Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nursing Home Costs Rising Drastically

Written by Evan Farr

At least 70% of people over 65 will need long term care services and support at some point in their lifetime. To help families evaluate long-term care options and costs, the insurance company Genworth recently released the 2014 Cost of Care Survey.

For the past 11 years, Genworth has surveyed long term care costs across the country.  This year, 14,800 nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day health facilities and home care providers in 440 regions nationwide were surveyed, providing a comprehensive report. These are some of the findings for the Northern Virginia area and the Fredericksburg/Richmond area:

  • The median cost of a private nursing home room in the Northern Virginia area has increased 8% to $112,968 a year ($120,709 a year in a recent NY Life Study). In the Fredericksburg/Richmond area, the cost increased 3% to $91,250.
  • The median cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home in the Northern Virginia area has increased 7% to $107,128 a year.  In the Fredericksburg/Richmond area, the cost increased 3% to $79,388.
  • For assisted living facilities, the median rate increase was 5% to $48,930 a year in the Northern Virginia area. In the Fredericksburg/Richmond area, the cost increased 5% to $48,030.
  • The median salary for the services of a home health aide was $45,760 a year in the Northern Virginia area. In the Fredericksburg/Richmond area, the median salary increased 1% to $41,184.
  • The cost of adult day care, which provides support services in a protective setting during part of the day, increased 6% to $24,960 a year in Northern Virginia. In the Fredericksburg/Richmond area, the cost decreased 1% to $41,184.

As you can tell from the survey data, long term care can have a major financial impact.  It is definitely 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. Learn more at The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. website. Call 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

Visit Your Parents Often . . . or Else

Written by Evan Farr

Lola Wang is a 28-year-old marketing officer in China, who works long hours and rarely takes time off. With her demanding schedule, she can only make two six-hour trips each year to visit her elderly parents. By visiting them so infrequently, she could be breaking the law.

According to a CNN article, Wang’s dilemma is faced by many young people in China, especially since a new national law called the “Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged” was enacted last year. The law requires the offspring of parents older than 60 to visit their parents “frequently” and make sure their financial and spiritual needs are met. If adult children refuse to do so, they must pay their parents a monthly allowance. The law also stipulates that children cannot give up their inheritance rights in attempt to evade their duty to take care of their parents.

The Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged was passed by China’s legislature after a spate of reports about elderly parents neglected by their children. Although respect for the elderly is still deeply engrained in Chinese culture, traditional values have been weakened by the country’s modernization.

One of the drafters of the law, Xiao Jinming, a law professor at Shandong University, said the new law was primarily aimed at raising awareness. “It is mainly to stress the right of elderly people to ask for emotional support. We want to emphasize there is such a need,” he said.

The legislation also allows for the elderly to sue their children but does not specify the process or what penalties they might face if they are found guilty. The first of such lawsuits involved a 77-year-old woman who sued her daughter for neglecting her. The local court ruled that her daughter must visit her at least twice a month and provide financial support.

There is probably little risk that any similar law would be enacted in the U.S.  However, thirty states, including Virginia and Maryland, have filial responsibility laws on the books making children financially responsible for the care of their indigent parents.  According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, 21 states allow a civil court action to obtain financial support or cost recovery, 12 states impose criminal penalties on children who do not support their parents, and three states allow both civil and criminal actions.

Filial responsibility laws in the United States obligate adult children to pay for their indigent parents’ food, clothing, shelter, and medical needs – including nursing home care. When the children fail to do so, nursing homes and government agencies can bring legal action to recover the cost of caring for the parents. Not only can they sue you for the money, but in some states, as mentioned above, adult children can go to jail if they fail to provide filial support.

It used to be that many states rarely enforced their filial support laws, except in the most gruesome cases of neglect. Recently, more and more cases are hitting the courts. Examples include a case in North Dakota, where Elden Linderkamp had to pay Four Seasons Healthcare $104,276.62 for his parent’s care and a case in Pennsylvania, where John Pittas received the nursing-home bill of $93,000 for his mother, and was held liable. Please read our blog post “More Filial Responsibility Cases are Ending Up in Court,” for more details.

The only way you can make sure you do not fall victim to a filial support action is by planning ahead. Children need to be proactive regarding how their parents are financing their long-term care. Some families of modest means may assume Medicaid will cover a parent’s care once the parent has depleted savings and other resources. But it’s a huge mistake to assume that Medicaid will be easy to obtain.

