Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, Nursing Home Feed

My car, buffeted by wind that had chilled to 30 below zero, plowed through yet-to-be-cleared streets. Mom had set off her personal alarm so the dispatcher called me as planned. It had been one of those days. I’d just returned home from the nearby nursing facility after trying to calm my dad, who was experiencing a major anxiety episode due to his dementia. No rest for the caregiver. I climbed back in the car and fought my way through the streets to Mom. It wasn’t another false alarm. Mom really had fallen, and as usually happens after a fall, I couldn’t get her up off the floor by myself. I had to call the EMTs — again.  Read more →


...No rest for the caregiver. I climbed back in the car and fought my way through the streets to Mom. It wasn’t another false alarm. Mom really had fallen, and as usually happens after a fall, I couldn’t get her up off the floor by myself. I had to call the EMTs — again. Thankfully, this time she wasn’t seriously hurt. Hours later, once I’d settled Mom in her bed, I forced my way back through the still unplowed streets toward home, hoping for a couple of hours of sleep before morning, when I had to take my uncle to his neurology appointment for a post-stroke checkup. Read more →


...The internet can be useful for starting these searches and there are a couple of quite different ways to go about it. The Medicare site Nursing Home Compare is probably the logical first choice though, in my opinion, it should simply be one tool because, like all current tools, it is imperfect. Certain categories are self-rated by the nursing homes involved, which sets up questionable results. Also, since states vary in how they do inspections, standards that may seem high in one location may not rate so well in another, so even those categories are not unbiased. Still, Nursing Home Compare is a tool, so I’d suggest that you use it as a launching pad. Just keep an open mind. Read more →


Dear Carol: My 96-year-old mother has moderate signs of dementia and lives in an assisted living facility (ALF). Mom can feed herself but she needs assistance with most other activities including transferring from her bed to her lift-chair or wheelchair, but she won’t use her call-light to get help. Last evening, Mom had tried to move from the lift chair to the wheelchair and an aide found her on the floor. Mom wasn’t injured this time but what about the next time? The facility says they cannot use any alarms to alert staff that she is trying to get out of her bed or chair because these alarms are considered illegal restraints. Do you have any suggestions? Read more →


A report by the Mental Health Foundation (UK) is calling for dementia to be treated as a disability. They said, correctly, that dementia is seen as a disease like many others in that it should be curable. Tragically, only when dementia is caused by medications, infections or some rare, operable situation is it curable. Instead, it is a relentlessly progressive, destructive disease with which the affected must live until they eventually die. The Foundation says that it is also crucial that people with dementia have their rights respected and upheld.  Read more →


For most anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or has loved someone with a type of dementia, the formal diagnosis was a moment frozen in time. A moment where the thought of possibly having a brain-destroying disease became a confirmed reality. That pivotal moment is life-changing, however, people can move beyond that moment in time and learn to live with dementia. For our family, that moment arrived after my dad came out of a surgery that was supposed to repair damage caused by a World War II brain injury. Read more →


Can people find happiness – even joy – while living with dementia? That depends, of course, on one’s definition of happiness and joy. But I do believe that there can be satisfying moments for people with dementia and their caregivers. World War II left my dad with a brain injury. He was in a coma for six weeks and had to learn to walk and talk again. This he did. He went on to live a successful life, at least until he was in his 70s and fluid started building up behind the scar tissue in his brain. Read more →


It’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. We don’t want them taking risks that could result in an injury. That’s love, after all, and parents appreciate being loved. It’s a mistake, however, to make yourself the director of your parents’ lives simply because they are piling on years. Think about it. Barring dementia – and as much as we hear about dementia, not everyone over 65 has become unable to make decisions... 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. The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care. That is a mistake. Read more →


The people we love and care for often reach a point where we can no longer be sole care providers and we need to look at options. This is painful because up to this point we’ve likely been partners in their care but haven’t had to make forceful decisions. Now, things have changed. Because so many people have a negative view of nursing homes, the idea of going to a care facility terrifies many older people and being the person to make this decision can be agony. Read more →