Re: troubled resident
From: Robert Finn (
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2010 09:05:35 -0700 (PDT)
At Pleasant Hill Cohousing we had a somewhat similar situation, although not with dementia.

Jay Magid, a beloved original member of our community, had a terminal illness. He was single, with just one relative who lived 2,000 miles away. At some point it became clear that he needed more help than members of the community could provide--not just in physical caregiving, such as preparing meals or taking him to appointments, but also in logistical matters, such as making decisions about medical care.

We recommended that he hire a professional patient advocate, and that made a huge difference. The advocate accompanied him to appointments, helped him make medical decisions, hired nursing aides and other caregivers as necessary, and performed myriad other tasks. Patient advocates are not cheap, about $100 an hour, not covered by most insurance. But one thing that helped Jay make this decision was the following statement: "You know that money you've been saving for a rainy day? Well, that rainy day is here."

The situation with someone with dementia will certainly be different, especially since her paranoia may make it difficult for her to recognize that everyone's acting with the best intentions. But you may wish to suggest that her daughter take the lead in hiring a patient advocate. Doing this will relieve much of the pressure on a distant relative.

By the way, Jay died last October, at home in cohousing. He was accompanied by friends and neighbors to the end. It was a wonderful death, if any death can be said to be wonderful.

Bob Finn
finn [at]

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