Friday, November 11, 2011

What is Elder Law and Who Needs an Elder Law Attorney?

Many people are unfamiliar with the term "Elder Law." As more lawyers are identifying themselves as practicing elder law, seniors are beginning to ask if they need an elder law attorney. The answer can vary depending on your legal issue. Stotis & Baird attorney Eric Parker recently wrote an article on this topic for the Chicago Bridge Group. You can check out the article at:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips on Long Distance Caregiving

As it has become more and more common for families to live in different cities, it has also become more and more complicated to care for aging relatives. As much as we might like to be there for every need, it is simply not possible. Even if your job allowed you to take unlimited time off to attend medical tests and pick up medical prescriptions - many of the needs come up with short notice (or no notice). Charlotte Bishop is a geriatric care manager, who writes a blog on senior issues. She recently wrote a great article on this topic. You can view it at:

For articles on other topics related to caring for seniors - check out the Elder Law page on our web site.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Balance: Use It or Lose It

By Tommi Ferguson, NSV Member Services Coordinator

There has been plenty of press in recent years about the loss of bone and muscle mass as we age. However, what most people need to consider is that the same is true of our balance. In a May 2, 2011 article in the Los Angeles Times, Jeannine Stein aptly summed up the decline of balance: “Like muscles and bones, steadiness can deteriorate if not maintained.” Compounding the loss of muscle and bone mass, our “senses involved with balance start to dull too as we get older: vision as well as senses of touch, temperature, pressure and proprioception (the sense of body placement and how it moves through space)”.

The skills needed for good balance - timing and coordination - are learned and practiced and honed over time. However, as we age and/or become more sedentary, those skills begin to erode. So, it would seem for balance, you use it or lose it! But there is hope – and it can start at any age. In her article, Stein cites two studies – a 2007 study in Osteoporosis International and 2010 study in the International Journal of Rehabilitation Research – that found study participants enrolled in balance- and weight-training programs had improved mobility and balance and were less likely to slip.

Similarly, in a 2003 report on a study of training exercise and fall occurrences in older adults published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers reported that, “Physical activity specifically targeting lower-body balance and strength shows promise in reducing the risk of falls." Specifically, they found that over the course of 48 weeks, study participants who took tai chi twice a week were at significantly lower risk of falling compared to a group that only attended wellness-education classes.

Balance training generally begins with strengthening all muscles, but focuses most heavily on targeting the lower body and core muscles (the ones surrounding the trunk and back). Exercise programs like tai chi and yoga seem to be the best match for improving balance and coordination no matter what your age. Improved balance may help save older adults from serious injuries, expensive medical bills, and lengthy recovery periods. Further, with increased confidence in steadiness, the fear of falling may no longer hinder people from engagement in social and physical activity.

Those interested in learning more are encouraged to attend our Tuesday, November 8, 2011, program on Balance and Fall Prevention (details below). Our speaker will be from The Center on Health Promotion at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Disability and Human Development. The Center provides Inclusive Fitness Trainings nationally on behalf of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). The presenter has graduate training in exercise science and kinesiology and will tell us about current research and, also, will demonstrate simple flexibility, strength, and “cardio” exercises for attendees. Staff at the Center focus on planning physical activity programs for older adults and people with disabilities.

Balance & Fall Prevention Program - Tuesday, November 8, 1:30 pm at the Park Evanston party room, 1630 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Registration limited to 50 people. To register, contact NSV at 224-234-2450 or .

Additional Resources:
Los Angeles Times article by Jeannine Stein: Balance Doesn't Have to Slip Away

AARP Bulletin article by Katharine Greider: New Strategies for Preventing Falls

Fall Prevention Guidelines from the American Geriatrics Society

This article was written by Tommi Ferguson, Member Services Coordinator for North Shore Village and reprinted with their kind permission. Eric Parker is a volunteer for North Shore Village - to learn more about North Shore Village, check the S&B Links Page at or Contact Member Services at 224-234-2450 or

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Medication Errors - How to Avoid Being a Victim

Stotis & Baird attorney Eric Parker recently wrote an article title Medication Errors - How You Can Avoid Being a Victim for the Chicago Brige Blog. The Chicago Bridge is a group of young professionals in the field of aging. Eric is a regular contributor to the blog. Your can view the article by clicking the link below.

