The Knee Bone's Connected To ...

Such a face! Daddy Bones@ age 12, gracing the book's cover.


 How to Keep Your Sanity Intact When a Loved One Needs a Nursing Home  

It’s estimated that more than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.

Studies show that extremely stressed caregivers can age or die prematurely. 

“Bette Davis said ‘old age is no place for sissies,’ but caring for an older loved one isn’t for the feint of heart, either,” says Bones. “I loved my dad and we were very close, but the strain of ‘putting’ him in a nursing home was so overwhelming for all of us that I felt like I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown.”

Becoming aware of some of the don’ts” of long-term care can make daily life easier for nursing home residents and for their family caretakers,” she notes.

Bones offers some key examples from her Nursing Home Checklist:

· Ask clergy, family, and friends - especially those in the health care field - to recommend outstanding nursing homes.

· When touring a nursing home, ask other visitors for frank feedback about the facility. Don’t just inspect the “sample” room, look into residents’ rooms to check for cleanliness.

· Assure your loved one that you will be their ongoing advocate.

· Visit your loved one often and at varying times of the day - and night. This alerts all of the caregivers that you are keeping an eye on your loved one.

· Get to know the staff, especially your loved one’s immediate caregivers.

· Thank the employees for the thankless job that they do.

· Put your loved one’s name on all their belongings, including clothes and personal products. Never leave money or valuables in their room.

· Place a quilt, photos and other small touches to create a “homey” room.

· Put a brief bio and picture of your loved one at the entrance of their room to “introduce” them to staff and visitors.

. Bring old photos when you visit your loved one - it will give you something to look at if conversation lags.

. Bring different edible treats to spice-up the resident's menu.





Powered by Squarespace

Yo.....Welcome to the Bonesblog of Diane Bones. I am a freelance writer specializing in feature articles. I also teach a Humor Writing course at Temple University. See Bonesbio for more.

Check out my new book, Tea, Sticky Buns and the Body of Christ (Postscripts From a Nursing Home), a memoir of the year I spent with my Dad before he died. Watch as my family and I laugh, cry and crumble as we become the raw meat of the "sandwich generation."




So, yes, I DID go to the historic Eagles Super Bowl Championship Parade in Philly on Thursday.

Initially, I couldn't attend because I was scheduled to work so, whew, I could save face, not to mention remain warm and relatively sane.

Then work was cancelled due to the parade and the next thing I knew, hubby, two friends and I took a bus from our house in the Northwest section of Philadelphia to the Art Museum area, where the parade was going to culminate. Of course, we didn't dream of driving there - the crowds were expected to be massive and it would be madness to take a car! Public transit was the sensible solution and, as Eagles fans go, we were definitely the sensible type.

That morning, it was all fun and games, with almost everyone on the bus swathed in Eagles gear, spontaneous E-A-G-L-E-S! cheers erupting and a "I can't believe we're going to a parade in the middle of a work week!" mindset throughout.

When we hopped off the bus and walked a bit to the parade area, it was packed, but people were generally well-behaved (tree-climbers included). We brought hoagies with us (hey, Philly is as Philly does) and split a bottle of water among the four of us (we read that port-o-potties would be scarce and with age comes wisdom). We tried to worm our way closer to the Art Museum, but it had rained the day before, and soon our feet were squishing into mud a la Woodstock. The five layers of clothes that we wore to battle the cold were also starting to feel heavy as the spaces where we ventured grew tighter and tighter.

Feeling hemmed-in, we decided to move to a less-crowded section on the side of the Art Museum, near a glistening gold statue of Joan of Arc. What Joan of Arc has to do with the city of Philadelphia, I have NO idea, but the sculpture was magnificent and it was an honor to hang with her.IMG_0622 (1)

Finally, the flatbed trucks carrying the Eagles players and coaches drove by and we waved deliriously at them in the distance. Yee ha, I said to my posse, we came, we saw, let's get outta Dodge.  (Again, that age/wisdom stuff.)

It was around 1 pm when we headed back from whence we came, as did hundreds of others who had driven to the area surrounding the Art Museum. We got to our appointed bus stop and waited for our carriage to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

A line of cars snaked by S-L-O-W-L-Y, but no buses.

Finally, our palpitation-prone hearts swelling with joy, we spotted a bus in the distance. As it made its way toward us, we stepped into the street to hop aboard and embark on our journey home.

Until the !*%! bus drove right past.

No room at the inn for us because, apparently, the vehicle was full.