Medicaid laws are the most complex laws in existence, with 8 separate bodies of law (4 at the Federal level and 4 at the state level) dealing with Medicaid and Medicaid eligibility.  To do proper Medicaid asset protection planning, families need the help of an experienced elder law attorney, preferably a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and the best time to do Medicaid Asset Protection planning is now.  Whether your parents are years away from needing nursing home care, are already in a nursing facility, or somewhere in between, the time to plan is now, not when your parents are about to run out of money.  Call Virginia Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. today at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

Do You Get “High-Quality” Sleep?

Written by Evan Farr

A new study involving 2,822 senior men, averaging 76 years old, confirms the link between sleep quality and the development of future cognitive decline.

The study, published in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep, was conducted by collecting sleep data from the participants through a wrist device for an average of five nights, and then administering tests that measure executive function, including planning, making decisions, correcting errors, troubleshooting, and abstract thinking. Results showed that “poor quality” sleep was associated with a 40% to 50% increase in the odds of clinically significant decline in executive function, which was similar to the effect of a five-year increase in age. In contrast, sleep duration was not related to subsequent cognitive decline.

“It was the quality of sleep that predicted future cognitive decline in this study, not the quantity,” said lead author Terri Blackwell, MA, senior statistician at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco. Poor quality sleep was determined by reduced sleep efficiency, greater nighttime wakefulness, greater number of long wake episodes, and poor self-reported sleep quality.

“With the rate of cognitive impairment increasing and the high prevalence of sleep problems in the elderly, it is important to determine prospective associations with sleep and cognitive decline.” Further research is needed to determine if this association remains after a longer follow-up period, the study authors said.

As you can see, and as you probably know from life experience, getting a good night’s sleep makes a huge difference. Besides a good night’s sleep, another important thing to do is to keep up with your planning while your mind is still sharp. If you have not done Incapacity Planning, Estate Planning, or Long-Term Care Planning, or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please contact The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. as soon as possible at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to schedule your appointment for an introductory consultation.

 

A Healthy Body Starts with a Happy Mind

Written by Evan Farr

Self-esteem and confidence issues are often associated with teenagers experiencing growing pains. However, seniors can also experience difficulty with their feelings of worth as they grow older. Studies have shown that self-esteem begins to decline in old age as people start to deal with retirement, empty nests, and health concerns.

Good self-esteem in seniors is important for both the body and the mind. In fact, a recent study  by Concordia University’s Center for Research in Human Development suggests that feelings of self-confidence and self-worth correlate to a lower incidence of health problems.

The study looked at 147 adults over the age of 60 and measured their self-esteem, cortisol, perceived stress levels, and any depressive symptoms they have had over a four-year period. The findings were that participants with lower self-esteem and a history of depression and stress had higher cortisol levels. Too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, can have negative side effects like weight gain, sleep problems, digestive issues, and even memory impairment.

One way seniors can maintain and improve their self-esteem is to socialize and prevent isolation, researchers suggested, as loneliness can be a major health concern in older adults. Another University of Chicago study suggests that loneliness can increase the chances of premature death by up to 14%. Health experts say older people can increase their self esteem by taking care of their health and appearance, spending time with friends and family, volunteering, and managing their free time. Please read our blog post about mental wellness for some suggestions on how to live life to the fullest with less stress and a positive attitude.

Part of mental and emotional well-being is having a plan in place for your future and for your loved ones. The greatest peace of mind comes with making sure your wishes are met and your loved ones are taken care of, especially if you should become incapacitated or need long-term care. 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 The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Long-Term Care Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

Intelligent Underwear, Smart Shoes, and Other Amazing Innovations for Seniors

Written by Evan Farr

For many Americans today, later life provides an opportunity to re-imagine possibilities, learn new skills, and take on new challenges. To address a generation that has challenged conventional wisdom, a major focus at the recent American Society on Aging (ASA) “Aging in America” conference was on how technology is contributing to greater independence, expanded personal connections, and healthier lifestyles for seniors.

As the number of professional and family caregivers is dwindling, technology can mitigate costs while allowing people to stay active and live independently longer. New possibilities, including the option to plug into healthcare information from home, track symptoms, and access therapy remotely, are making it easier for older adults who are living life more independently.

