As a family caregiver of multiple elders, I needed a facility where more than one of my elders could live while I cared for others in various locations. My family was fortunate to find an excellent nursing home just a few blocks from my home. During the 15 years that my loved ones (different people at different times) lived in this facility, I learned a great deal about what makes a good nursing home tick. I interviewed a licensed nursing home administrator for her tips on selecting a nursing home not long ago, but as a family member, I’d like to add a few more ideas. Read more →


Dear Carol: My sister is the primary caregiver for our dad who is in a nursing home because of Alzheimer’s disease. She lives in his community and I live over 100 miles away. I try to visit every other weekend to give my sister a much-deserved break and often we’ll meet at the nursing home. I do understand her stress. She has a husband, a job, middle-school-aged kids with all that goes with raising kids, plus the primary responsibility of our dad. The problem is that her stress shows in her body language when she's helping Dad. I know that I'm not always as soothing and gentle as I should be either, so I’m not being super critical about her. Still, I’m not sure that she’s aware that she needs to try to do better in this area. Dad sometimes looks confused even when she’s trying to soothe him, and I’m wondering if her motions tell him that she’s angry. Should I bring this up? Read more →


One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.” Read more →