No worries, you know the old saying, buses are like men, if you miss one, another one will come along soon (or vice versa).

But no more buses came, except a few marked "SPECIAL" which basically meant they were not for mere mortals like ourselves. After waiting for about an hour, several more buses came - yeaaaaa!!!! - but passed us by.

Can I describe the torment, the frustration, the horror of that moment when public transportation destroys your soul?

I cannot.

So we started walking through North Philly toward home. Why? We thought it would keep us warmer, we were dehydrated and we assumed it couldn't get any worse.

An hour and a half later, we were still walking. We argued if it was feasible for us to make it home on foot, if anyone in the homes we passed would let us use their bathrooms, and if any Eagles fans ever died of sheer exhaustion after celebrating a championship season.

Carloads of Eagles fans (you know, the non-sensible ones who decided to drive to the festivities) passed us by. We prayed that someone would have mercy and offer us a ride, but would YOU pick up four weary looking strangers in 2018, even on the most euphoric of days?

As we reached yet another bus stop, a guy who was standing there announced that he had been waiting 90 minutes for a bus.

Uh, oh. Matters were looking increasingly grim. Eaglemania was just a memory and the sun was starting to fade. Buses came and passed. Cabs were non-existent. Uber was a 50-minute wait. It had been hours since we left the Art Museum.

Finally, we called a friend who jumped into her hatchback to rescue us. When she arrived, we dove into her tiny car like it was a spaceship delivering us to Mother Earth.

To wrap-up this "you can't go home again" saga, yes, I DID make it to the Eagles celebration.

Returning, however, was another matter altogether.

It's been said in Philadelphia this week that hungry dogs run faster, but our pack was definitely dragging.

So if the Iggles win the Super Bowl again, God Bless, but don't even ask me if I'm going because this fan is gonna watch all the hoopla in the comfort of her own little home sweet home.  elderly14


Screamin' Mad

So I've been screaming a lot in the shower lately.

No, not because there is a large mirror next to the bathtub, but because I have a radio in the bathroom.

I picked-up the habit of starting my day with the all-news, all the time station from my parents, who used it as their wake-up call. I considered it a downright inhumane practice. So of course, like all repulsed offspring, I ended up embracing the same bizarre habits as Ma and Pa, thus the tendency to listen to gut-wrenching news first thing in the AM.

This year, the top stories have been particularly grueling, causing me to scream in the shower like a Psycho wannabe.

The neighbors must think that I'm being tortured and, come to think of it, I AM.

Who hasn't? There's the putrid thousand-mile wall to keep out the tired, the poor and the huddled masses; the countries that are literally cursed because they aren't nearly as white as the president thinks they should be; the embarrassingly juvenile nicknames unbecoming of an inebriated frat boy; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. 

So every day, the news blares and I scream.

And that's why I went to the Philadelphia Women's March on Saturday again this year.

In the past, I've always wondered why people marched and how they found the time to do it. Once, when I was lucky enough to buy preview tickets for a Broadway production, I almost missed the show because protesters were blocking a street near the theater. I wanted to wallop a few of the dissidents that day, no matter how noble their cause. I feel your pain, but don't come between me and my musicals...

But now I get it.

As I listen to the radio every morning, I understand WHY a person wants to march.(Although, let's be honest, for some of us who are in our sixties, it's DEFINITELY more of a stroll than an actual march).

And I realize how a good old-fashioned protest can be inspirational. After last year's march, my sister Re started to volunteer at a center for struggling migrant workers and is still donating her time there every week. 

This year, me, a friend, my sister, two of her daughters and her seven-week-old grandson all stood together at the Women's March. Well, the baby just sort of napped, but it was still three generations worth of patriotism and chutzpah, which I shall never forget

Did we hold our signs up high? We did. (Mine: An illustration of the back end of a horse along with the caption "Stable genius? Or horse's ass?") Did we have a few laughs during the day? Indeed. Did we grab some lunch after the speeches were delivered? Girls gotta eat. Were we exhausted as we rode the bus home at the end of the day? You betcha. 

But we were glad that we had the right and that we took the time to stand-up for equality for all, malice toward none.

Honestly, it felt marvelous to chant against the vicious tone that has been set in the United States this past year.

Pocahontas? Dicky? Rocket Man? Grow the hell up, that's MY message. 

The presidential tweets alone are enough to make a sane person (not to mention an editor) scream.

And so screamed we did on Saturday.

