Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, Nursing Home Feed

Choosing an individual or a company to come into our home, or that of a vulnerable loved one, to provide assistance with anything from cleaning to personal services is never easy. We are giving an unknown person access to not only our property but to the safety of our loved one who may need care while we are not able to supervise. Choosing the right person or company should be done methodically, and education can help you ask the right questions. Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad enjoys going to the park and watching kids play. Since I try hard to give him the best life he can have considering that he has Alzheimer’s disease, I find this a positive experience. The problem is that there are times when Dad is glaringly inappropriate and I don’t know how to handle these moments. As an example, last week, he saw a child in the park dipping his toes in a pond. Dad began lecturing the child about not “falling in.”  Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: As far back as I can remember my grandmother has had a dog. For the last 10 years, this dog has been Tippy, a small, male, mixed-breed that has been an ideal companion. The problem is that Grandma is getting less able to care for herself — let alone Tippy — and she is going to need to move to an assisted living facility (ALF). I’ve checked around, and while some local ALFs will let people bring their cats, none locally will allow them to keep a dog because dogs need to be let outside, among other excuses. Read more →


 I"ve written about how playing in an orchestra has helped people living with dementia renew their confidence in themselves.  Another twist on music has now come in a recent report from the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in London. The researchers describe how both the people in their study who had dementia, as well as their caregivers, benefitted from group singing. This exercise seemed to have much the same effect on the people with dementia as the orchestra experiment. Read more →


There’s an image of holiday perfection that our culture encourages. Starting with Thanksgiving, we are inundated with images of families happily enjoying each other’s company during a holiday meal. Most of us have memories from our childhood that feed this desire for Norman Rockwell-esque celebrations. Even those who didn’t have these picture-perfect experiences growing up often strive to create them with their own families.  However, few of us can measure up to the fantasy—caregivers least of all. The vast majority of advertisements, music and blockbuster movies sugarcoat the holidays and shirk the reality that most of us face. These images feed expectations that are impossible to meet. Read more →


The idea that some people can stay positive after receiving a dementia diagnosis seems surprising to many, yet when faced with adversity we have only two choices — make the best of what is in front of us, or live with negativity. No one is suggesting that living with a positive outlook after being given a diagnosis for any serious disease is easy, but negative thinking is risky for your overall health, while positive thinking has health benefits. Read more →


An ongoing concern for many older adults, as well as their adult children, is whether they really need to pay for the services of an attorney when planning for their finances and health care in old age. This is a valid question, and people of modest means often feel that they can’t afford an attorney. However, the reality is that many elder care problems faced by families can be avoided by consulting an attorney before their loved one needs any form of care. Read more →


As a family caregiver of multiple elders, I needed a facility where more than one of my elders could live while I cared for others in various locations. My family was fortunate to find an excellent nursing home just a few blocks from my home. During the 15 years that my loved ones (different people at different times) lived in this facility, I learned a great deal about what makes a good nursing home tick. I interviewed a licensed nursing home administrator for her tips on selecting a nursing home not long ago, but as a family member, I’d like to add a few more ideas. Read more →


Even though holidays can be fraught with stress because of societal expectations that they be happy no matter what our circumstances, most of us have happy memories of celebrations when we were young. Our parents were in charge, and kids were the focus. As our parents age and can no longer be in charge of celebrations, the duties tend to fall to adult children. Our heart's desire is to provide a way for our aging parents to enjoy the holidays, but their circumstances can make that challenging. First and foremost, however, remember that it's your presence that is the most important thing. That, and helping your parents to feel included in whatever way they can participate. Read more →


Dear Carol: My 93-year-old mother lives in a nursing home and I visit her several times during the work week, more over the weekends. She seems as content as she is capable of being and she’s getting excellent care. My two siblings only visit Mom for the holidays. I understand this since they are each on different coasts and traveling is both time-consuming and expensive. What’s hard to handle is their pressure to have me take Mom into my home. They seem unable to grasp the idea that I can’t give her the care that she needs while I’m working, and we don’t have the money to hire 24/7 in-home help. They stay in motels when they’re here and we get together at the nursing home for holiday meals. This meal can be fun, but afterward, while Mom is resting, they start to pressure me. I’m nearly sick over the thought of going through this whole ordeal one more time, and I’m running out of willingness to keep explaining reality to them. Do I somehow owe them more?– PE Read more →