By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
Laurie Miller is one busy professional. Laurie is always a pleasure to talk to, and a recent telephone conversation brought me up to date on what she is doing currently. Laurie founded Apple Care and Companion with her mother, Joyce Friedman, a licensed and board-certified social worker in 2006. The philosophy for the company then, which still holds true today, is to provide affordable, competent and loving care while granting peace of mind to the families involved.
Laurie, a native Dallasite, graduated from The Greenhill School and The University of Texas in Austin. After receiving her BBA in marketing, she moved back to Dallas and went to work in her family’s 78-year-old business called S.M. Hapsel and Son, which manufactured fine china, silver and glassware. Following the 20-year stint in the family business, she decided it was time for a career change. Laurie knew she wanted a career that would make a positive impact on other people’s lives, and after much research, came to the conclusion that “Eldercare” was the industry for her. She remembered how her grandparents enjoyed the freedom and happiness that comes from living in one’s own home and on one’s own terms. They had round-the-clock care from caregivers who assisted them with activities of daily living, which allowed them to experience independence without having to rely on their children. This allowed her grandparents to remain in their own home until they died.
Laurie is currently serving her second year as president of The Dallas Area Gerontological Society, (DAGS), which is now in its 25th year of service to the Dallas community.
In celebration of that, the Dallas Area Gerontological Society (DAGS) will present its annual forum from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Fellowship Bible Church, 9330 N. Central Expressway in Dallas. The theme is “The Aging (R)Evolution: It’s Gonna Be Alright” with topics addressing current conditions and important trends in the aging population, including the growing influence of the Baby Boomers on this group.
DAGS is a nonprofit, voluntary member organization whose mission is to provide continuing education on gerontological topics, provide scholarships to individuals pursuing a career in the aging field, and to advocate for improved services for the elderly.
Forum speakers include Dr. T. Bryan Callister, Dr. Diana Kerwin and Dr. Paul Tobolowsky. CEUs are available for nurses, social workers, guardians, LPCs and administrators. Fifty-five exhibitors will be present to share important information with attendees. Professionals, family members and anyone interested in aging issues are encouraged to attend the forum at a reduced non-CEU rate. Students and senior citizens get a discount rate, too. Admission includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and DAGS membership for 2015.
Specific information is available on the DAGS website: www.dags.org. Pre-admission through the website is requested.
The forum will include a 25 -year retrospective by founding members on DAGS’ work in the community through the years.
DAGS holds monthly meetings at various locations in the greater Dallas area that are free and open to non-members. Each program is on an educational topic relating to aging. Dates, topics and locations of past and upcoming events are available at www.dags.org.
Although not part of DAGS’ original mission, the group added scholarship awards to encourage students to enter the field of gerontology. Each year, DAGS grants scholarships to deserving applicants who wish to advance their studies toward a certification or a degree in fields relative to aging studies. In 2014, DAGS has awarded $10,500 in scholarships, plus two named scholarships at Collin College and Dallas County Community College.
CoLodging Club named affiliate with the Golden Girls Network
Independent-minded women and men age 40 and over — with no desire to live in senior communities, assisted living, or with the children — can now seek like-minded housemates with the help of a new Texas affiliate of GoldenGirlsNetwork.com. An inaugural kick-off party is scheduled for Oct. 14 with Bonnie Moore, president of Golden Girls Network, leading a panel discussion on the benefits and realities of the Golden Girls Lifestyle. This event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at California Pizza Kitchen, 8411 Preston Road, Dallas. (RSVP: http://event.celebrations.com/GoldenGirlsNetwork )
“The addition of our Dallas-based affiliate, CoLodging Club led by Laurie Miller, marks the Texas launch of Golden Girls Network in response to the growing preference of single Baby Boomers nationwide to share their houses, condos, or apartments with compatible housemates instead of living alone,” said Moore, a retired attorney and accountant who founded Golden Girls Network, Inc. at her suburban Maryland home, which she has shared with roommates since her own divorce in 2008. The concept of shared housing among active, older adults has also sparked considerable media interest, beginning with Moore’s interview on NPR last year. In addition, segments have appeared on CBS, PBS, ABC, and France2, a French TV network. Articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Next Avenue, Kiplinger’s, Christian Science Monitor and in numerous retirement blogs.
Golden Girls Network is a nationwide electronic registry that provides an opportunity for older adults to connect with compatible housemates. “We do not do the matching for you,” explains Moore. Instead, individuals use the registry to identify shared living opportunities best suited to their particular needs. Individuals add themselves to the registry via the group’s website by providing a confidential profile and the type of living arrangement they are either offering or seeking.
In addition, support is available through shared housing seekers and providers through the company’s e-book titled “How to Start a Golden Girls Home,” and through free conference call classes hosted by Moore, where she offers anecdotal guidance and answers questions for seniors wanting to learn more about the shared-housing lifestyle.
Golden Girls Network, Inc. is based in Bowie, Maryland. For additional information, visit www.goldengirlsnetwork.com. To contact the Texas Affiliate: Laurie Miller, CoLodging Club, 972-802-1104, or email LaurieM@GoldenGirlsNetwork.com.
Les Weisbrod named by Best Lawyers® as 2015 Dallas Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs ‘Lawyer of the Year’
Good wishes to Les Weisbrod, partner at Miller Weisbrod LLC who recently received the designation from Best Lawyers ® as 2015 Dallas Medical Malpractice Law-Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year.” Best Lawyers ® is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers® lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.
According to Michael Rustad, a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, “Les Weisbrod has obtained more medical malpractice punitive damage jury verdicts for his clients than any other attorney in the United States.” In August 2014 Weisbrod obtained a summary jury trial verdict in Dallas County Court At Law No. 1 for $3.7 million on behalf of an injured 79-year-old client which included $2 million in punitive damages. Since May 1986, Weisbrod has tried or settled over 177 medical malpractice and medical product cases that have each resulted in verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more for his clients.
Weisbrod has served as president, president-elect, vice president, secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America). AAJ is the largest trial lawyer membership organization in the world and dedicated to preserving the civil justice system and making sure that powerful special interests are held accountable when they engage in misconduct or negligence. In 1991, Weisbrod was the co-founding chair of the Birth Trauma Litigation group of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
He has lectured to lawyer groups across the U.S., Canada, England and Australia, and has written extensively on medical malpractice and medical product topics. He is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the top plaintiffs’ medical malpractice trial lawyers in the United States.
Weisbrod received his B.A. magna cum laude in 1975 from Claremont Men’s College and his J.D. in 1978 from Southern Methodist University Law School, and he is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law and Civil Trial Law.
Special New Year’s Greetings to all our readers. Please send us your holiday news — or share any holiday traditions or thoughts. May you all have a happy and healthy New Year.