At the ASA conference, Gail Hunt, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Families, told participants that “the entrepreneurial community has finally woken up to the aging demographic opportunity.” Below are some examples of technological innovations that confirm this statement.

  • Personal airbags for fall protection: ActiveProtective created smart garments, which are underwear that contain 3-D motion sensors to detect falls. If someone’s activity deviates from the norm, indicating a fall, a micro-airbag deploys from the underwear to protect the wearer from injury. The garment also issues a call for help.
  • UTI detecting briefs: Pixie Scientific, the company that developed smart diapers for infants, is now catering to an older audience. Their disposable briefs for seniors contain an indicator panel on the front that screens for urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and monitors hydration. This product is particularly helpful when it comes to identifying conditions before symptoms occur, so treatment can begin early. To screen for UTI’s or dehydration, the senior wearing the disposable brief or his or her caregiver can scan the code on the front of the undergarment with a smartphone, receiving data in less than 10 seconds. If the indicator panel senses a health problem, the person scanning the code is alerted. It takes only one disposable undergarment a day to collect data.
  • Smart pill bottle: AdhereTech has created smart pill bottles that send real-time alerts to seniors when it is time for them to take their pills. For example, when someone is supposed to take his or her medicine, the bottle glows blue. If it isn’t opened, it turns red and begins to beep. AdhereTech’s system also issues reminders via text message or phone call.
  • Remote physical therapy software: Reflexion Health makes physical therapy more effective for patients and more measurable for clinicians. It pairs Kinect for Windows sensor technology with its proprietary software to deliver an interactive solution that helps patients and physicians improve physical therapy results. Patients often receive individual sessions from physical therapists, but do much of their rehab alone, only guided by papers with stick figures that illustrate how to perform the prescribed exercises. This new technology delivers customized therapy plans to help these patients remotely.
  • Parkinson’s spoon: Liftlabs Design developed a special spoon to balance tremors, designed to help those with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease eat independently. Sensors in the handle detect the tremor, then the spoon steadies the user’s hand.
  • Smart footwear: Plantiga invented Suspnd footwear that supply real-time data, with information on weight transfer, distribution, and other movement patterns. Data can be sent to various smartphone apps, and used for diagnostics, improving sports performance, in addition to other purposes. As Plantiga says on its website: “Bio-sensing from footwear enables better decisions for people who suffer musculoskeletal problems, diabetic neuropathy and plantar fasciitis, among other” conditions.
  • Specialized Mental Health Help: ThriveOn, an online and mobile service, offers counseling for people with mental health issues without long wait times, in-person interactions, or high fees. When you sign up, you take an assessment that examines your mood, stress, anxiety level, body image, and sleep habits. Then, you begin a personalized program that combines reading, interactive exercises, mood and behavior tracking, and weekly feedback from a ThriveOn coach.
  • Smart thermometer: Kinsa is a thermometer that integrates with your smartphone. It shows degree-by-degree rise in body temperature and it helps make sense of your symptoms. It taps into “health weather,” a database that considers, for example, if the flu or strep throat is affecting your community. You can show your phone to your doctor, and he or she will have instant access to the data Kinsa has collected.
  • Thermometer that reads vitals:  The Scanadu Scout measures temperature, heart rate and hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your blood, in 10 seconds. That information is then transmitted to your smartphone, so you can track and analyze your vitals.
  • Alzheimer’s test: The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE test) is an Alzheimer’s test that can be administered at home or in group settings (such as health fairs), and has proven to be reliable. Please read our blog post, “Do you have Alzheimer’s? There’s a new tool to help you check” for more details.

Most people want to stay in their home for as long as possible. However, if you or a loved one cannot live independently and are showing signs that living alone is a strain, it may be time to consider other alternatives. Broaching this subject with loved ones can be challenging. Please read our blog post, “When Dad is Resistant About Assisted Living” for more details on how to have a conversation with a loved one about long-term care options.

If, on the other hand, you or your loved one has a full life, a close neighborhood and community connections, and seems to be thriving, it’s worth exploring as many in-home care options as possible.

