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COMMITMENTS : Making the Transition Easier

October 16, 1995|DAWN BONKER

No, it isn't easy. But adjusting to life in a board and care home can be made a little smoother. Here are a few tips from the experts for families with older loved ones.

* Visit as often as you can, so your family member doesn't feel abandoned. If the roommate is present, try to move the visit to a lounge, patio or dining room so the roommate doesn't grow jealous of the attention or resentful of the intrusion.

* Take your family member out for an afternoon, a dinner or even pie and coffee as often as possible so they have time away and the roommate has time alone.

* Listen to complaints, but try not to take over the problem-solving task for the resident. Involve your relative in finding solutions whenever possible.

* It's great when roommates help each other, but if one who is especially frail or confused becomes burdensome to another, inform the administrators.

* Consider checking out "Old Friends" (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993) by Tracy Kidder. The nonfiction book portrays in-depth the lives of two men thrust together in a board and care home, their struggles, humor, pain and the unlikely friendship that evolves.

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