And it's what we'll do in every damn election. 

Just listen, America - can ya hear us roar?    



Thems is Fightin' Words

There was some unedited footage online from a Charlottesville TV station that showed a big, gruff white supremacy dude hitting a counter-protester in the face because she dared to verbally confront him.

This was just one brief moment of depravity that ended in death and absolutely devastated America.

Yet at his "press conference" in front of Trump Tower in NYC a few days afterward, Donald Trump seemed astonished that reporters dared to ask him questions other than his intended topic: infrastructure.

After all, why confront the country's deep, dark moral divide when you can hold court about highways and byways?

Trump even had all his infrastructure data outlined in a colorful chart so that those of us who didn't go to the Wharton School could grasp the crucial information he was about to share.

But no one wanted to look at his !*&#! chart.

The press - or the "fake news" as referred to them during his talk, har-dee-har-har, boy, that sure is a funny phrase  - wanted to know what he thought about the Charlottesville protest fiasco and the murder of a counter-protester.

Of course, in his "I am NEVAH wrong" stance, Trump explained that he didn't immediately denounce the Nazis and the KKK participants because he didn't want to react too quickly.

"I wanted to know the facts," the prez said, adding, "When I make a statement, I like to be correct..." and "I don't want to rush into a statement."'

Ha ha ha, good one, Donald. I once thought that you didn't have a sense of humor, BUT I WAS WRONG! First that "fake news" bit and now THIS, you're KILLING it, pal, KILLING IT.

Anyway, when reporters pressed him with questions about race relations, he ignored the subject and instead continued with some blather about how good-paying jobs will solve EVERYTHING.


Trump reminded me of my dear hubby in that moment. He also tries the old "switch to another subject and she'll NEVER NOTICE" tactic.

Me: Honey, you left the shower curtain bunched up again - it makes it all mildew-y, please close it after you're done."

Himself: How 'bout them Phillies?

The Switcherooney is a great tactic if the person with whom you are communicating is really, really polite or a certified moron; otherwise, it's boorish and aggravating as hell.

But switching subjects will not erase Trump's "there is blame on both sides" theory about the Charlottesville protest.

There's rage simmering in our country because, you know, people get kinda upset when Nazi symbols start popping up on clothing like Calvin Klein labe

But the Prez seems downright oblivious to it all.

I read that Trump once said he could bring people together, but all he has done with his bull-headed, awkward, self-centered, paranoid and ill-constructed tweets is rip America apart.

Trump frequently uses the phrase "believe me," and he said it again while holding court at Trump Tower.

Believe him? You mean the guy who ended the press conference by inappropriately boasting that he owned a winery in Charlottesville and incorrectly describing it as "one of the largest in the United States."

Oh, dear God, if only we could.



The way Donald Trump has behaved since his victory reminds me a bit of Michael Jackson.

It bugged me when people glossed over Jackson’s utter strangeness - marrying his plastic surgeon's employee as his broodmare, hanging out with underage male actors, being best buds with a monkey, evolving from an adorable boy into a whispering, pinch-nosed, middle-aged wax figurine, to name just a few - and simply focused on his talents as the King of Pop.

And I'm sensing some of that same "let's pretend he didn't say/do/tweet that" happening with Trump.

Ever since the election – yes, the one I was dead wrong about - it's been one "HUH?" Trump headline after another. 

There are soooooo many to choose from, but one of my favs was the photo op with Trump and Kanye West.

Kanye, who had been acting erratic at his concerts and hospitalized for "severe exhaustion"(showbiz speak for psychiatric problems), met with Trump to discuss "multicultural issues" shortly after being released from the hospital.

Pardon me, is that what one does after being treated for an emotional breakdown, trot off to have your photo taken with the President-elect, whose calendar, by the way, should be crammed full with interviews for actual government positions? Kanye, please, skip the Trump Tower tete-a-tete and go see your shrink, it’ll be much more beneficial.

And how about Carl Paladino, who is "in contact with the Trump transition team" and is a close personal friend of the president-elect. Carl said he "hopes Obama catches mad cow disease" and that he hoped to see Michelle Obama "return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla." 

Sure, the Trump transition team condemned his remarks - DUH - but would you hang out a guy who said those vile comments? 

No thank you.

And did you hear that Trump wants the Energy Department to provide the names of employees who have been involved in climate talks or who helped advance Obama administration climate policies? 

Hello, we have lists now?

