Support Feed

Dear Carol: My dad’s been in a nursing home for several years and is ready for hospice care. I read your column about hospice care being covered by most insurances but I’m wondering what happens in a nursing home. Does insurance start to cover nursing home costs, then, too? Would it be better to move Dad home for this time period? It’s hard to make these decisions at such a stressful time. – RE Read more →


Nothing can make it easy for us to watch the cognitive decline of someone we love. Nothing will take away the agony of seeing loved ones so changed from the individuals they used to be. But imaginatively entering into their world is the most effective way to survive, and occasionally enjoy, the world of dementia caregiving. 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 →


Hospice organizations are keenly aware of the soothing power of music. Sometimes the music may be used casually, by the facility or the family, knowing that this is a type of music that the person who is in the dying process had always enjoyed. Increasingly, though, employing trained music therapists has been favored. Read more →


For most of us, our parents are just there — seemingly invincible as we grow up. Once we leave home, we’re on a mission to move into our own adulthood with our parents moving to the background, but still a solid, if often unacknowledged, presence. As we move on with our lives, creating careers, marriages, and possibly children, most parents continue to be involved in some capacity.  Read more →


Many adult children would love to have their parents take advantage of new technology that can track their health, or allow a caregiver to monitor them during the day whether they are aging in place or in a care facility. The idea may not appeal to the older adult, however, for two reasons. One is the learning curve, and the other is the potential intrusion into their daily lives. Therefore, many say: “Thanks but no thanks.” Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad has late stage Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home in our community where he seems to be receiving good care. Mom is with him every day. He no longer recognizes either of us, but Mom says that he is her husband and she will be there with him. I respect and understand that. I’m married and have a full-time job and three children who are in many activities so it’s not easy for me to take the time to visit my dad. He doesn’t recognize me so I don’t know how important my visits are anyway, but mom thinks that it matters to dad. I do want to see him, even though it’s painful, so I feel guilty if I don’t go at least once a week, but I balance the normal chaos of working and raising children along with making it a point to see Dad. Should I still visit even though he won’t remember? – GT 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 →


The aging process brings with it any number of indignities.  One of those is incontinence. People without the problem may look at incontinence as an inconvenience and not a serious ailment, and for mild problems that may be true. However, incontinence can develop into a major issue when it contributes to depression and even isolation.  Read more →


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015 nearly 16 million family and other unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at $221.3 billion. This is with caregiving being valued at only $12.25 per hour. Similar statistics are posted by the International Alliance of Carer Organizations, which tracks caregiving in countries around the world. Read more →