Medication Errors Article

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Elder Law in Evanston

Evanston is a unique community in many respects. Almost 20 years ago, right after graduating from law school, I moved to Evanston. Like many people, I chose Evanston for its beautiful lakefront, and for its diversity. Initially, I noticed the racial and ethnic diversity. With time, however, I began also to appreciate its age diversity. As my law practice began to shift into more elder law work, I volunteered to serve on the Evanston Commission on Aging. In that role, I learned a great deal more about aging in Evanston.

Evanston is unique because it has a large number of senior buildings: including nursing homes, assisted living, independent living, a retirement hotel, and others. In addition, the large number of apartment and condominium buildings has created a number of intergenerational buildings. When my wife and I bought a Co-Op in Evanston, it was mostly smaller apartments, and most of the residents were either young couples, or seniors. It was a great experience.

Living in Evanston can be a great thing for seniors, but it also has some unique challenges. Seniors who have lived in a beautiful old home for many years sometimes find that the burdens of maintaining those homes can become quite difficult. Paying for upkeep and property taxes can be challenging. Seniors with limited means, struggle with the fact that Evanston has a limited number of nursing homes that will accept public aid. Elderly residents new to Evanston sometimes have difficulty learning about services that are available to help.

I have always sought to be a good resource to Evanston residents. Because of my need to appear in court regularly, my office is downtown, with the law firm of Stotis & Baird Chartered. But, Evanston, is my home and I maintain a strong commitment to the community. That commitment includes meeting with clients in Evanston; volunteering with Evanston organizations; speaking in and around Evanston on legal topics of interest to seniors; and keeping track of local resources. I also offer free consultations to Evanston residents. If you have a question, please feel free to call.

The good news for Evanston seniors is that the community cares about its older residents. Some of the best care managers, social workers, lawyers and volunteers have also chosen Evanston as their home. As you get to know the resources that are available, you will also get to know some great people in your neighborhood.

Eric Parker is an Evanston resident and an attorney with the Chicago law firm of Stotis & Baird Chartered. The firm practices law in the areas of elder law, estate planning, wills, trust, real estate and personal injury law. For information please call 312-461-1000, e-mail or visit us on the web at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Avoiding Hard Feelings In Your Estate Plan

You've prepared a will and a trust agreement and signed the papers, so what's missing? From a legal perspective, nothing - but what will those documents say to your family? Take time to consider the message that your estate documents will send. If the message is incomplete, consider some additional options.

The full article was written by Stotis & Baird Attorney Eric Parker for the Chicago Bridge Group. To view the full article, visit

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Understanding "Buy In" Deals at Assisted Living Facilities

Andrea Donovan is a "Senior Living Advisor" who sometimes helps our clients to locate the right assisted living facility or nursing home. In this tough economy, facilities are offering a wide variety of complex deals to help seniors to move into their building. Sorting through these deals and figuring out a) which deals are really a deal and b) what can be negotiated - can be quite complicated. This article that Andrea wrote really highlights why you need good advice on this topic.

You might also check out another article she wrote which outlines the general types of contracts that are being offered:

Hope that you find these helpful.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When Dementia Starts Before the Planning Catches Up

Stotis & Baird attorney Eric Parker recently wrote and article for The Chicago Bridge Group, a network of professionals in the field of aging. The article is about the difficulties of helping seniors who have begun to have issues with dementia before they have completed an estate plan, or advance directives such as living wills and powers of attorneys. You can view the full text of the article at:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seven Things to Expect From a Nursing Home

Eric Parker recently wrote an article titled "Seven Things to Expect From a Nursing Home." You can read the full article by clicking on the link below.