizen playground emphasizes core muscle strength and focuses on activities such as walking, building strength, and increasing flexibility. Some equipment is designed for use by those with limited mobility or those who are wheelchair-bound. These playgrounds differ from traditional playgrounds in that you won’t find monkey bars, high slides, or jungle gyms, but rather, you’ll see equipment that is safer for the joints, and activities that encourage gentle strengthening and flexibility. However, you might find some traditional items, such as swings or a see-saw.

Senior Playgrounds Have Lots of Benefits

Exercise is key to a long, healthy life. While exercise and proper diet are components of preventative medicine, it is never too late to start getting in shape. A playground designed for senior citizens offers a chance to enjoy more exercise than simply walking back and forth. The following are additional benefits of senior playgrounds:

  • They offer variety: A variety of equipment encourages activity and mobility without risking boredom. The variety helps ensure that you get a well-rounded workout.
  • They are free to use: You aren’t paying anyone for a membership, nor do you need to worry about getting your money’s worth. You are free to come and go as you please and can use the equipment of your choosing.
  • They counter isolation and loneliness: Seniors can become isolated and lonely, causing them to fall into depression. Access to outdoor play spaces may also help counter the isolation and associated mood disorders that affect many older people, which the World Health Organization predicts will be the second-leading cause of disability globally by 2020. By visiting a senior citizen playground, you can interact with others who understand and relate to your situation. Building friendships can be easier on the playground.
  • They foster socialization: Some equipment is designed for more than one person, and this fosters socialization, working together, and building friendships in a fun atmosphere. Simply getting outside and having fun while making new friends is just as healthy as exercising muscles, building stamina, and increasing flexibility.
    They improve balance: Seniors playgrounds feature equipment that promotes low-impact exercise. The equipment includes static bikes, body flexors and elliptical machines that help promote flexibility and balance. The hope is that improving balance in seniors through fun activities can lead to fewer falls.
  • They bring communities together: Following construction of multi-generational or senior playgrounds, some seniors form groups to continue their physical activity and socialization. The playgrounds help revitalize outdated parks and bring communities together through shared fun. In some communities, grandparents are the primary caregivers for children while parents work, and the multigenerational playgrounds offer a common activity space. Sometimes these types of playgrounds can even draw in middle school and high school students who want to use the adult fitness equipment.
  • They Make Fiscal Sense: The senior playgrounds and parks make fiscal sense too as investing in programs that keep the population healthy and alert may reduce the amount of expensive health care costs.

Fairfax County is Investing in Outdoor Fitness for Seniors

According to the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), “outdoor fitness is an emerging trend nationwide that provides an opportunity to address health equity issues and to improve parks and communities.” In early 2015, FCPA launched a study of outdoor fitness as a possible way to meet the health and recreation needs of county residents. The benefits of the outdoor playground for seniors and other residents were agreed upon, and an outdoor gym was built at Gum Springs Community Center in the Mount Vernon Area, and another popped up in Lincolnia Park, using money from a grant from the Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Company. Others are being planned for the future.

In the past few years, KaBOOM, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that helps communities create play facilities, has built more than 50 multigenerational playgrounds at costs ranging from $25,000 to more than $100,000, with help from corporate sponsorships.

Take Care of Yourself

Exercise and physical activity are an important part of healthy aging. They can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions affecting older adults. So, be sure to take steps to preserve your health and well-being (and also be sure to check with a doctor before you start an exercise program). Remember, part of taking care of yourself is planning for your future and for your loved ones. Please call us to make an appointment for a no-cost initial 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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