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.





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Have you ever been wrapping a Christmas gift for someone and suddenly been struck by the notion that maybe, just maybe, you bought that person the exact same gift last Christmas?

Oh well, it's the senile thought that counts.

Anyway, Christmas should be more about people than a pair of Old Navy PJs, correct?

Thankfully, this year we have a new baby in the family to celebrate with us (three Cheers for Liam!) and another new in-law (welcome, Devon!).

I have a terrible memory (see the Christmas gift dilemma above), so I can barely recall Christmases of yore, but I definitely still have strong memories of the certain Christmases, like the one where Santa brought me a mini-doll kitchen that had real running water (but only when you poured some H2O in the back of the teeny tiny sink). I thought it was the most amazing invention of the 20th century and played with that toy for hours, which may be why I feel sort of burned out when it comes to cooking in adult-sized kitchens in the 21st century.

Some of the best Christmas celebrations I can remember were totally unplanned. When I was single (again) and living alone, it dawned on me a few days before Christmas that no one was going to see the decorations that I had so carefully placed throughout my little condo. So to show off my mistletoe, I invited my family and some old friends to a last minute Christmas Eve party at my place, figuring maybe I'd get a handful of people who happened to be free. But as it turned out, a lot of folks were happy for the invite, including old neighbors from our childhood home and new neighbors from my condo building. With friends, nieces and nephews, and my Dad serving as my gracious co-host, honest to God, we had a truly fun and festive time at my modest abode. It was a Christmas Eve that I never expected and one I never forgot, God bless us everyone!

When I was in my early 20s, my friend T had a party every year on Christmas night. We twenty-somethings had spent Christmas day with our parents and graced them with our presence at dinner, but by nightfall, we had enough of familial togetherness and were ready to celebrate with our pals. And boy, did T pack 'em in. By the time midnight arrived, his place looked like a roaring Twenties speakeasy, with everyone dancing, singing and partying away. I have never heard of anyone having a Christmas night party for the young and single crowd since then, and I'm not sure if it would work today, but those Christmas nights are highlights of holidays gone by. Of course, once T and everyone started to settle down and have kids, the Christmas night soiree was history. But to this day, T and his wife Fran still have an annual bash on Boathouse Row on the weekend before Christmas that is equally jam-packed, this time with the families that have sprung forth from that 1970s crowd of Christmas revelers.But no matter how wonderful Christmases past were, there is absolutely nothing like Christmas present. 

So Merry Christmas everyone - hope it's your best one yet!



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