And don’t forget that for his Vice President he selected a man who believes that being gay is a personal choice and thinks that preventing gays from marrying is an enforcement of “God’s idea.”

Good to know he’s on speaking terms with the Lord. Please tell him that I said hello.

Of course, you heard his latest tweet to Meryl Streep, the acclaimed star who had the audacity to call him out for his record of cruel, bullying rants. He called her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”

You can almost HEAR the "nah nah nah nah nah nah" in his childish, braggadocios tone.

Doesn’t Trump get it that Americans can speak out against their elected officials? This ain’t Russia (yet) and he ain’t Putin, so Meryl and the rest of us have the freedom to say what we like without being ostracized to Siberia (yet).    

And speaking of shirtless old guys who think they look like Fabio sitting atop a horse, in a recent interview, Vladimir Putin told American Democrats that "you have to know how to lose with dignity." 

Well, I'll tell ya what, Vlad, when I see some dignity in one of your pal Trump’s infamous, "mean girl" tweets, I'll try to lose with it.

So while I might be a lousy soothsayer – again, I was wrong, wrong, wrong about the election, even though three mill more Americans voted for Hills than for Trump - I'm sticking with my gut fear and repeating a line that my Mother used whenever someone gave her the heebie jeebies:

The man is s-t-r-a-n-g-e.

You can rationalize and politicize his actions from now until inauguration day, but he's still a scary-strange dude.

If I'm wrong again, I'll take it like a woman.

But until then, God Help America.






And the Winner Is...

When I was a kid, I remember asking my Dad to divulge who he voted for in the presidential election, but he'd never told me.

I'd plead with him to fess-up, but he wouldn't, even though I could be what a child psychologist might define as "acutely persistent."

I'm not sure why Daddy Bones never disclosed which lever he pulled, but I'm guessing that he believed it was none of my beeswax. 

Part of his secrecy may be due to the fact that my parents were registered with one party because it was prudent to do so in our suburban town, but they may not have always voted along party lines. My Dad knew that if I learned his candidate of choice, I'd tell everyone in the neighborhood. "Good morning, Mrs.Kelly. Your garden looks quite vibrant and did you know that my Dad voted for Barry Goldwater?" My Mom was fond of beginning a lot of her conversations with me with the phrase "Don't tell anybody" and I guess my Dad took heed.

I think of my Father's dignified reserve as we mercifully trudge toward Election Day 2016. I remember last summer, when the first political television ads ran, all I could think was: Sixteen more months of this? (That's not true, I also thought: "Gee, no matter which party sponsors an ad, they all seem to use the same voice-over lady.")

But those 16 months have finally lapsed and, regretfully, so has much of our dignity. 

You've heard all the stories - couples breaking up over this election; families not speaking to each other after screaming about which candidate is the lesser of two evils; and Saturday Night Live producers praying that the next presidential election is half as juicy as this one.

Who am I voting for? Well, as a humor lover, I gotta go with the one who was funnier at an annual roast-style Catholic Charities fundraising event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan that - for some reason or another - typically attracts both presidential candidates during election years. 

Only 24 hours after battling in a televised debate like King Kong and Godzilla, Clinton and Trump were perched at seats between the Archbishop of New York. Who says politics are boring?

Its called the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner, but it was more like an Alfred E. Neuman event.

Both candidates did a little stand-up routine - what's next, tap dancing? - and neither one has the chops to become America's next late night television host. And granted, asking an amateur to perform a stand-up monologue at a society event with - this year, anyway - the whole world watching is like making them perform Madame Butterfly at the Met.

But one President-to-be was definitely more at ease with the role.

Of course, having a sense of humor does not a great president make. But having absolutely no sense of humor certainly doesn't help matters when you're residing in the White House. (See: Richard M. Nixon.) 

When I became an adult and my Dad assumed that I had matured ever so slightly, he finally let it leak that in 1960, he voted for John F. Kennedy. Not only that, he said that he stayed up all night with a bottle of whiskey (Irish Catholic president, Irish Catholic voter, whaddayaexpect?) until, near sunrise the next day, it was confirmed that JFK won.

So in homage to Tom Bones' overall privacy policy regarding his ballot, I'm not going to say who I'm voting for.

I'm only going to predict that it will be a landslide.

And, in true big-mouth form, I'm going respond to all your "my vote doesn't count" or "I hate both of them" by urging you to shut your traps and GET TO THE POLLS.

Why? Because, despite all evidence to the contrary lately, this is America and that's just what we do.