Whether the outcome is in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care in the future, it is always wise to plan ahead. Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection is the process of protecting assets from having to be spent down in connection with entry into assisted living or nursing home care, 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. Learn more at http://www.VirginiaElderLaw.com and call us at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

John Travolta: Dyslexia or Dementia?

Written by Evan Farr

During the March 5 Academy Awards show, John Travolta took the stage and introduced Idina Menzel, but as he read her name from the teleprompter, he said ”Adele Dazeem” instead. An estimated 43 million people saw the flub, and the media has been mocking him relentlessly ever since, especially since he attended rehearsals.

Menzel, who acted in ”Rent” onstage and on-screen in “Wicked,” recently became a household name with her hit song,”Let It Go,” from the animated film “Frozen.”

The incident placed dyslexia in the spotlight as the possible reason for Travolta’s “oops” moment. Dyslexia is a life-long condition, characterized by difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling. Experts explain that dyslectics have difficulty in accurately interpreting the printed word and in matching the words with their appropriate sounds.

However, dyslexia may not be the culprit after all. Members of the media also mentioned the possibility of aphasia. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Aphasia can cause problems with spoken and written language, and some people with aphasia have trouble using words and sentences. A person with mild aphasia may have trouble finding the words (called “anomia”) to express an idea or explain himself/herself, similar to having a word “on the tip of your tongue.”

Aphasia is sometimes the result of a stroke, a severe head injury, or other types of cognitive problems, such as memory loss or confusion. Sometimes temporary episodes of aphasia can occur, which can be due to migraines or seizures.

What if not being able to recognize someone famous was more than a “tip-of-the-tongue” moment? Primary progressive aphasia is a form of dementia typically found in people younger than 65 that affects communication and language function, such as the ability to express thoughts or find the correct word. Although media sources have not indicated that Travolta has any type of dementia, the incident at the Academy Awards calls attention to aphasia, including primary progressive aphasia.

Would you be able to recognize the names and faces of famous people, such as Oprah, Bill Gates or John F. Kennedy? In research published in the journal “Neurology,” scientists developed a test involving 30 people, ages 40-65, who have primary progressive aphasia, and a group of 27 people without dementia. All were asked to identify photos of famous faces, likely to be known by 40-60 year-old Americans, by name or, if they couldn’t name them, to provide at least two relevant details about them.

Brain scans taken during the exam showed those who had trouble naming faces had deterioration in the left and right temporal lobe of the brain. Researchers found that those with dementia were only able to name the faces 46% of the time and provide some details 79% of the time, while those without dementia averaged 93% and 97% respectively.

Early-onset dementia can be difficult to diagnose because there are many different types of dementia with overlapping symptoms that are sometimes attributed to normal lifestyle factors like stress. In Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, about 4% of the estimated 5 million cases in the U.S. are people in their 40s and 50s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

As for Travolta, it is unknown whether he might have dyslexia, aphasia, or something else entirely, or whether it was just a one-time “oops” moment. 

Have you or a family member been having ”oops” moments? If these types of ”oops” moments happen regularly, it may be time to see a neurologist or other specialist for a screening and possible diagnosis.  Persons with dementia and their families face special legal and financial needs. At The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Dementia Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from dementia and their loved ones.  If you have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, we can help you prepare for your future financial and long-term care needs.  We help protect the family’s hard-earned assets while maintaining your loved one’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring eligibility for critical government benefits. 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), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

 

 

Job Posting: Legal Assistant – Medicaid and Veterans Benefits (Fairfax, VA)

Written by Evan Farr

 

The Farr Law Firm, a busy, dynamic, and growing Elder Law firm in Fairfax City, seeks a Full-Time Legal Assistant to assist with helping our clients obtain Long-Term Care Medicaid and Veterans Benefits. Position entails significant personal contact with elderly and/or disabled clients and their family members. Medicaid training will be provided if necessary, but applicant must be a fast learner and be able to work both independently and as part of a team.

