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Beating The Winter Blues! Tips for Young Adults and Seniors

Are you or others around beginning to feel affected by the "winter blues"?  You are not alone.  Many people along the East Coast are experiencing the same thing as a result of continual cold, frequent snowstorms, and a feeling of a neverending winter.  Many local and regional news outlets are compiling ways to beat the winter blues, and we gathered up a few good ones from NJ.com.  According to their article, here are a few things to consider when battling feelings of winter depression:
  • Beat back the symptoms! Make sure you get outside and soak up some sunlight, even if it's cold.  
  • Make sure to eat well and do not give into your urges for saltier, fattier, and more sugar-laden food. 
  • Go out and meet with friends or family to improve your mood.  Even meeting a friend for quick cup of coffee can significantly elevate your mood.
  • Keep in mind that seasonal differences in mood actually tend to affect more younger people as opposed to older people, so keep an eye on your children and young adults for any significant changes in mood.  Seniors are another high-risk population for seasonal affect changes. 
  • If your mood has not improved, even after the use of the above methods, you may wish to consult with your doctor about the possibility of light therapy. 
Seniors are particularly susceptible to mood changes in relation to the seasons, especially when they are not fully mobile.  This is something to keep in mind, especially when your elderly loved one may be residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility.  It is good to frequently check in with staff at these facilities to find out what programs and activities are being offered for their residents, especially during the winter months.  
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer who takes nursing home abuse and neglect cases in the western and central Pennsylvania areas.  He takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties, and his practice is based in Altoona, PA.  For more information on his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.

Slip-And-Fall Accidents Can Happen Anywhere

Are you familiar with premises liability and slip-and-fall cases?  In some situations, if you slip and fall while on a homeowner or business premises, you may be entitled for compensation for any resulting injuries.  This may happen in places where walkways are improperly maintained, areas are not well-lit, or there is not proper signage indicating danger or unusual walking conditions.
One such slip-and-fall case is recently in the news in Philadelphia, PA.  A city woman is suing the Wal-Mart Corporation for injuries sustained in one of their area stores.  The plaintiff claims that the Wal-Mart store had an accumulation of spilled and trampled foods, such as fruits and vegetables, on the store's floor.  The plaintiff slipped and fell on the mess, and suffered injuries to her back, lower extremities, and hips.
If you have slipped and fell on the property of another, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and potential pain and suffering.  This may include cases where sidewalks were improperly maintained due to the winter weather, such as failure to remove snow and ice.   Attorney Doug Stoehr takes cases for clients who have sustained slip-and-fall injuries due to the fault or negligence of another.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his firm at 814-946-4100.
For more information on the Philadelphia area case, please click here.

Avoiding Slip-And-Fall Accidents for Elderly Residents

In the winter months, the episodes of outdoor slip-and-fall injuries tend to increase.  This is especially true this year, given the heightened amount of snow, ice, and cold conditions that our area of Pennsylvania has seen.  This can be especially dangerous for Pennsylvania's significant elderly population.  Older residents often have osteoporosis, which may lead them to break or fracture a bone when they fall, due to the weakened bone structure.
An Erie, PA area website has posted some tips for its elderly residents to help decrease the incidences of slip-and-fall accidents for older Pennsylvanians.  Some of the tips found on their website, GoErie.com, can be found here:
  • People with osteoporosis should be especially diligent about taking supplements, such as vitamin D and calcium, in order to increase bone strength and density.
  • Do some balance exercises daily.
  • Wear proper footwear when heading outside.  Wearing slippers or shoes with not enough tread may increase your likelihood of falling and seriously injuring yourself.
  • Consider buying over-shoe inserts that attach to the bottom of your shoes to give you more traction outside.
  • Keep your walkways completely clear of snow and ice. The use of rock salt and/or sand may help with that goal.
If you have slipped and fallen on the property of another, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and potential pain and suffering.  This may include cases where sidewalks were improperly maintained due to the winter weather, such as failure to remove snow and ice.   Attorney Doug Stoehr takes cases for clients who have sustained slip-and-fall injuries due to the fault or negligence of another.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com or call his firm at 814-946-4100.
To read more about the GoErie.com article, please click here.

