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  • Respite Care: Available Wherever You Live

    Probably because I’m in the aging biz, I find it almost impossible to believe that many caregivers still do not have even the slightest clue what to do when they need to go somewhere but have a live-in and dependent mom or dad (or whoever the family member might be) to care for. This makes no sense to me. Dozens of respite options are available, even in the smallest communities.

  • I Have the Power to Withhold Mom’s Medical Treatment

    Can I complete my mother’s mail-in ballot, voting as her proxy? While the answer may seem obvious, I wasn’t sure if it was legal or not. I know how she would vote in most cases. For those candidates and issues in doubt, I would not cast a vote.

    It seems perverse that I have the legal power to determine what medical procedures my mother gets or does not get, what services she accesses, and how she spends her money (a moot point now that she is on Medicaid), but I can’t legally cast a vote on her behalf for an initiative that will directly impact her life.

  • Caregiving Plans

    My friend Irene is now in charge of managing care for her mother-in-law. Other family members are in the area, including a son, but the job has gone to Irene. In her typically intelligent fashion, Irene did the research, called the experts, and asked a lot of questions. She gained a good understanding of the process and is prepared for the task. That said, I think she has set up a caregiving situation that, from my perspective, is fraught with problems.

  • Gossamer of Sadness

    “Getting old is hell,” my friend Jo recently wrote. I think her words and sentiment reflected her feelings of loss. Loss of her dear parents, who are slowly fading away, and a sense of loss as the signs of her own aging are becoming clearer with the passage of each birthday. Perhaps it’s not really getting old that seems so hellish as is the realization that what was once, will never be again.

  • Adult Day Care Is a Caregiver’s Best Friend

    Last week I spent three days straight with some of the nicest people in the world, people who work in adult day care and adult day health care centers. The First International Adult Day Services Association Conference was held in Seattle, Washington, and men and women from across the United States and Canada attended the three-day event. 

  • Happy Birthday, Mom

    My mother, Reva (Nemoff) Myers, was born October 4, 1918, in Detroit, Michigan, of then-recent Russian immigrants. That year, Mae West was a scandal on Broadway, and the War to End All Wars ended after four years of intense horror. In August of 1918, influenza exploded into a worldwide pandemic that killed over 25 million people in six months. In Russia, murder and starvation were widespread, and pogroms—manufactured riots directed against Jews—were in full force.

  • The Three Plagues of Long-term Care: Loneliness, Helplessness, and Boredom

    I want to throw my purse at long-term care facility administrators who say, because of financial restraints, that they cannot intentionally and successfully address what Dr. Bill Thomas calls the “three plagues” of long-term care: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. Their thinking goes, if facilities would only take in more money, there would be enough resources to deal with those problems. Claptrap. It’s not about money—it’s about culture and priorities.

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Do It Alone

    A shout out to those who shared their caregiving experiences related to residents’ boredom in long-term care.

    A few weeks ago, I wrote about my concern for my mother (Help! My Mother Is Dying of Boredom). She receives excellent care but seems quite bored. Not sure what to do, I asked readers to send in their take on the subject and a few suggestions for how they have dealt with the issue.

  • All by Itself, Managing the Money Is a Full-time Job

    I have job, a full-time job. Since I manage two adult day service associations—Washington Adult Day Services Association and National Adult Day Services Association—it sometimes feels like I have two full-time jobs. (I’m absolutely not complaining; my architect husband has been out of work since January.) And I have been managing my mother’s finances and care for about two years, which means I essentially have three jobs.

  • Help! My Mother Is Dying of Boredom

    My mother appears to be quietly fading. I understand the process of dementia, but she seems so vacant, partly because of the relentless boredom she lives with. 

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