Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys, and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.
I sorely need your help. My husband Carl is worried silly about his mother. She’s content to stay in her recliner all day and all night. Oh, she gets up to use the toilet or raid the refrigerator or let her little poodle out but then she’s right back in that recliner; she even sleeps there. She covers the chair with a sheet. She changes the sheet every day. She has a table next to her chair with everything she could need or want. My Carl squawks at her to sleep in her bed. Is it really that bad if she sleeps in her chair? It’s become a real bone of contention between the two of them. Can you settle this for us?
Recliner chairs and lift chairs have pros and cons.
GOOD: The feet are up which promotes better circulation to the legs. Lift chairs can increase independence for getting up out of chairs in those with mobility difficulties. Recliners allow the user to adjust head elevation for ease in breathing and in situations such a COPD. (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.)
NOT SO GOOD: It is very difficult to shift one’s weight off his/her backside. Reclining on one’s side is awkward and uncomfortable. People with kidney failure or poor circulation may have edema shift from the ankles to their backside. Why? Edema collects in the lowest part of the body. When an individual sits in a recliner, the lowest part of the body is the backside. Also, some don’t have the leg strength for lift chairs which can cause the person to collapse; the lift chair becomes a slide of sorts and down they go. It is best to have a physical therapist approve your elder for the lift chair.
BAD: When a person spends too much time in a recliner there is a high probability of a pressure sore forming. Pressure sores start as a reddened area, progress to a blister and can turn into a deep open area.
It sounds as though your mother-in-law gets up throughout the day and moves about, which is to her benefit. Here’s a question for you- why is she more comfortable in the recliner? Does her doctor know this is where she sleeps? I recommend your husband attend the next doctor’s appointment with his mother. Her doctor can resolve the issue for them both.
INSIDER LOOK: A PLACE FOR MOM
A Place For Mom is a “free” service for you. You’re told that they will “find” you housing for your parent that matches your wishes. Here’s how it works.
1. A Place For Mom (APFM) has contracts with “partners” in the area. These are housing communities (Independent and Assisted Living) who have signed a contract with them for the names and contact information of anyone contacting APFM regarding their zip code. (For the most part, these are corporation owned communities.) The housing community pays a sign on fee to initiate the contract.
2. Along the way you learn about APFM and make contact for free housing counsel. A local representative contacts you back and “explains” APFM and how it works for you.
3. You agree to continue, and answer their questions. In the mix, they ask their most important question: which zip codes you would like to consider for a location.
4. They tell you that communities will contact you.
5. APFM contacts every partner in your zip codes and they in turn contact you. In short, the phone starts ringing like crazy. Some of you will get fed up from too many calls. Some of you will request tours.
6. If you move into one of APFM’s partners, that community will pay APFM up to an equivalent of your first month’s rent after you have lived there a month (which is how they are paid.)
7. Let’s say you started out in Independent Living, and decided you didn’t like the location, and moved to another. If it is a partner of APFM, they are likely paid again. And, if you move into an Assisted Living Community later, if they are a partner, they are paid again.
8. In summary: APFM puts your name and contact into “the system” for every one of their partners in the zip code you provided. And there it stays. You are not “matched” with the community by anything more than zip code. The many fine communities who are not partners are not mentioned as a possible match. APFM does not find you nursing homes.
9. And here’s another interesting detail; the same is true for Caring.com. They are an internet company with the same overall service model. And what’s more, if you contacted Caring.com and APFM, both provide your name to the same housing communities...and the housing community you move into pays them both big dollars if you move in.
I find this unethical; you aren’t told about the kickback and you aren’t told they don’t represent every housing option in the area – only their partners. Other options are the Office of the Aging in your county or a Geriatric Care Management company.
Brain Workout Trivia
Which country attempted (and failed) to build a canal across Panama before the U.S. opened its canal there in 1914? (Hint: One canal worker from this country was a then-unknown painter named Paul Gauguin.)
B. Great Britain
The correct answer is D. The main French designer, Ferdinand de Lesseps, had previously successfully built the Suez Canal in Egypt. After scandal, corruption, disease and the jungle took their toll, the French company in Panama went bankrupt. The canal was later built under the direction of U.S. president Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.