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The Ribbon - Care for Caregivers
Volume 9, Issue 2
May 15, 2005

1325 Venus Drive
Nashville, TN 37217-1918


We welcome you back as you hopefully welcome us back.

As Karen told you in the previous newsletter things have been VERY busy in all our lives. No matter what we are dealing with, life does continue to go on. Sometimes it feels we get so bogged down we just can't go on. We are very lucky that we have good friends made through this newsletter and The Gathering Place who keep boosting us back up when the going gets rough.

In our meeting last month, in discussing whether or not we should continue, we all decided we wanted to and we also confessed to the guilt we had and were feeling about not getting The Ribbon out. We feel we owe this newsletter to you as you have been so much help to us.

We do ask again that you help us out. If there is something you wish to ask, something you wish to say, an article you think needs to be read by all then let us know. We are more than happy to share. I would like to ask anyone who is a member of DASNI who has something important to share with carepartners send it in. We all crave the knowledge that you can share with us.

We are back on a roll again though a much slower roll, monthly instead of bi-monthly but we are here for you again.


Question of the Month

It seems that most Dementia patients eventually get a fear of water and bath time becomes a huge issue. What do you do to ease the transition into the bath? Do you have tips or tricks that will help others? Are there any tips that did not work for you? All answers will be in the next issue as will be a new question.

From The Archives

Nursing Home Checklist

As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes we have no choice and a decision has been made to place our loved one in a nursing home. Visit Nursing homes in your area BEFORE they are needed to that you can make a choice based on what you want rather than having to decide at the last minute and not being satisfied.

This checklist is designed to help you evaluate and compare the nursing homes that you visit. It would be a good idea to make several copies of this checklist, so that you will have a new checklist for each home you visit. After you have completed checklists on all the nursing homes you plan on visiting, compare your checklists. Comparisons will be helpful in selecting the nursing homes that might be the best choice for you.

Part 1 - Basic Information
Name of Nursing Home: 
Cultural/Religious Affiliation (if any): 
Medicaid Certified?YesNo
Medicare Certified?YesNo
Admitting New Residents?YesNo
Convenient Location?YesNo
Home capable of meeting your special care needs?YesNo
For parts two through five, rate the nursing home on a scale from one to ten, with ten being a perfect score.
Part 2 - Quality of Life
1. Are residents treated respectfully by staff at all times? 12345678910
2. Are residents dressed appropriately and well-groomed? 12345678910
3. Does staff make an effort to meet the needs of each resident? 12345678910
4. Is there a variety of activities to meet the needs of individual residents? 12345678910
5. Is the food attractive and tasty? (sample a meal if possible) 12345678910
6. Are resident rooms decorated with personal articles? 12345678910
7. Is the home's environment homelike? 12345678910
8. Do common areas and resident rooms contain comfortable furniture? 12345678910
9. Does the facility have a family and residents' council? 12345678910
10. Does the facility have contact with outside groups of volunteers? 12345678910
Part 3 - Quality of Care
11. Does staff encourage residents to act independently? 12345678910
12. Does facility staff respond quickly to calls for assistance? 12345678910
13. Are residents and family involved in resident care planning? 12345678910
14. Does the home offer appropriate therapies (physical, speech, etc.)? 12345678910
15. Does the nursing home have an arrangement with a nearby hospital? 12345678910
Part 4 - Safety
16. Are there enough staff to appropriately provide care to residents? 12345678910
17. Are there handrails in the hallways and grab bars in bathrooms? 12345678910
18. Is the inside of the home in good repair and exits clearly marked? 12345678910
19. Are spills and other accidents cleaned up quickly? 12345678910
20. Are the hallways free of clutter and well-lighted? 12345678910
Part 5 - Other Concerns
21. Does the home have outdoor areas (patios, etc.) for resident use? 12345678910
22. Does the home provide an updated list of references? 12345678910
23. Are the latest survey reports and lists or resident rights posted? 12345678910
24. (Your Concern) 12345678910
25. (Your Concern) 12345678910
Additional Comments:  

This checklist may be reproduced and circulated. It is designed to be used in concert with the Health Care Financing Administrations booklet, The Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home. This booklet can be obtained by calling (800) 638-6833.