 

 

Duties will include:

-  Analyzing, understanding, categorizing, and sorting all types of financial documents;
- Scanning said documents and organizing them into electronic folders using established naming conventions;
- Entering extracted data into Excel spreadsheets;
- Maintainting frequent contact with clients to:
- obtain financial, personal, and health-related information from them as needed;
- inform them of all case developments and update them regularly on case status;
- explain asset protection strategies the firm is recommending;
- assist with implementation of desired asset protection strategies;

You must:

- have strong financial skills, analytical skills, and organizational skills;
- have strong phone experience and a very pleasant phone personality;
- be extremely personable and patient — a true “people person”;
- be a detail-oriented quick learner, self-starter, and hard worker who enjoys working with and serving as part of a dedicated team of professionals;
- be a good and accurate typist, eager and excited to learn how to use new software programs;
- have highly-developed interpersonal skills; – have a true desire to work in a service-oriented environment where helping our clients is our number one priority;
- be a non-smoker, must not live with a smoker, and must not wear fragrances.

Qualifications:

All candidates will be considered, but the ideal applicant would have excellent academic credentials and at least 5 years of relevant experience. Primary software programs we use are Time Matters, Hot Docs, and WordPerfect. Experience with any or all of these programs would be a plus.

To Apply:

1. Please review our Web site — http://www.VirginiaElderLaw.com — to understand as much as possible about our firm, including a review of the items listed under About Our Firm.

2. Please take a short skills test by visiting the following link: http://es.eskill.com/es/quiz/?testId=4616d2ef9a84b7b5. Provide your name and email, then click “Take Test.” If the link doesn’t work, you can go to http://www.eskill.com and under “Here for a Test?” click Enter and provide the following ID: 4616d2ef9a84b7b5. The test is timed to take no longer than 60 minutes to complete; most applicants are able to complete it in approximately 50 minutes.

3. Once you’ve completed the test, please email your cover letter and resume to “jeannie at farrlawfirm.com,” (of course replacing ” at ” with the “@” symbol). In your cover letter, please explain why this job interests you, and please confirm that you do not smoke, do not live with or frequently associate with smokers, and do not wear fragrances, either at work or elsewhere.

Compensation: based on experience

Beware of Deed Scam

Written by Evan Farr

Last week was National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), a campaign that encourages consumers to take full advantage of their rights and make better-informed decisions. Unfortunately, scams never stop. The NCPW website offers a way to keep up with scams, highlighting some of the most common schemes, with red flags and tips to keep consumers safe.

Attorney General Mark Herring is warning Virginia property owners to be cautious of companies offering to sell them a copy of the deed to their home. Homeowners throughout the state have been receiving official looking letters, often titled as a “Deed Processing Notice,” that offer to sell them a copy of their deed for $83. The letters specify that homeowners must comply by a specific date. Often these letters are received shortly after you’ve purchased your house or refinanced your mortgage. “Even though these letters look like official notices, they are actually solicitations and should be treated as such,” Attorney General Herring said. In other words, these letters are a scam.

You should never need to pay to get a copy of your recorded deed, because you always get the original deed back within a few months after closing – directly from the Settlement Agent who handled your closing. Here’s what happens: when you first buy your home or other real estate, the Settlement Agent who handles your closing sends your deed to the County courthouse to be recorded; after recordation, the courthouse sends your deed back to the Settlement Agent and the Settlement Agent then sends it to you, typically along with your Title Insurance Policy (assuming you purchased Owners Title Insurance, which most buyers do). Most people put that Deed and Title Insurance Policy in a safe location such a bank safe deposit box or a small home safe.

Please keep in mind that the mortgage lender does NOT keep your deed until you pay off your mortgage. That happens with car titles, but not with real estate deeds. If you need your original deed for something and you can’t locate it, you should start by calling the Settlement Agent who handled your closing and asking for a copy. If for some reason they don’t have a copy, or you can’t recall the name of the Settlement Agent, then you can go to the land records division of the county courthouse and obtain a copy of your recorded deed for a very small copying fee. In some smaller counties, you might even be able to call the county land records office and they might be willing to work out sending you a copy without you having to come in to the courthouse.

At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we encourage you to stay informed about this and other scams this Consumer Protection Week and always. Other scams out there include phony charities asking for donations, advance-fee loans, fake checks and identity theft. Read the FBI Common Fraud Schemes Web page or the Better Business Bureau Scam Stopper Web page for more details and be sure to report any scams to the Better Business Bureau. In addition, please read our “Don’t Let Your Mother-in-law Get Duped” post for more details.

Keeping up with scams that are affecting consumers is important. It is also very important to keep up with your planning. If you have not done Incapacity Planning, Estate Planning, or Long-Term Care Planning, or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please contact The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. as soon as possible at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to schedule your appointment for our introductory consultation.