NCEA Examines Elder Abuse Nation-Wide

Unknown to many, an organization known as the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), is a branch of the Administration on Aging.  The NCEA has compiled a wealth of information regarding elder abuse across the country and where our country seems to be headed on the topic in the future. Some of the most interesting results of their research can be found below.  I strongly urge you to check out their website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Library/Data/index.aspx for more information and to read the entire compilation!
Here are some interesting pieces of data collected by the NCEA:
  • The 2010 US Census recorded both the greatest number and proportion of people 65+ years old in the entire census history.  This amounts to 40.3 million elderly residents.
  • By 2050, the population will most likely be 20% comprised of people aged 65 and older.
  • Data from the Adult Protective Services (APS) reports an increase in the number of reports of elder abuse in the past several years. They expect that this trend will continue.
  • Only about 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.  Some report this statistic to be as high as 1 in 24 cases. 
  • Financial exploitation is the highest self-reported form of elder abuse.  
  • The majority of those who engage in elder abuse are family members, at a percentage of about 90% of all reported elder abuse cases. 
  • The proportion of abuse of the elderly with disabilities is particularly high, as well as those with dementia and those who live in nursing homes or long-term assisted living facilities.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

Winter Tourism is Hitting PA!

Winter tourism is hitting Pennsylvania! Reports show that the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau is receiving a great deal of interest from visitors who are hoping to explore our state's natural beauty through skiing and snowmobiling.  A representative from the bureau notes that many of the people who have been calling in are not from the area, which is great for our state's tourism trade.  The agency is also urging visitors to the state to try to hike the North Country National Scenic Trail, or take an ATV-guided ride at Majestic Kamp.  Our Allegheny National Forest has over 300 miles of snowmobile trails that are regularly groomed and are designed in intersected loops, along with another 50+ miles that are ungroomed, but can be used by snowmobile and ATV riders.   

Although ATV and snowmobile riding can be a fun and exciting way to enjoy our state's great outdoors, the activity can also be potentially hazardous.  Snowmobile accidents can have serious and lasting consequences.  Most fatal snowmobile accidents occur when excessive speed and/or alcohol consumption are involved, so please be a safe, cautious, and considerate operator. Night driving is also a particular hazard, so be careful during times of decreased visibility! Improper ATV use is leading cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians.   Attorney Doug Stoehr of Altoona, PA handles cases involving injury as a result of accidents involving off-road vehicles.  For more information about Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania practice, please call his law firm at 814-946-4100. 

Other Professions Are Helping To Fight Elder Abuse

Not only do personal injury attorneys look out for the best interest of their elderly clients in the case of potential elder abuse, other professions do as well.  According to a recent press release by the Financial Advisor magazine, a financial advisory firm has developed a guide that assists financial advisors who are challenged by situations of both elderly clients with diminished cognitive abilities and those who may be a victim of elder financial abuse.  The guide, called "Working with Clients Displaying Diminished Capacity and Recognizing Elder Financial Abuse Guide", is published by Securities America.  Interestingly, the guide has come about as a result of real-life situations in which financial advisors were involved in these elder abuse scenarios and were unsure of how to proceed.  The guide, which appears to be a very practical resources, has a wealth of information including signs that could suggest an elderly client's diminished cognitive ability, as well as how to identify elder financial abuse and what steps to take afterwards.  Personal injury lawyers often litigate cases for elderly victims and their relatives in cases in which sexual, physical, financial, emotional, and/or sexual abuse has occurred.  The continued awareness of occurrences of elder abuse in America, as well as to how to recognize and prevent such instances, is critical to protect our nation's aging population.  

