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."



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...


Mine That Name

So when Mine That Bird came from waaayyyyyy behind to win the Kentucky Derby this week, everyone wanted to know the origin of the horse's name. I immediately thought of the birds they used in release in coal mines to test for toxic gases. If the bird returned from the mine, it was safe for workers  to go below; if not, bye bye birdie. According to news reports, Mine That Bird's name comes from its parents, Mining My Own and Birdstone. But I think it represents its bravery to venture into unproven territory, ahead of all others.


Keep on Truckin'...

So I never thought I'd say this, but I saw one of those huge Philadelphia trash trucks today and it was gorgeous! The Mural Arts program worked with school kids to design art which was then painted on to several of Philly's trash trucks. You should see them - they are literally works of art. So if they can make a Philly trash truck beautiful, I believe there is hope for our town. Now, if only those nice trash men could make an effort to leave less rubbish on the street when they pick up our garbage, I'd be less grumpy about the litter situation around these here parts...