Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, Nursing Home Feed

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 →


As you watch your parents or other beloved elders age, sometimes worry becomes inevitable. Should they have housing upgrades? Can they continue to live independently? Your intention isn’t to take over their lives, but you may genuinely want to start the conversation about possible future changes. How do you do this without causing a backlash? Read more →


Acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue damage. Its purpose is to defend the body against harmful substances, dispose of dead or dying tissue and to promote the renewal of normal tissue. Therefore, inflammation is normal if we are ill from a virus or bacterial infection or we injure ourselves.  Read more →


One of the most heartbreaking things caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s hear is “I want to go home.” The request is often repeated many times a day, even though the person is, to our way of thinking, home. Anyone who has tried saying, “But you are home!” will know that logic doesn’t work. What can a caregiver do? Read more →


Birth, graduations, marriage, anniversaries, death - important moments in our lives are often celebrated by some type of ceremony. In our middle to late years, we are often encouraged to plan the type of funeral we’d like, even pre-paying so our loved ones won’t have to juggle business and grief. Everyone has different ideas about when a ceremony is appropriate, however, I’ve learned about a new ceremony that I find very appealing. Read more →


Many, if not most, younger people find the idea of older adults having sex uncomfortable. Even middle-aged people avoid thinking that their parents are still enjoying sexual intimacy. They know it’s likely, but they don’t like thinking about it. It’s their parents for heaven’s sake! This attitude is terribly sad. For most people, physical touch and emotional caring - which underlie good sexual encounters - are needed for true quality of life. Sex for older adults is simply normal. Read more →


Talking with our elderly loved ones about how and where they would choose to live their remaining years can be more than awkward. It can be frightening. For many, it’s not as much the fear of the elders’ reactions to our words as it is an effort to preserve our own denial. If we don’t voice the fact that our parents are aging and may eventually need assistance, and then, yes, die — it won’t happen. This is a version of covering our eyes when we were small and saying “you can’t see me.” Read more →


I’m struggling with trying to find answers on how I can help my elderly mother. I’m 67, I’m retired and I live an hour away from my 87-year-old mom who has heart failure. Mom still lives alone in her house and this is very important to her. As her condition has worsened, she’s required more help from my sister who lives just 10 minutes away. My sister runs all of mom’s errands, completes all of her chores, and checks in on her several times a day. On top of this, my sister still works full time and won’t be able to retire for a three more years. I visit mom a couple times a month to give my sister a rest, but I fear as moms health continues to fail, that won't be enough. I feel guilty for not doing more but I am too far away. I love the town I live in as it is close to my daughter and grandchildren. Should I move? – BT Read more →


Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s disease has to be placed in a nursing home. At this point, the caregiver’s job switches from day-to-day care to being an advocate. While this is a different role, it is a very important since your interactions with staff will help guide your loved one’s care.  These tips can help build relationships with the staff who now are responsible for the day-to-day care. Read more →


The decisions caregivers of elderly loved ones must make during the Christmas holidays are fraught with opportunities to make mistakes in judgment. Chief among them is how much to include a loved one who has dementia in the festivities. Will the Christmas tree bring Mom happy memories of past Christmas pleasures or will it remind her of the Christmas tree fire in her home when she was a five-year-old child? Will the gathering of loving relatives bring her a feeling of being loved and cared for or will she suffer from horrible anxiety because of all of these people who have become strangers? Read more →