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Tag Archives: nursing home

Goodbyes, Hello, and Love


The two hardest things to say in life are hello for the first time and goodbye for the last — Moira Rogers I read the above quote this week and thought it a perfectly fitting expression. Several members of our caregiving family are dealing with the saying of goodbye and I know from past experience, this isn’t easy. My heart goes out to each and every one of you.  My only encouragement is to be ... Read More »

Ten Tips to Effective Communication with Facility Staff


You’ve recently moved your mom to an assisted living facility. You’re working through the adjustment as best you can. Unfortunately, your mom’s complaints begin to pile up: She eats breakfast too late. She waits too long for help. She hates her roommate. What can you do to ensure your mom has what she needs? These tips can help you communicate effectively with staff: 1. Remember that you and the facility staff are on the same ... Read More »

Why Did You Put Me Here?


Amy cared her mom, Edith, at home until, well, her life fell apart. First, Amy lost her job. Then, she lost her home to foreclosure. She knew she could live temporarily with a friend. Obviously, her mom, with her care needs, couldn’t move in with Amy’s friend. So, Amy and Edith looked at skilled nursing facilities together and selected one they both felt could meet Edith’s needs. To say it’s been a difficult transition would ... Read More »

I Want to Go Home

“I want to go home.” You hear the words when you visit your caree in the nursing home or at your home in the afternoon when your caree’s confusion increases or on sad days when your caree just longs for a life that’s gone. Five small words that feel like a dagger in the heart. How do you answer? Some ideas to help you form your answer: 1. The temptation may be to stop the ... Read More »

Is There a Better Place?


I went to visit Dad today and found out he was miserable. Lately this has been the norm but this time he seemed even more aggravated. So I asked why he was so miserable and heard how the CNA at his nursing home let him sleep late this morning and it messed up his whole day. He has made it clear to the staff that he wants to be up at 7:30 am. It seems ... Read More »

Easy Breezy Summertime


I’m experiencing a unique time in my life. For the first time in over six years, there is no immediate, pressing, red-letter emergency brewing. I haven’t been to the Emergency Room in months. No one is in the hospital. No rushed trips home, only a few urgent phone calls. It’s been weird. Mind you, I remain as busy as ever. Mom is still a dementia patient residing full time in an Alzheimer’s facility. Mom readily ... Read More »

A Promise that Can’t Break


My mom has already said, “My daughter will care for me. I won’t be in a nursing home.” And, certainly, my goal would be to keep my parents home (in theirs or mine) for the remainder of their lives. I don’t have a magic ball, though. So, my intent today can’t determine my decisions of tomorrow. Care at home could become too much—because of its intensity, its costs or its requirements. It could become impossible ... Read More »

How Do You Know When It’s Time?

Beth began caring for her mom in 2002, after mother’s stroke. Over the years, a few family members regularly warned Beth that she must be careful the situation doesn’t become too much for her, her husband and their three children. The warnings created huge worries for Beth. How do I know when it’s too much for me?, she asked me. How do I know when it’s time for my mom to go to a nursing ... Read More »

Getting a Break: Ideas for a Week Of Respite


@G-J shared a story with me about caring for her father about five years ago during our Sandwich Shop talk show in January. After her mother died, G-J’s father moved from Arizona to her home in California. After a few months of living together, G-J invited her father to join her husband and son on a long-planned week-long vacation. His response: Absolutely not. I’m not going. But G-J couldn’t not go. It had been a ... Read More »

Help to Find Quality Care


When you entrust your caree into the care of another, you wish for good care. So, when you begin the search for quality care, whether in the home or in the nursing home, you may wonder where to start. Begin with free tools available from and Home Health Compare, available at, helps you when you’re considering hiring in-home help through a Medicare-certified home care agency. A Medicare-certified agency will have nurses, physical ... Read More »

Promotion to Potted Plant


One of the realities of dementia is the loss of language.  It’s clear my mom recognizes that there is a connection between her and I but she gets very creative in describing what that connection is.  She has at times identified me as either her father or her husband although her most common descriptor of me is brother.  Only rarely and always only briefly does she correctly identify me as her son. I like to ... Read More »