From The Archives

Your Rights as a Relative

Relatives and friends have rights too. Family members and legal guardians have the right to privacy when visiting the nursing home (but only when requested by the resident.) They also have the right to meet with the families of other residents. If the nursing home has a family council, you have the right to join or address this group. By law, nursing homes must develop a plan of care for every resident. Family members are allowed to assist in preparing the development of this care plan, with the resident's permission. In addition, relatives who have legal guardianship of nursing home residents have the right to examine all medical records concerning their loved one. If you are a resident's legal guardian, Federal law gives you the right to make important decisions on behalf of your relative. It is important to remember that relatives play a major role in making sure that residents are receiving good care. You can make sure your loved one is receiving good care by visiting often, expressing your concerns whenever they arise, and being active in the nursing home's family council (or helping to start a family council if the nursing home does not have one.) Remember that if your concerns are not being addressed by the nursing home or if you have a complaint, there are people who can help. Contact your state long-term care ombudsman or state survey agency.

Helpful Links

Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home
This is a wonderful site and can answer most any question you might have. A lot of our information came from this site. There is so much info here you just have to click this link and go there.

Mental Health Net - Aging and Geriatric Resources
A guide with links to help you find most all answers. It even has a reader rating system, "Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down"

In Passing: Those We Must Remember

John Ray Datel went to eternal rest with our Lord after a 10-year struggle with Alzheimer's disease on April 6, 2005, his family by his side at home. He was born in Dayton, Texas July 29, 1929. His wife Dean Datel of San Antonio, one daughter Lisa and son-in-law Bill of Baytown, Texas survives him along with his beautiful granddaughters, Ashley and Raegan of Baytown, Texas, the two bright rays of sunshine that were the joys of his life. Brother Louis of Lafayette, LA. Three sisters, Louise of Dayton, Texas, Mary of Longview Texas and Julia also of Dayton.

John was a quiet, gentle man who touched the lives of everyone he met. God saw how much he had suffered so he called him home to rest. Though he had no memories of recent happenings, he never forgot his daughter or granddaughters nor did he forget the many places that he traveled to during his many years of working. His jobs took him to nearly every country of the world. John was a member of Local 798 Pipeliners Assn. Later he became a certified Pipeline Inspector. He never wanted to be the center of attention but he always gave everyone his best. This has been a long journey as so many of you know. God called him home. His wishes were to be cremated and his ashes strewn in the Texas Bluebonnets. His reasoning was that every time we saw a bluebonnet our thoughts would be of this kind, loving man.

God saw that you were getting tired and a cure was not to be.
So he wrapped his arms around John and whispered, "Come with Me"

Golden heart stopped beating -- hardworking hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best.

Written by Dean Datel

Editor's note: Due to privacy, last names of family have been deleted.

Book Review

I was sent an Advance Reading Copy of a new book Alzheimer's Disease written by Paul Dash, MD and Nicole Villemarette-Pittman, PhD.

This to me is an exciting book. It explains so much in layman's terms so it is easy to understand. A few of the chapters include, Alzheimer's versus Other Causes of Dementia, Treatments for Behavioral Symptoms and Other Complications of Alzheimer's, and Practical Issues for the Patient and Family. There are many more chapters and all have proven to be very interesting. I've learned from each chapter.

The cost is $19.95 and you can find it at Demos Medical Publishing or through The Ribbon Bookstore at the link above. It's well worth the money!

A Must See Film

Assisted Living: The Movie

Please check out the trailers!!


The film is coming soon to Orlando (May 6), Salt Lake City (May 13), Portland, OR (May 20), Pittsburgh (June 24) and Hanover, NH (June 30). More cities are added every week. See a list of Playdates.

About the Film

After a year of NYU film school, Visit the website was independently written, produced, and directed by Elliot Greenebaum when he was 23 years old. It invents a story of a nursing home janitor who is stoned all the time and relieves his anxiety by making the elderly residents of the home happy through various acts of trickery and invention. It's also about a woman who lives there and the unlikely agreement they form that day.

Greenebaum used local actors from Louisville, Kentucky and staged the story in a functioning assisted living facility/nursing home. The actual staff and residents help tell Greenebaum's story and the result is a film poised eerily between fact and fiction. The film debuted at Slamdance where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It also won the Grand Jury Prizes at Gen Art, Woodstock, and Savannah and it has opened in theatres across the country to outstanding reviews and overwhelming audience response. A detailed article about the film's ethical ambiguities appeared in New York Times Magazine's Oscar Edition and Greenebaum has since toured the country talking to audiences and schools on subjects ranging from filmmaking technique to social work and Gerontology. He has been interviewed about his work on National Public Radio's Morning Edition as well as on the Charlie Rose Show.

EMail Bag


I am but one of many whom I know have looked forward eagerly to this day. I hope the crises in your lives have passed and that you're all doing fine. There should be no doubt in your minds that you are much valued, have been greatly missed, and those facts are a testimonial to your efforts over the years.


Chuck V.

Peace and Hugs,

Jamie and Karen

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