Senior Housing Feed

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 →


Decades ago, having grandparents move in with you was fairly common, and it often worked well. It did for my family. My parents built a new house that could accommodate all the different generations and afforded some privacy for all. Grandma moved in, and the arrangement worked. My mom did not work outside the home, so there was nearly always someone home with Grandma. I was also a born caregiver and gladly did what I could to help with both my toddler sister and my grandmother. 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 →


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 parents are so isolated in their home because their neighborhood is so changed that they want to move to assisted living. Apparently, they’ve heard good things about these facilities from friends but most of these friends are better off financially than my parents. I’ve tried to convince them to come north to be near me, but that’s not going to happen, and I have a job that I’m firmly planted in up north so I can’t move there. I’ll fly down to help them decide about a facility, and again to move, but I’d like assistance in sorting the choices. Can I trust the senior “placement” companies that I see advertised?– PR 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 →


Dear Carol: My wife’s in a wheelchair because of an accident that she had ten years ago. I’ve gladly taken care of her but now she needs an increasing amount of care that I can no longer provide. We found her a place in a large once private house that has been converted into a group home but she's terribly unhappy. All of the other residents have advanced cognitive ailments. We both understand the challenges that these good people face, but my wife isn’t there to be a caregiver. She loves to play cards, read, talk about news, and do puzzles, but all she does now is hide in her room and read. We need to find another kind of care for her but we’ve read about how horrible some nursing homes are. What are our choices? – SG Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom is currently in a short-term swing-bed facility and will soon be moving to a nursing home. Dad is in assisted living where we already moved some favorite furnishings from home. Their house must be sold, so my brother and I are going through what's left. We’re stumped by jewelry and assorted items from their lives together. There are a lot of old pictures as well as Dad’s military medals which he says he doesn't care about. We’re not sure what to do with these things because they are items that have sentimental value. Mom had a stroke that has taken most of her memory and Dad says he doesn’t care what we do with the "stuff." My brother and I are both saddened by how their lives have played out and it seems somehow that discarding these items is discarding them, so we're struggling. What do we do with all these keepsakes Mom and Dad don't want or can't use? – LD 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 →