Costs of Assisted Living, Nursing Homes Rise


Today, Genworth Financial, Inc. released its 2013 Cost of Care Survey, which details the costs of home care services and long-term care facilities. Nationally, the 2013 median hourly cost of homemaker services and home health aide services is $18 and $19 respectively, the company said. Homemaker costs have risen just 1.4 percent since 2012 and 0.8 annually over the past five years. Home health aide services have risen 2.3 percent since 2012 and 1.0 percent ... Read More »


I visited Mom again today.  I’m happy to report that I’ve been restored to the family tree, albeit in the position of brother again.  Still feels good to be back in the fold.  Mom and I laughed and just hung out together.  She of course had no memory of the day before, that is the blessing of dementia. As I visited, I reflected back on what that previous episode must have felt like to her.  ... Read More »

Spring Break: Pressing On

It is spring break here in my community and in honor of that, I’ve take some time off from my regular paid vocation.  The weather in our part of the county is mild, especially compared to the North and Midwest.  The only thing falling in our air is pollen. Mind you it’s not exactly a vacation since there is plenty of “chores” to get done in my non-paid vocations of single parent, homeowner, and caregiver. ... Read More »

Filling in the Gaps, An Unexpected Gift


“It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.” You’ve no doubt received a version of the above phrase via email long ... Read More »

Involve the Facility in End-of-Life Conversations


By now you’re probably heard the tape of the 911 call from Glenwood Gardens, an independent living facility in Bakersfield, Calif., for help after an 87-year-old resident collapses in a dining room. During the call, the 911 dispatcher directs the caller, a registered nurse, to begin CPR on the resident. The nurse refuses. The ambulance arrives and transports the resident to the hospital where she later dies. Jeffrey Toomer, the executive director of the community, ... Read More »

U.S. News & World Report Releases Best Nursing Homes 2013


Looking for a skilled nursing facility for your caree is really a search for which facility you can trust to provide quality care for your caree. To help you find the best facility for your caree, U.S. News & World Report today released its fifth annual Best Nursing Homes ratings. The ratings highlight the top nursing homes in each state and in nearly 100 major metropolitan areas; you’ll find the ratings here. In addition to ... Read More »

No Longer on the Tree


I’ve often described my Mom’s concept of who I was by using the family tree. Although I was no longer a close branch, no longer her son, I was at least a brother or uncle. I took comfort knowing that while I had slid down the trunk of our family tree I was at least still clinging on. This holiday season however it was driven home that things have changed appreciably. I’m no longer on ... Read More »

Merry Christmas,


Knowing me I’ll be moving in thousand different directions over the next few days, not to mention the world is scheduled to end anyway so I figured I’d better wish my family an early holiday greeting now, at 3:00 am while I was thinking of it. The picture by the way is of the Christmas tree in my Mom’s nursing facility.  Mingled among the ornaments are pictures of the residents current and recently passed. ... Read More »

Giving Thanks in 2012


“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks…”   [1 Thess 5:16-18a] A year ago I wrote a post titled “Giving Thanks” where I listed some of the Caregiving related items I was thankful for.  As the holiday rolled around again I contemplated what such a list would say this time around: I am thankful that my several family members who’ve died since last Thanksgiving are now at rest; their journey, their struggle is over. ... Read More »

Recharging the Batteries, Bit by Bit


Since my Dad’s death I’ve taken a deliberately lower profile across all social and electronic media. A combination of grief, depression and simple emotional exhaustion made it prudent to do so. I’ve pulled up and scanned from time to time, been deeply touched by so many of your posts, but simply didn’t have the emotional reserves to provide a cogent answer. Most I could do was quietly pray for you. Life has remained busy ... Read More »

Visions of Home


Dad’s funeral was nice. It was what Dad would have wanted. It was also a major milestone. It was the first funeral attended by my kids since the one for their Mom. They’ve had other opportunities, for lack of a better term, but were never strong enough to attend, until now. They came to Dad’s though and although they admitted to me that it wasn’t easy, they did great. My niece and nephew also attended. ... Read More »