Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, Nursing Home Feed

Dear Carol: My Dad cared for Mom for seven years until she died from Alzheimer’s. Now, Dad needs a little help. He knows how hard caregiving can be, and with my working full time, he's worried that I’ll burn out or get sick if I take on his care. He has money to pay for some hired help at home which is where he wants to stay. He has a personal alarm and is safety conscious. I live with depression, though I’m treated. Still, I have kids at home so I do have limits in what I can do for Dad. When I read about caregiver burnout I worry about that happening to me. I don’t want to get so that I hate spending time with Dad or taking care of his needs but I know that this is possible if I’m not careful. What can I do so that this doesn’t happen? OP Read more →


“Elder orphan” is a term used by medical professionals to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. In a research article published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, in July 2016, “Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable Population,” Maria T. Carney, M.D., and her colleagues**,** sought to help clinicians identify adults with multiple chronic diseases who are aging alone and are geographically distant from family or friends. Identifying these individuals might well increase the availability of services for this population as a whole. Read more →


Would you prefer a hot dog or hamburger? Ketchup, mustard, relish? Chips, salad, dessert? All were available during the annual barbecue picnic at the nursing home where my parents, my uncle and my mother-in-law lived at different times. While people also enjoyed the monthly birthday dinners and holiday festivities hosted by the nursing home, the summer barbecue was one of the most anticipated events of the year. Read more →


Dear Carol: Because of repeated strokes my mother couldn't live alone so I moved her in with me. As years went by I struggled to transfer her from her wheelchair to her bed or commode so I tried in-home help. That didn’t work so I had to place her in a nursing home. The facility was excellent and I was deeply involved yet I still feel guilty for not being able to keep Mom in my home until her death. Intellectually, I know that I wasn’t capable of providing what she needed, but when I read about abuse and neglect of elders in nursing homes I feel like I’m being directly criticized. Do people ever get over the guilt from nursing home placement? – HE Read more →


A special day for your mom is coming up and she’s deep in the land of dementia. You struggle internally about whether you should even go through the motions of celebrating since she won’t understand what you are doing. Will making a big deal of the day just confuse her more? Is it even worth going through this routine when knowing that she doesn’t understand what you’re celebrating nearly breaks your heart? Read more →


Ideally, family members see one another often enough that they can become comfortable discussing issues that come up naturally as parents grow older. When this is the case, adult children are likely to hear when close friends of their parents have moved to assisted living, or have become ill. They may even hear stories where their parents’ friends didn’t assign powers of attorney for healthcare and their finances so that when one or both became very ill, their children are left trying to care for their parents with their hands legally tied. Read more →


Dear Carol: I’ve been reading a lot about when if/when it’s time to force a parent into some kind of care. Your position seems to be that it’s the older adult’s decision unless there is dementia present. I can see that at 70, but my mom is 90. She’s mentally sharp and still likes her home and her garden but she refuses much help except for hiring lawn care, snow removal, and grocery delivery. She gave up driving on her own but she is adamant about not wanting to move to assisted living. At what age do adult children finally say enough and use our Power of Attorney to force a move? BT Read more →


It’s something many of us have done. Our parents are in their middle years and have come home from visiting someone in a nursing home. The hospital-like structure of the older nursing home was disturbing to them. While relating their experience to you they say that they’d hate to end up in a place like that. You jump in and say with feeling and genuine belief, "I’d never put you in a nursing home." Read more →


I’m 78-years-old and I have lived with my son and his wife for two years. I’m feeling hemmed in and I think that they may feel the same way. They are kind, but my daughter-in-law seems stressed when we’re together too much even though in the past we have always gotten along well. The house doesn't allow much privacy which may be why we get on each other's nerves. I also miss being around people my own age. This arrangement seemed like a good idea, but I’m afraid we all think it’s a mistake. I’d gladly move to assisted living but I’ve been paying rent to the kids, which helps with their bills. For this reason, I’m reluctant to tell them that I’d like to move while we’re all still getting along rather than wait until our relationship turns so sour that it's impossible to fix. How do I approach them considering the financial arrangement? – TE Read more →


Dear Carol: Your column has been incredibly helpful for my family as we care for my sweet mother-in-law who is in late stages of frontal temporal dementia. As we've struggled to find the right care setting while she progresses through this disease, we've been confused by care options. From assisted living to skilled nursing, there appear to be many choices, but it's not always clear what each provides. Recently, we learned from a nurse in Mom’s current nursing home that some memory care assisted living facilities (ALFs) care for residents through the end of life. We haven't been looking at assisted living options as she needs far more care, but now it looks like we should reconsider since her current nursing home doesn’t specialize in dementia. Can you please clarify for us and other families how these care options are named and what they provide? AG Read more →