Our Top 10 Scariest Articles of 2017 (Be Very Afraid!)


Halloween is today, so it’s the ideal day to present you with this year’s scariest articles. From parents being kidnapped by a professional guardian to people getting Alzheimer’s at 40, we uncovered some scary ground. To celebrate Halloween, we’ve ranked our scariest articles from least to most scary (but you be the judge) for you to revisit, if you are bold enough to do so. As always, thank you for reading our newsletter and blog!

Note to our readers: if you’re someone who doesn’t like thinking about scary topics, such as spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on long-term care, then you might want to stop reading or proceed with caution. But if you’re curious, please read on. . .

  1. How to Avoid 3 Scams Following the Massive Equifax Data Breach

The Equifax data breach lasted from mid-May through July 2017. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

9. This Can Be as Damaging to Your Health as 15 Cigarettes Per Day

Many older Americans are living alone, lacking contact, and suffering from social isolation. Others may be married but have left the workforce, have close, long-time friends who have moved or gotten sick, act as a family caregiver or they or a spouse have mobility or cognitive issues. Loneliness is serious. In fact, research studies reveal that lacking social connections can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day!

  1. These are Responsible for 40% of All Injury Deaths

While it is true that falls are most common inside the home, it doesn’t mean they can’t happen outside the home, as well. Falls (whether they are inside or outside the home) are the number one reason that seniors end up in the emergency room, accounting for over 50% of injury-related hospital admissions and 40% of all injury-related deaths.

  1. TED Talks: New Ways to Think About Death

Most people don’t like to think about dying. We’d rather focus our energy on the people and the things we love, happy times, and things that bring us joy. But, as we all know, death is inevitable, and shouldn’t be ignored. Despite what most think, these conversations don’t have to be sad and depressing. They can be positive and thought-provoking. As an example, “death” has recently been the focus of a TED Talks series titled, “New Ways to Think About Death.”

  1. The Financial Problems of CCRCs

Many seniors are choosing to move to CCRCs in their retirement years, due to the option to have more care available if and when they need it. Unfortunately, many who choose CCRCs aren’t aware of the financial risks they are taking when they sign a contract and move into one.

If a CCRC becomes forced into bankruptcy, residents may be considered unsecured creditors and could lose all of their refundable entrance fees. Or the facility may be bought out of bankruptcy by a new owner, resulting in service changes and other upheaval for residents. This happened not too long ago in our own back yard, when Erickson, a major developer and manager of CCRCs, filed for bankruptcy.

  1. Overcoming the Fear of Death

Although death is an inevitable part of life, many people are reluctant to face the fact that our current physical bodies are not going to last forever and that we should really talk about and plan for our end-of-life choices. Thinking about your end-of-life choices today can improve your quality of life in the future and ease the burden on your family.

Talking about death with those close to us is not about giving up on life, but a way to ensure greater quality of life when faced with a life-limiting illness or tragic accident. When your loved ones are clear about your preferences for treatment, they’re free to devote their energy to care and compassion. But how do you discuss your wishes with loved ones who are reluctant to discuss these things?

  1. What Happens When a Long-Term Care Insurer Goes Belly Up?

Recently, a good-size American long-term care insurance company, Penn Treaty, was ordered to liquidate and wind down its affairs. Its demise orphaned tens of thousands of policyholders — people who bought long-term-care insurance to protect their assets from catastrophic nursing home costs. How can this happen? In many cases, companies underestimate the true cost of coverage and are struggling now to make good on all their promises.

  1. Has In-home Care Gotten a Lot More Expensive this Year?

From 2016 to 2017, the national median cost of home health aide services shot up 6.17% to $21.50 per hour — the most pronounced increase among the various care settings according to 2017 Genworth Cost of Care survey.

  1. Could You Get Alzheimer’s at 40?

Of the more than 5 million people across the U.S. who have Alzheimer’s, 5% are believed to have the early-onset form, striking people under the age of 65. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many people with early-onset are in their 40s and 50s. They have families, careers, or are even caregivers themselves when Alzheimer’s strikes.

  1. Her Parents Were Kidnapped by A Professional Guardian

April Parks, who allegedly identified herself as an officer of the court, showed up at the Rennie and Rudy North’s home with an emergency order to remove them from their home. They were then put in a car and taken away to a nearby assisted living facility. The house they were living in was emptied of all of their personal belongings, allegedly stolen by the guardian. Many items were also discarded, which their daughter found in trash bins. The money in their bank accounts was also allegedly stolen, along with their identity; licenses, credit cards, and social security cards.

If all those articles weren’t enough, do you want to hear something really scary? Nursing homes in DC and Northern Virginia cost $10,000-$14,000 a month, an amount that will quickly wipe out all of the money you have worked your entire life to earn — if you don’t properly prepare for long-term care.

If you are now officially freaked out, and if you or a loved one has not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), please call us to make an appointment for a consultation:

Fairfax Elder Law: 703-691-1888

Fredericksburg Elder Law: 540-479-1435

Rockville Elder Law: 301-519-8041

DC Elder Law: 202-587-2797



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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.