Is Your Town “Dementia Friendly”?

Written by Evan Farr

In Watertown, Wisconsin, several local businesses display small purple angel decals in their windows. The decals indicate that the employees inside have been trained in how to recognize customers with dementia and how to best assist them and their caregivers.

Jan Zimmerman, a nurse in a senior living community in Watertown, initiated the effort and envisions a community where residents are fully educated about dementia, business owners are trained on how to assist customers with memory loss, and people with dementia remain independent for as long as possible.

According to Zimmerman, the participating businesses are part of a “broader effort to educate the town’s 24,000 residents about dementia and to keep those who have the condition engaged in the community by providing the services they need.”

How does it work? People in Watertown who are living with dementia can pick up pocket-sized cards intended to be carried by people with memory loss and presented at retail establishments at monthly support meetings. The cards read: “Thank you for your patience. I am memory impaired and may require a few extra moments. Your cooperation and understanding is much appreciated.” The cards are a subtle way people can signal their situation without having to announce it publicly.

Businesses in the town can take advantage of no-cost, on-site training for their employees, and those that complete training can display a purple angel in their window. Shops with purple angels then make special accommodations for their customers. In the Connection Cafe, a coffee shop similar to Starbucks with trained staff, baristas might encourage those patrons with memory loss to simply point to which size of coffee they want. And at the local bank, employees have been trained to look for signs that customers have been scammed.

The concept of making communities dementia-friendly is spreading in Europe but is just beginning to take hold in the United States. Currently, more than 50 groups have joined in the ACT on Alzheimer’s collaboration to help additional U.S. communities prepare for growing numbers of residents with dementia. According to Lori La Bey, executive director of Alzheimer’s Speaks, “I think it’s going to continue to expand. People are seeing the need, and this does not have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time.”

Persons with dementia and their families face special legal and financial needs. At The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Dementia Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from dementia and their loved ones.  If you have a loved one who is suffering from dementia, we can help you prepare for your future financial and long-term care needs.  We help protect the family’s hard-earned assets while maintaining your loved one’s comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring eligibility for critical government benefits. 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), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

VA Expanding Benefits for Traumatic Brain Injury

Written by Evan Farr

Nearly 300,000 Veterans have been found to have brain injuries since 2000, according to the Department of Defense.  If you are a Veteran living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who also has Parkinson’s, dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures, or certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, you now have an easier path to receive additional disability pay under new regulations developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The new regulations, printed in the Federal Register, say that if certain Veterans with service-connected TBI also have one of the five illnesses described above, then the second illness will also be considered as service-connected for the calculation of VA disability compensation.

Eligibility for expanded benefits will depend upon the severity of the TBI and the time between the injury causing the TBI and the onset of the second illness.  However, Veterans can still file a claim to establish direct service-connection for these ailments even if they do not meet the time and severity standards in the new regulation.

 “Any veteran who believes they may be affected by this new regulation should contact their local National Service Office as soon as possible,” said National Service Director Jim Marszalek. Veterans who have questions or who wish to file new disability claims may also use the eBenefits website, available at www.eBenefits.va.gov/ebenefits. Information about VA and DoD programs for brain injury and related research is available at www.dvbic.org.

Please also read our recent blog post for additional changes that are being made to VA benefits that affect Veterans who are in need of medically-related assistance with activities of daily living.

Evan H. Farr is an Accredited Attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs who understands the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit and the Medicaid program and the interaction between both benefit programs (please note that Mr. Farr does not work with clients seeking service-connected compensation).  Mr. Farr works with clients to obtain the financial assistance to which they are entitled and enables veterans and their spouses afford the type of long-term care that they need, whether home care, adult day care, assisted living care, or nursing home care.

If you are a Veteran or spouse of a Veteran who served 90 days active duty, and at least one day during a period of wartime, and you need physical assistance with your activities of daily living, be sure to make an appointment ASAP for a no-cost consultation at the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C.  We can work with you to evaluate if you qualify for the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit and/or Medicaid (or if we can get you qualified) and we will handle the filing of all the tedious and technical paperwork. Call us at our Fairfax Virginia Elder Law office at 703-691-1888 or at our Fredericksburg Virginia Elder Law office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment today.