Home / Podcasts / Drugs, Sex, and the Right to Be Treated as an Adult With Dana Walsh Sivak

Drugs, Sex, and the Right to Be Treated as an Adult With Dana Walsh Sivak

Aug 23, 2023

Dana Walsh Sivak, a Falcon Rappaport & Berkman Partner and Co-Chair for the Elder Law practice group and a member of the firm’s Litigation and Cannabis Law practice groups, joins Diana on the podcast today. Their discussion focuses on the treatment of the elderly and their autonomy in decision-making.  Dana is passionate about safeguarding the rights of seniors, particularly concerning their usage of medically prescribed cannabis and matters of sexuality within assisted living environments. Join us for this candid and intimate conversation.


  • [00:33] Diane introduces Dana, and explains what the elder law encompasses
  • [05:23] Dana speaks to the different generational mindsets toward cannabis and her feelings about patients making choices for their lives when they are capable
  • [08:35] Dana explains The Compassionate Care Act and what obstacles were faced in creating the Act
  • [13:38] What are the rules at healthcare facilities and assisted living situations regarding cannabis
  • [18:49] Dana talks about lobbying Congress to get cannabis laws changed
  • [20:55] Sexuality among seniors in assisted living and healthcare facilities
  • [27:17]  Promoting agency in adulthood regardless of age 


  • It is patently unfair to have a child decide for their parent when the parent is perfectly capable of deciding for themselves.
  • Dana believes that doctors should be able to prescribe cannabis to patients in healthcare facilities and assisted living situations.
  • Unfortunately, patients cannot receive the medication they need because of the restrictions of Medicaid.


Beyond the Balance Sheet Website

Falcon Rappaport & Berkman – Website


Dana Walsh Sivak is a Partner at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman LLP, and serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Elder Law practice group, as well as a member of its Litigation and Cannabis Law practice groups.

Dana has devoted much of her career to addressing legal issues involving the elderly, including Article 81 guardianships, complex Medicaid eligibility issues, nursing home litigation, and advocating for increased access to quality-of-life initiatives for the elderly in long-term care settings. Dana works closely with her clients and their families to craft individualized long-term care plans, which include high-level Medicaid planning techniques that aim to preserve her client’s assets and income while ensuring their continuous access to excellent care.

Dana has a great deal of experience representing both individual clients and corporate healthcare facility clients on complex legal issues, allowing her to develop a unique perspective on issues facing seniors and obtain a great deal of experience assisting older New Yorkers in securing a payment source for the cost of their long-term care, often through the Medicaid program or private long-term care insurance.

For many years, Dana has worked to expand access to medical cannabis to seniors, particularly those residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In December 2019, Dana helped to spearhead and present the first conference on Long Island that focused on these issues, “Cannabis & Aging: The Business, Politics, Law & Science of Cannabis,” partnering with other highly regarded professionals in the cannabis industry. Dana frequently lectures to healthcare facilities and at regional conferences about the medical benefits of cannabis in the elderly population, advocating for increased access to medical cannabis for all seniors, regardless of their socioeconomic status.


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