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It's finally come to the point of no return. You can't keep sweet talking the fire department when Mom calls them because she fell and can't get up, nor the police when they bring Mom home for the third time, picked up wandering lost 4 blocks away. Or you can't keep up with the messes Dad is making, particularly the time he nearly burned the house down leaving a pan on the stove until it burst into flames and charred the range hood.

It is estimated that 40% of people over 65 will spend some of their lives in a nursing home, and 50% of them have a close living relative. You might feel like you are.but you are not alone. 

This is a wrenching decision with common themes: "I promised I wouldn't send her to a nursing home, but I have no choice." "These places are snake pits." "After all he did for me, how can I do this to him?" "They won't treat her like a family member." 

The reality is that no place will feel like home.her home, but few places are "bad" anymore. Congress took care of that with a truckload of regulations that nursing homes struggle to comply with. Your task is to find the best place you can in the time you have to look, AND to ask some questions that let the management know that people are expecting more nowadays. 

So, what to look for? Three words: Quality of Life. So why say more? Because every place claims to promote quality of life. Unfortunately, very few go to sufficient lengths to ensure it! Case in point: why do people voluntarily seek out condos but avoid moving into nursing homes? This sounds laughable, but why? Why shouldn't long-term care be as pleasant as living in a condo? The reasons you don't move to a nursing home yourself are the indicators that they are not trying hard enough to "break the mold" and de-institutionalize. 

"The mold" is what I call the Institutional Mind of long-term care (LTC). This view promotes efficiency over the personal touch, and it is the direct



www.Dishmag.com / Issue 19 - September 2001
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