Episode Information

WWL: A Coming of Old Age Story
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

 "Living in a nursing home is life interrupted.  Your door is always open."


Episode Audio

48:57 minutes (23.5 MB)
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It's a fact of life that most of us want to avoid.  As life expectancy increases, more and more people will find themselves living into extreme old age--and with that, the physical and mental struggles that come along.  That also means more of us in nursing homes, or assisted care situations, unable to fully take care of oursselves.  It's something the baby boom generation is grappling with now as their parents grow old, and as they plan ahead for their own later years.

Today we’re talking with Ira Rosofsky, author of Nasty, Brutish, and Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare. Rosofsky is a New Haven psychologist, who's spent thousands of hours in nursing homes around the state. His new book has been called a “coming of old-age story.” It's a look at the culture and industry of caregiving.

You can join the conversation.  Are you a caregiver to an ailing parent? What are some of the difficulties you've faced as you try to navigate the eldercare industry?

Leave your questions and comments below.

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Listener email from Elena

What is your opinion about keeping the elderly at home verses a nursing home if their need can be met at home?

Disputes over the well being of my 85 year old senile mother have led to a serious rift between myself and my sister. 
She contends that a nursing home is best, where mom wouldn't be 'lonely'. 
I feel keeping her in  her home is best even if she is lonely.  She has a 24/7 aide.  Family lives nearby.
Mom knows everyone, can converse, enjoys her great grandchildren, but is incontinent and very confused.   She can't be left alone.

Least Restrictive Environment

 The gold standard for human service work is "least restrictive environment," but people--as apparently you and your sister are, can differ about what this means in a particular instance.

In my own situation with my father, who was suffering from severe dementia, my brother and i with minor differences were able to work our way through agreements about most decisions.

Although I can't comment on your situation, I wonder if it would be helpful for you and your sister to work with a counselor or mediator--either professional or friend--who could help you work through your differences.

Even if the decision is made to place your mother in a nursing home, I have seen many situations where the resident--because of continuing family involvement--still feels connected to his or her immediate and extended family. It is possible for a nursing home resident to feel that this is "where they hang their hat" but still feel part of the family life--in terms of visits, going out to dinners, and a whole range of family events and activities.

Good luck!



Listener email from Jane

The conflict among siblings over their parents' care is very common.
Help for families having these difficult conversations is becoming more widely available in the form of Elder Mediation. A trained, neutral, professional mediator helps the family through touch decisions.