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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Three Cheers for the Boston Marathon volunteers.

April is National Volunteer Month and I was at a volunteer party at Calcutta House, a residence in Philadelphia for people with HIV/AIDS, on the evening of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Ironically, as the volunteer festivities were getting underway, a television in the Calcutta living room was showing the scene of marathon volunteers who ran to help those who had been injured by the bomb's blast. Those folks didn't need an official month to show their volunteer chops - they just instinctively pitched in, even though danger enveloped them.  

The scene was so grim that the TV was turned off so we could all get in more of a celebratory mood for the volunteer party. The gathering was a modest affair, organized by the residents to show their appreciation for people who cook for them, buy gifts for them at Christmas, play chess with them or just sit and chat with them - it's simple and direct volunteering and doesn't involve a single board meeting (or as I like to call them, bored meetings.) The volunteers ranged from college students to middle-aged folks to elderly church ladies, and the residents gave each a plaque and enough kudos that made even the most humble soul feel proud. 

The secret about volunteering is that far from being a great sacrifice, it's actually a lot of fun. Before the bombs erupted at the Boston Marathon, you can bet that those volunteers were smiling, energized and having a ball on that crisp, sunny spring day. 

The marathon volunteers are the antitheses of the bottom-dwellers who set off the bomb at the Marathon; the former ooze joy and the latter reek of evil, disappointment and hopelessness.

What can we do to fight against their murderous depravity?

In conjunction with National Volunteer Month, I propose that everyone volunteer somewhere. It doesn't have to be "official" - just drive a neighbor who doesn't have a car to the supermarket or take someone who is lonely to a movie and, wah-la, you're a volunteer. Do you help your elderly uncle clean his house? Did you take your Mom to lunch when she was feeling down? Good, you're a volunteer, too. Congrats. 

A memorable New Yorker cartoon appeared in the weeks following 9/11. It showed two gentlemen sitting at a bar and one says to the other: "I figure if I don't have that third martini, then the terrorists win."

In that spirit, let's make sure that the bombers lose.

Erase their heinous acts and honor the Boston Marathon volunteers, victims and runners by becoming a volunteer in your own special way.

Then maybe you'll even get a party, a plaque and a chance to thumb your nose at those who think they can bring us down with their homicidal misery.




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