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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Ronnie Spector, often referred to as the original bad girl of rock and roll, was scheduled to perform in Cape May, so my sister Re and I decided to buy tickets to see her in concert. She had been married to producer Phil Spector, the whack job who is now in jail for fatally shooting an actress, and was the lead singer of the Ronettes, one of the most popular girl groups from back in the day, which added to her intrigue.

As we were driving to the event, we checked out her bio online, which was rich with tales of her psycho marriage and her connection with mega groups like the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

But there was one cold stat that made both of us say "Uh, oh!" in unison: Ronnie was born in 1943, which made her 70 years old. 

Keep in mind that we are not exactly bathing in the fountain of youth ourselves, but if there is one thing that can make you an ageist, it's finding a performer who is even older than you - and wondering if they can still cut it. 

So we went to the Cape May Convention Center with trepidation...until Ronnie and her band came out on stage.

She was small, she was spunky and she was perpetually smiling. It only took one song for her to erase any prejudice we had about whether a 70-year-old can whoop it up.

Of course, she looked nothing like the promo pictures that advertised her appearance at the shore town. That glam shot was taken a good four decades ago and should be mercifully archived. Ronnie, there's a reason why the government makes you update your driver's license every four years... 

It's true, she didn't strut around or hit the high notes like Tina Turner, but she was engaging, friendly, energetic and eager to entertain. She sashayed across the stage with body language that proved that she could still move like a pro. She wore slim pants that showed off her tight figure and semi-sensible shoes (closed-toe two inch high heels, if you must know the details, ladies), plus a wig that probably weighed more than she did. The flamboyant fake hair gave her the appearance of a young hipster, but the damn thing made her sweat so bad that I wanted to run up on stage and hand her a popsicle or an ice cold washcloth for some relief.

But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to maintain her image as a music icon - and to shut-up those of us who were ready to judge her harshly.  

By the end of the performance, that old girl taught these old girls that you shouldn't judge a book by it's date of publication.

We were guilty of profiling and we got served.

Ronnie rocked.

And when we're 70 - if we're lucky - we naysayers can claim the same damn thing. 

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