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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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."




Never take candy from a stranger, right?
How about from a phone company?

In my neighborhood, there is a cell phone shop (one of many) with the predictable ugly, block-lettered signs on its storefront window: "UNLIMITED MINUTES!" "LEARN ABOUT OUR SPECIAL PROMOTIONS!" "ONLY TWO STUDENTS ALLOWED AT A TIME." (Why? Are they afraid of crowds of unruly hooligans storming the joint after school to grab that tantalizing text message offer?) But along with these signs, what really stood out was one that proclaimed "CANDY- 85 CENTS" and was highlighted with crude graphics of Skittles, Snickers and other well known candy bars.

So what marketing genius was sitting around, brainstorming about how to attract cell-phone loving youngsters, and suddenly thought: "I know how to grab their attention - CANDY! It works every time!"

Yes, that's right, folks, they're what you call a full-service store - they sell cell phones and candy! Bill Gates, you certainly have created some clever ideas in the business world, but wait until you hear this one!

Personally, I  think the whole idea sounds suspect at best.

So kids, remember what your mama told you and avoid strangers with candy.

However, if you are too weak to resist the lure of inexpensive sweets, remember: candy causes cavities and only two students allowed at a time.



With Apologies to George Hamilton...

It happened at the beginning of every summer.

My sisters and I, ashamed of our "shoobie" winter whiteness, longed to "get some color." We'd wait for the first sunny day, apply gobs of baby oil on our skin to attract the rays and before nightfall we'd have ourselves a nice case of sun poisoning. I'm not talking about a little sunburn, I mean honest to goodness, slap-your-mama sun poisoning with burnt skin, puffy eyes and an overall body ache that would render us motionless for days. 

Flip forward a few decades and I have wretched proof of that sun exposure: arms and legs with so many brown spots that they look like polka-dotted limbs and "age spots" on my face that have to be burned off by a vigilant dermatologist.  

I think of my polka dots when I see the young girls and women who are packed in the waiting room of the local tanning salon, especially during prom season. Under the assumption that tanning beds are a "safer" means of developing a glow, these ladies flock to the place and emerge with a color that seems awkward, artificial.

Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a unit of the World Health Organization, put tanning beds on its carcinogenic list. The medical journal The Lancet Oncology, reported that using tanning devices before the age of 30 increases skin melanoma risk 75 percent. And, I'm sure no thanks to the increase in tanning beds, the CDC says that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

Thems is some scary numbers, ladies.

But if that info isn't enough to run you out of the tanning salon, make a list of five famous women whom you consider gorgeous. Then take a look at their skin. Do they look they have been frying in a tanning bed? Not a chance.

And if you need further proof that a tanning bed is a no-no and a premature wrinkle-maker, feel free to take a look at my polka dots. (Or just watch the movie "Something About Mary" and pay attention to the neighbor - you know which lady I mean!) Then grab an SPF 45, love yourself for what you are, tell skin cancer to fughetaboutit and call it a day!



My darling spouse tries the same trick as Sarah Palin: sometimes he nonchalantly pronounces a statement so confusingly absurd that for a moment I think he's making perfect sense until it hits me - he's full of malarkey and hoping I won't notice.

He must have given Palin lessons.

When I listen to excerpts of her speeches, like the one during her resignation as Alaska's governor, my initial reaction is "HUH?" I often fail to unravel any logic in her thought process, despite the fact that English is indeed my first language. My eighth grade nun, who spent an entire school year teaching us how to properly construct and diagram sentences, must be wincing in her grave. (If she is in fact dead, which she probably is because a class of 50 hormone-rich 14-year-olds who couldn't care less about proper sentence structure is enough to drive anyone to a premature demise.) For example, Palin's recent plea that media stop their infernal lying "in honor of the American soldier" seems convoluted, sketchy, and a little like something your wacky Aunt Martha might say after a few Manhattans.

But despite her communication failings, she sure does a bang up job at building drama. Days of Our Lives could learn a trick or two from Palin - she knows drama!

She also knows how to protect her offspring like a mother bulldog, so I will say nary a word about the kids. But may I say a utter a "tsk tsk" regarding her husband? He's a grownup, no? Then why doesn't he dress like one? During his wife's recent gosh-darn-it resignation festivities, she was resplendent in an I'm-outta-here business suit while he was sat on stage sporting jeans and a parka-type vest. It was disappointing, to say the least. I feel just as disgruntled when I see people wearing shorts and a T-shirt to a funeral. (My humble theory is if the deceased can dress appropriately for the burial, so can the mourners.)

Yes, yes, I realize that I'm ranting a bit, but have I made my thoughts about direct sentences and dressing-for-success clear? Good. Try it some time, Sarah - ya'll might like it.


(Lotsa) Child's Play

Boo hiss on the morons who gave the visiting campers the evil eye at the swim club outside of Philadelphia. Where do they think they are, in the cast of Stepford Wives? Imbeciles. No excuse for their bigotry. But I think there is one factor that people seem to have overlooked in this case: 60+ kids. Have you been around a crowd of 60 kids lately? God love them and all, but 60 kids together at camp can make some noise. Do you remember being at camp as a kid? You're with your buddies and your parents aren't around and you're revved-up for fun - loud fun! So if you're lounging at your pool and 60 kids come in with eight camp counselors, you're gonna notice. If those kids are white, black, brown, green, striped or polka-dotted, you're probably going to say to yourself, "Uh, oh, there goes my quiet time" - or that's what I'd think. Keep in mind that I love kids and I was, for a brief period of time, a kid myself, so it's nothing personal. It's just that 60 kids reminds me of my crowded grade school class where 50 or more young students were squeezed into one classroom - it was a kid-concentrated mass that eventually sent more than one nun to a "rest home." So let's say it once again, those people who looked at the campers in horror because of the color of their skin, get off your racist horse and join the 21st century. To the moron manager who agreed to let 60 extra kids in the pool, where was your brain? Kids, gotta love 'em, just don't want to spend a summer afternoon with five dozen of them.


Heaven, I'm in Heaven...

I have two words for you this week: Gerard Butler.

Saw him in a Scottish DVD "Dear Frankie" in which he was simply spellbinding (as was everyone else in the cast).

Turns out he was also in some movies I'll probably never see ("3000") and some I loved ("Mrs. Brown") and this summer he'll appear in a new release, "The Ugly Truth" with Katherine Heigl. They are advertising this film on television commercials every eight minutes or so, which my sister says is a sure fire means of predicting that it will be a stinker. But don't you see? I don't care if it's rubbish. I'm going anyway. Why? I told you, two very appealing words: Gerard Butler.