Dana Walsh Sivak Featured on Beyond the Balance Sheet Podcast

Aug 29, 2023
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FRB’s Dana Walsh Sivak, Esq., Partner and Co-Chair of the Elder Law Practice Group, was recently featured in Beyond the Balance Sheet, a podcast hosted by Diana Clark and Arden O’Connor of the O’Connor Professional Group. The podcast series helps advisors, clinical professionals, and families understand the complexities of issues related to our mental, physical and emotional well-being, and discusses the important mix of legal and psychological training advisors need to best serve their clients. 

In this episode, “Drugs, Sex and the Right to be Treated as an Adult”, Dana draws from her unique experience and perspective as an elder law attorney who also works in cannabis law, offering insights regarding society’s treatment of the elderly, and their autonomy in decision-making in the context of medical cannabis treatment and sexual activity in residential health care facilities. She provides an overview of the legal landscape of medical and recreational cannabis in New York, including the passage of the Compassionate Care Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and the continued illegality of cannabis at the federal level.

Dana further discusses the increasing demand for cannabis in the elderly, and existing medical marijuana programs for the elderly in health care facility settings that have been successful in practice. In lamenting the limited access many elderly individuals have to medical cannabis treatment, she explores ways that more nursing homes and assisted living facilities can support medical cannabis use for their residents, without risking residents’ safety. or exposing themselves to unnecessary liability or financial consequences.  

Dana and Diana also discuss the issue of sexual activity in residential health care facilities, and the delicate balancing act that comes from protecting the safety of elderly individuals with supporting their right to continue to live autonomous, fulfilling and independent lives to the greatest extent possible. This in-depth and thought-provoking discussion challenges society’s way of thinking about these controversial, but important, topics, and encourages the audience to re-examine how we view the rights of seniors to be treated as adults, and be supported in making their own decisions, even in cases where capacity may be an issue. 

Listen to the Beyond the Balance Sheet episode below: 

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DISCLAIMER: This summary is not legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. This summary does not provide a definitive legal opinion for any factual situation. Before the firm can provide legal advice or opinion to any person or entity, the specific facts at issue must be reviewed by the firm. Before an attorney-client relationship is formed, the firm must have a signed engagement letter with a client setting forth the Firm’s scope and terms of representation. The information contained herein is based upon the law at the time of publication.

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