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APRIL 2016 - Elder Panel
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WLALA Hosts an Informative Program on Issues that Arise When Caring for Aging Loved Ones 

By Emmy Aceves

Former Extern to the Honorable Sandra R. Klein 

WLALA hosted an informative program about caring for aging loved ones on Thursday, March 24, 2016.  The program, which was titled “If it’s Not One Thing It’s A Mother (or a Father): Legal, Emotional and Financial Issues Caring for Older Adults,” featured the following esteemed panelists:  Janet Morris, Director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services’ Caregiver Project, Bunni Dybnis, Director of Professional Services at LivHOME, and Sheri Samotin, President of LifeBridge Solutions, LLC.  The panelists offered useful, practical advice and engaged in a lively discussion with guests.  WLALA Executive Committee Member Jennifer Leland and WLALA Board of Governors members Judge Sandra Klein, Judge Rozella Oliver, and Krysta Kauble Pachman participated in the program.  Judge Klein acted as the moderator and asked insightful questions that sparked additional dialogue between the panelists and guests.  

The panelists’ advice included estate planning suggestions, power of attorney considerations, safety and healthcare concerns, reducing the risk of elder abuse and fraud, mitigating family tension and dysfunction, and compassionate interactions with aging loved ones.  The panelists stressed the importance of being empathetic.  Bunny Dybnis reframed the issue of moving an aging parent to a senior community to a parent’s point of view:  “For that person, it is the beginning of the end.  It is not like this person will be starting a new exciting part of their lives like someone leaving to go to college.  No, this person knows that they likely do not have too many years to live, and that this place is where they will likely die.  So be patient and move slowly.”   

The panel shed light on important issues that typically are not given much attention in the legal community, despite the large number of attorneys personally trying to balance their careers with caring for aging loved ones.  Susman Godfrey LLP generously hosted the event and Veritext Court Reporting donated wonderful refreshments.  Bunni Dybnis also donated copies of her book “Facing the Finish:  A Road Map for Aging Parents and Adult Children,” which were raffled off to three lucky winners.