As We Gather ‘Round the Table: Involving the Elderly in Family Festivities

by Shannon A. Laymon-Pecoraro, Esq.
December 13, 2013
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The holidays present an opportunity for loved ones near and far to gather together for celebration and reminiscing. However, it is important to remember that the holidays may trigger a spell of depression in the elderly and is therefore a particularly important time to assess a senior family member’s needs. We encourage our clients to engage family elders in life events throughout the year, especially during the holidays.
Holidays often serve as a reminder of the friends and family lost, promoting a sense of loneliness. In addition, various factors, such as weather and travel, may negatively impact an individual’s ability to engage in social events or traditions. Taking into consideration any decline in mental and/or physical health that may result in an increasing dependence on others, the causes of depression during the holidays can be significant.
This is a time for you to proactively make elderly family member feel as though they remain a cherished member of the family by including them in your holiday plans. We recommend that you allow your loved ones to participate in activities. When physical involvement is not feasible, you should make sure you engage in regular telephone calls and encourage social activity.
By involving seniors in your holiday festivities you cannot only help promote joy, but assess an individual’s needs. By gathering together, you can assess such things as mental health, mobility, and care needs. If there are areas of concern, consider assisting your loved one to a doctor’s appointment, tackle heavy discussions related to estate planning and long-term care planning, and seek professional advice from an experienced elder law attorney.
The Hook Law Center is designed to meet the needs of seniors and individuals with special needs. We can assist you and your loved ones in estate planning, financial planning, guardianship and conservatorship, estate administration, trust administration, asset protection planning, long-term care planning, and special needs planning. 
We wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to seeing you during the upcoming new year!
ask kitkat logoOncillas
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, is there such a thing as an oncilla?
Kit Kat: Why, yes, there certainly is! Scientists have really been busy lately. This makes another new species that has been discovered recently, and the 2nd one to be discovered in South America. Earlier this year (Sep. 2013), I talked about the olinguito, which was discovered in Ecuador. Now comes the discovery of a new species of oncillas. Oncillas have been known to be found in South America, but now scientists from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) have realized that the oncillas in northeastern Brazil belong to a new species. They look the same on the exterior, but in analyzing their genetic material, differences were found. Apparently, the 2 groups of oncillas separated thousands of years ago. The group in northeastern Brazil, they think, for a time interbred with the Pampas cat, and that was probably responsible for the differences. Anyway, they want to call the new species Leopardus tigrina and the prior one Leopardus guttulus.
Oncillas look like a very small leopard (hence their scientific name); however, they weigh only about 6.5 pounds or 3 kilograms. That’s the weight of an average, female housecat. Many of my sister cats are in that weight range. They mostly are ground dwellers living in rainforests and savannahs, but they are really good climbers–again like the average, domesticated cat. Brazilian scientists will continue to study them and possibly advise their government if there are any interventions needed to protect them. The world certainly is a rich and wonderful place!
(http://news.yahoo.com/housecat-size-feline-species-discovered-170918366.html) (11-27-2013)
Upcoming Events

  • Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro, Esq. will speak at the Parkinson’s and Caregivers Coffee Break on medical/legal issues concerning elders and those with significant health issues. The coffee break will take place at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, 717 Tucson Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23462 on February 5, 2014 from 10AM-12:00PM.
  • Hook Law Center is a sponsor of the American Heart Association Ball which will take place on March 8, 2014 at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. For event information, contact Stephanie Phipps at 757-628-2608.
  • Hook Law Center will be presenting a live webinar on POAs, AMDs and the Ethics of It All in Charlottesville, VA on April 10, 2014. This webinar will be hosted by Virginia Continuing Legal Education.
  • Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro, an attorney at Hook Law Center, is a member of the advisory board of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Please visit our website if you have any questions about this event on April 12, 2014.

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This report is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this report accurate, Hook Law Center assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information in this report.