As seen in
Nursing Home Unthinkable? Be Prepared in Case It’s Inevitable
By JANE E. BRODY JULY 28, 2014 Nobody looks forward to spending their final years in a nursing home, yet 1.4 million Americans are living in this often-feared institutional setting
You may not want to place a loved one in a nursing home for more than a short-term recovery — but never promise an aging relative that it won’t happen. “When faced with the responsibilities of providing 24-hour care for an aging person with ever-increasing physical needs beyond what one person can physically handle, a nursing home frequently becomes the best alternative,” Joanna R. Leefer writes in “Almost Like Home,” a user-friendly guide to choosing a nursing home. Nursing homes generally have had a bad reputation as smelly, indifferent places where people go to die. But “there are some homes that are better than being at home,” Ms. Leefer said in an interview. “And there are many more good facilities than bad ones.” Ms. Leefer developed her expertise through personal and professional experience, and her book is replete with checklists and scores of relevant websites. She learned a lot firsthand as primary caregiver for her aging parents, one of whom lived three years with nursing-home-type care. She worked five years for an advocacy organization for older adults, and she founded a consulting firm, ElderCareGiving, to help families make difficult care decisions. Click here to read more
As seen in the
Picking a Nursing Home Shouldn’t Be Trial and ErrorBy JANE E. BRODY AUGUST 4, 2014
Nearly half of the residents in nursing homes are there because their dementia, primarily Alzheimer’s disease, has reached a point where caring for them at home has become unsustainable. They may wander from home, not knowing how to return or even who they are, or awaken many times a night, causing mayhem and exhausting their caregivers. Falls, fires, poisonings,
self-injuries and physical aggression often become ever-present dangers.
The important message to families: It’s not a sign of weakness — more likely a sign of strength — to move a loved one with advancing dementia to a nursing home. But it isn’t easy to find a place that offers the services and environment that the patient needs.
Simply having a specialized dementia unit is not enough: The quality and extent of services may still vary widely.
“There are different levels of dementia, and people with it have different needs,” Joanna R. Leefer, the author of “Almost Like Home,” a guide to choosing a nursing home, said in an interview.
“Although most nursing homes now have a dementia wing, they’re not all good,” she said. “I had to move my mother three times before I found the right place for her where my father, who didn’t have dementia, could live, too.”
She found one home, for example, that was pleasant enough. Yet “people in the dementia unit primarily sat around,” Ms. Leefer said. “My mother needed a lot of physical activity and space to walk around.” click here to read more
Almost Like Home—A Family Guide to Navigating the Nursing Home Maze
Reviewed by Amy Shaffer Crawley, Well Spouse Association
Almost like Home is an easy-to-read book that contains everything you need to know when making the very difficult nursing home decision. Author Joanna Leefer-
founder of the consulting firm ElderCareGiving–wrote this book after being the primary caregiver to her parents in their final years. She realized that her ignorance in selecting a skilled nursing facility made the process more difficult yet there were few resources that gave simple, clear, and direct answers to act as a guide. Leefer’s first-hand knowledge and experience is evident as she carefully leads the reader through topics such as: patient advocacy, choosing the right nursing home, how to monitor care, Alzheimer’s/dementia care, and rehab. Further, the appendices contain very practical information regarding health care proxies, checklists, and even the Federal Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights. Leefer also includes a list of common terms and their definitions, such as Comprehensive Care Plan, Nursing Home Ombudsman, and Patient Review Instrument. This book should be in everyone’s home library when the arduous task of nursing home selection becomes a necessity. It will enable the caregiver to make clear and informed decisions. It is sold on Amazon.com