Review by Hélène Meurer

Review by Hélène Meurer
Alive Magazine (Richmond, British Columbia)
(reprinted with permission)
Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine
October 2010 issue No. 336

It is a sure sign of the times: we who comprise the sandwich generation have a growing bank of written resources to draw upon for help dealing with our aging parents. Preparation is key to success, yet so many of us (me included) would prefer to keep our heads in the sand rather than face the fact that our parents now need our support. Cloutier-Steele’s book provides an important reality check as we take on the role of navigator for loved ones entering long-term care.
There’s No Place Like Home was born out of the ongoing frustration experienced by the author as she found herself becoming a guardian and advocate for her father even after he had entered a care facility in Ottawa. Written in a personal, almost journal-like style, Cloutier-Steele shares the most intimate and challenging day-to-day aspects of her role.
At times, to preserve her father’s dignity and well-being, she is forced to compensate for the shortcomings of the system by taking matters into her own hands. Along the way, she learns about health care facilities. Her experiences and insights are laid out for the benefit of readers.
This is not a daunting in-depth exposé about the system. Rather, it’s a quick read for busy friends and relatives that provides just the right amount of information to nudge readers into a state of active concern and responsibility. It is an eye-opening guidebook with plenty of practical advice for those who will soon be in Cloutier-Steele’s position of caring for parents.
The book provides a thorough list of tips for choosing a good nursing home. This includes such considerations as location, short-staffed days, physician care, response times, nutrition, new friendships, resident autonomy, eye care, and bedtimes. For example, do you know how a facility’s mealtime seating arrangement might affect your loved one? We also learn how to request and prepare for care review meetings, should problems arise.
There’s No Place Like Home is fuelled by emotion and delivered with grace. It is a gentle nudge toward taking responsibility for those who loved us first.
 Hélène Meurer enjoys being touched by the unfailing joie de vivre of her mother Odette who lives in nearby Sidney, BC.