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."




OK, now here's my advice: never, ever be a braggart.

That especially applies to you famous people.

Don't gush about how much you and your spouse can't keep your toes off of each other, don't give us a list your "incredible" child's talents, don't say how smart you were to have sold your stocks before the economy went poooof. 

Because you know what happens when you do that? The universe conspires to set your smarty-pants self straight. So as soon as you confess to PEOPLE MAGAZINE that your lover is also your incredibly good-looking, sweet-smelling soul mate, BAM, your lust is bound to fizzle.

I think that's what happened to Jon and Kate of TLC fame. They always bragged about how their marriage was as everlasting as the Sierra Mountains. Even in the intro to their show, their mantra was "we're in this together." To reiterate, they held a re-commitment ceremony in front of their eight kids this year to renew their marriage vows. And then, just as soon as I sighed deeply at the beauty of their enduring bond, whambamthankyou, ma'am, the two of them tiptoed into the verge of a breakup.

See? I told you. KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT, FAMOUS PEOPLE! Realize that you are just mortal and if you happen to be lucky enough to enjoy love, money, family, clear skin, etc., smile to yourself and savor it quietly.

Even if Entertainment Tonight begs you for details, ZIP IT. That way, you don't have to eat your words, the rest of us don't have to wallow in jealousy at your magnificent life, and a collective peace will envelop the earth.

Until then, have I told you lately how marvelously my book has been selling?


And the Password IS...

OK, I want to you try this: Make a list of all your passwords. You know, they're the secret code you invented for your ATM and your Lands End account and your online banking and all that other good stuff. Sure, sure, you want to use just a single code for everything, but then some son of a gun on Facebook already has the nerve to stake a claim on your masterpiece, so you have to create another gem. Once you make your list, sit back and think of a day when the only code you had to remember was the number on your bicycle lock. Dems were da days...What's with all these passwords, anyway? Do we really need a password to find out more about Comedy Central? To become an inside member of the Victoria's Secret frequent buyers club? Is it just me or does it all seem a bit much? I just wanna scream, "Relax, everyone!" but I never do, I just scan my brain for a new, fresh, clever code. And then, before you know it, my head becomes so crammed, I up and forget the code to my bike lock...


Free Books and the Devil Whiskey

Saw an excellent play last week, "The Seafarers." In it, several Irishmen who have been downing glass after glass of whiskey, beer and "poteen" (strong Irish moonshine) on a Christmas Eve refer to some vagrants who are carrying on in an alley as "dem winos." You have to love it, don't you, the Irish pot calling the Irish kettle black? Anyway, on the drive home through downtown, trying to contemplate the message of the play, I noticed a bunch of young people rummaging through boxes of books that were being thrown out for trash day. I slowed down my car, lusting after the goods as only a true trash-picker can. "Anything good?" I asked one young woman who was holding onto an old, hardcover book. "Just some funny stuff," she replied, showing me the title, "1,000 Things to Do Before You Get Married." Ha, I advised her, it's more like a million things - no rush! We both had a good laugh at that one - the young twenty-something, out  for the night with her friends, and me, the old married broad who was single until she was 46. But I didn't tell the youngster that long tale, nor did I compete with her and her pals for literary treasures on the curbside. I just waved goodbye, drove off and left them to their foraging and the pursuit of fun things to do before they - maybe - get married some day. Then I returned to ruminating about the play in which the Devil visits two of the Irishmen to collect their souls in a deal they made with him years ago. Could the Devil symbolize alcohol, which we learn during the course of the play, is the root of all the considerable misery in these characters' lives? Hmmmmm. I'll have to think about that one - preferably, over a nice cuppa tea.


A Tooth Fairy by any Other Name...

So, it's my morning trek up Ridge Avenue, just before 8 am. All is quiet on the Philly front and there's not much going on. There's a man working on the reconstruction of the exterior of a dentist's office and I tell him that I miss the life-size angels that used to hold center stage in the windows. They were real show-stoppers, held up by visible wires, like a cash-strapped production of Peter Pan, but beautiful and striking nevertheless. "I hope those angels found a good home," I tell the man. "Well, actually, they're in the basement and they were Tooth Fairies, not angels." Are you telling me I passed this dental office a thousand times and it never dawned on me that those heavenly creatures were Tooth Fairies? What a numskull! Sure, it did occur to me that six-foot angels were an unusual adornment for a medical setting, but I just chalked it up to a dentist with an artistic flair and a knack for ornate productions. Sorry, Doc, all that wonderful wordplay, wasted on the likes of me.  I'll think of you - and your Tooth Fairies - every time I floss... Speaking of walks, yesterday's Race for the Cure in Philly was a mindblower. Susan G. Komen, you would be proud of the crowd. The families who walked together to recognize or honor a loved one were particularly striking. Strength - and fun - in numbers. Breast cancer, take that. If you haven't been to this gathering, give it a whirl. It's held every Mother's Day, complete with mobs of people, plus free giveaways and treats to keep up your strength. It's an event where a fine time is had by all, money is raised to battle the beast known as breast cancer, and an army in pink reigns as "Queen for a Day!"


Computer Hell...

Hey, my fellow computer-challenged nimrods, are you out there? I know you are. Oh, sure, you'll admit your insatiable fondness for cocktails, your addiction to bon-bons and your inability to forgo the crisp skin on that deep-fried chicken, but will you disclose the fact that computer programs, I-Pod downloads and tweets secretly make you shake with fear?Where's the support group for that? A good friend of mine holds a Ph.D. in physics and teaches math and computers at a university. He can't believe what a moron I am when it comes to computer technology. How many gigabytes do I have? Uh, sorry, Chard, haven't the faintest never entered my mind. What's your screen resolution? Couldn't tell ya, although I'm about to resolve never to use my keypad again...How old is your computer? Um, let's see, I recall that the first Mr. Bush may have been in office at the time...Oh, you should have heard my friend's audible cry of angst when he guestimated the age of my machine! He thinks I'm one-of-a-kind when it comes to computer idiocy, but I suspect he's wrong. My guess is there are tons of us, we just don't talk about it in public. It's sort of like the "C" word back in the day, only now, it stands for Computer Conspiracy, ie, Us vs. The-Lucky-Technologically-Knowledgeable-Sons-of-a-Gun. So fellow nincompoops, click carefully, keep your software bafflement to yourself and be careful out there...