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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My passport had expired and although writing the $110 check for a new one was painful enough, taking a photo for it was downright excruciating.

I headed to the nearest drugstore so a 19-year-old clerk could take the two- inch mugshot that will stay with me for a decade. The young girl who photographed me right in front of the cold remedies display in the bright, busy CVS was sweet, but I have seen more attractive autopsy shots than the picture she took.  

In fact, it was so awful that I couldn't bear to send it away with my passport application and headed to a Rite Aid, hoping that another youngster who doubled as clerk/official photographer could make me look human. God love her, the outcome was not quite as horrifying as the first version, and when I travel overseas, I'll do my best to look as utterly wretched as I do in my passport photo...

About the same time that I was fretting over my pharmacy photos, my sister gave me a giant container of old family pictures to sift through. (Watching a particularly nauseating episode of "Extreme Hoarders" can inspire some serious spring cleaning projects.) And as I shuffled through literally a hundred years of photos, I wondered if future generations will ever do the same.

You know how it is today - you capture moments from parties and celebrations with your phones or digital cameras and post them online. But when was the last time you actually printed a photo, except for the occasional wedding or other life-changing occasion?

So what will happen to all of those images that we never develop? Will our offspring be able to look at them in 50 years or will they be lost in cyberspace, when we and/or our computers expire?

I never met my maternal grandmother - she died of heart disease in her forties, before I was born - and I have no possessions of hers to treasure, but I do love the black and white pictures of her from early in the 20th century.The photo below of her was dated "summer 1919" and was probably taken in Atlantic City. When I scrutinize this shot, I am struck by the fact that one of my nieces look remarkably like her great-grandmother, the young girl who posed on the beach almost 100 years ago.  

In the same batch of photos, I also found this high school pic of my mom. She looks like an angel and I am honored to have this image of her as a young woman. But, again, will her great-grandchildren have photos of themselves for their great-grandchildren to cherish later in the 21st century?


But I'll be honest, not every photo from the treasure trove that my sister gave me is a keeper and I'll admit that I ripped up a bunch of them. (Let's just say that the early teen years were not kind to many of us, mainly moi.)

And on that note, in only ten short years, my passport will expire and I'll finally be able to destroy that damn 2013 drugstore passport photo...Until then, immigration personnel, be gentle. 

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Reader Comments (1)

You're writing some great stuff here! Glad I finally found you're blog!

November 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaryLynn

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