In cases of elder abuse or neglect, it is very important to consult with a lawyer before making any decisions that may result in large legal and/or financial ramifications.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania who takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  Often, these cases come as a result of improper care from a relative or friend, or at the hand of a nursing home or assisted living facility.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

Warning Signs of a Bad Nursing Home

According to a US and World News report, there are several warning signs you can look for to see if a loved one in a nursing home is receiving subpar care.  Many of the warning signs the article noted involve examining your elderly relative's reaction to people and aspects of the home.  In this way, substandard care may become apparent through your loved one's emotional or physical changes, including looking unhealthy, sudden changes in appetite, and becoming easily agitated or fearful around certain people.  Additionally, if your relative mentions that they don't want a particular person to take care of them, that might be a sign of a serious problem, such as abuse or neglect.  If your relative also appears malnourished or dehydrated, that is a definite warning sign of a potential problem.

Another way to examine the care of a nursing home is to examine its staff. If they don't answer or deflect your questions, that may be a sign of a potential problem.  Additionally, if there is a large staff turnover rate and if the staff appear frantic, disorganized, or inadequate, it might be time to examine the nursing home's workings and day-to-day operations further to make sure your loved one's needs are being met.  Also, if you notice that phones are often ringing and remain unanswered consistently, this may be a red flag as to quality of care.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected in nursing homes or hospitals.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

Be Cautious When Snowmobiling on State Game Lands

Pennsylvanians who enjoy our great outdoors on game lands will likely be required to have a permit in the future.  As the result of a proposal put forth to the Pennsylvania Game Commission's board, anyone who wants to hike, ride a bicycle, horseback ride, or snowmobile on state game lands will need to either buy a hunting license or get a free permit.  Proponents of the permitting process say that the permits will work as a way to collect data on the use of land by non-hunters, and will provide a means to help maintain game lands. 

 

Prior to this proposal, the general public has been largely welcome on game lands, even though the Commission pays to maintain it.  Some people feel that non-hunters who use the land, such as those who snowmobile, sometimes damage land, cause landscape changes (such as erosion), and also danger the natural wildlife without contributing to maintenance costs.  There are state rules that prohibit biking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling on state game lands from the last Saturday in September to the third Saturday in January, as well as the last Saturday in April to the last Saturday in May.  These time periods are the hunting periods for small animals, deer, bear, and turkey.  Non-hunters holding the appropriate permits could use authorized trails on Sunday, when hunting is not allowed. 

 

Many Pennsylvanians enjoy using snowmobiles on game lands during our winter months.  However, off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATVs, are potentially dangerous vehicles for many of our state's youth.  Improper ATV use is leading cause of serious injury among Pennsylvanians.   Attorney Doug Stoehr of Altoona, PA handles cases involving injury as a result of accidents involving off-road vehicles.  For more information about Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania practice, please call his law firm at 814-946-4100.

"Exposing The Lie Of Tort Reform" on the Huffington Post

One of last week's blog posts touched upon the concept of tort reform, which is a major legal topic amongst the personal injury law community.  As a refresher from last week, tort reform is a process that involves placing a limit on the dollar amount that a person who files a civil lawsuit can recover.  It excludes economic damages, such as lost wages, but places a limit on things like pain and suffering and other compensatory and punitive damages.  Tort reform law varies between states, and in most cases, has not been updated in many, many years.   

 

Tort reform was recently the topic of an opinion article in the Huffington Post.  The article, which was written by an attorney, goes into length as to why tort reform is hurting personal injury victims and their families.  The author also cites a specific example in the case of a brain injured little boy who may not be getting fully compensated due to limits placed by tort reform.  Please browse the original article, titled Exposing the Lie of Tort Reform, at your leisure.  The opinion piece clearly highlights many of the same opinions that personal injury lawyers and their clients feel when they are confronted with unreasonable limits placed by tort reform regulations. 

 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer who takes cases for people in central and western Pennsylvania who have been seriously injured due to the fault or negligence of others.  For more information on his Altoona, PA law firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100. 

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