Nursing Home Feed

Dear Carol: My mother is in a nursing home following a series of strokes and, thankfully, the facility is relatively close so I can visit daily. I’ve decorated Mom’s room for Christmas and I bring her Christmas treats to share with others. Dad also spends time each day with Mom. My quandary is that I have a husband and teenage children at home. Mom says she doesn’t have the energy to come to our home for Christmas day and, frankly, I don’t know how we’d manage the wheelchair with all of our steps, anyway. Dad will eat with Mom, but I still feel like I’m letting my parents down by not having them join us as they have in the past. I can’t think of anything that I could do differently, but I still feel guilty. How do I pull out of the funk and provide my husband and kids with a cheerful day? – GR Read more →

Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion. Read more →

New rules for the protection of nursing home residents have been implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of these rules provide answers to concerns that have troubled families with loved ones living in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), generally called nursing homes. I emailed Medicare expert Ginalisa Monterroso for an update on these rules and what they mean for nursing home residents and their families. Read more →

Loneliness can be a plague for the elderly and ill. Yet visiting with someone who doesn’t feel well, and may have limited cognition, can be tricky. Some nervousness or reluctance is natural, but a few considerations can help to make things go smoothly. Read more →

DEAR CAROL: My parents have been married for over 50 years. Mom has moderate to advanced dementia and moved to a memory care unit three months ago. Dad was her primary caregiver until he couldn’t handle her needs anymore so this is very hard on him. We’ll have the family Christmas gathering at my home and Dad thinks he should bring Mom here for dinner. As a family, we’re divided about what is best for Mom. If she came here she could enjoy our family traditions but would it just set back her adjustment to her new surroundings? What’s the best approach? – Nicole Read more →

Insurance of all types can be a minefield for America’s aging population. People over 50 are paying more for health insurance and could see enormous increases in those costs depending on what happens with the health insurance system in the U.S. Over the decades there has been an increasing push for people to take out long-term care insurance (LTCi), as well. HealthCentral asked Chris Orestis, Executive Vice President of GWG Life, for some insight on how people should move forward with their health-related insurance. Read more →

Many elders who have suffered strokes or have dementia are not capable verbal communication. If they are confined to a nursing home, often people are reluctant to visit, as the visitor doesn't know what to say or do. People stay away out of fear. Here are some tips to communicate with those who can't speak. Read more →

Dear Carol: My mother has Parkinson’s disease but still lived alone in the family home until she took a bad fall. Now, she needs around the clock care so we’ve moved her to a nearby nursing home. The care is good, so that part is fine, but her home must be sold which means that I, the only adult child nearby, must clean it out. This is a large home with four bedrooms, all of which have somehow filled up with “stuff.” The basement is packed. The decisions about where to start are overwhelming. Sometimes I just want to dump everything, but this is the home where my parents lived and where my brother and I grew up and there are things of value buried beneath the junk. I know that I need to hire help but I also know that I must make many of the decisions myself. Where do I start? – DG Read more →

Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care. Read more →

Sex and death. It's odd that those two topics should bring so much anxiety to parents and children. But, there you have it. One – sex – is about the beginning of life. The other – death – is about the end. Both are a part of the lifecycle, but if anything, sex is easier for many to discuss than death. Read more →