Friday, November 27, 2015


When I first saw this video of Donald Trump mocking a reporter from The New York Times who has a physical disability, I was speechless.

I thought the passage of the of the Americans With Disabilities Act meant that the citizens of this country had become more accepting and tolerant of people with disabilities. I never expected to see a person seeking to become President of the United States acting like a ten year old. I just shook my head. I can't believe this person actually has a chance at becoming President and making decisions for our country. The thought gives me chills.

Mr. Trump was not only mocking Mr. Kovaleski. He was mocking every person who is disabled in this country. He was also telling the children of this country that it's okay to make fun of someone who is disabled because they don't deserve respect.

Mr. Trump's actions made me sick and sad. I'm sad because people with disabilities work so hard for acceptance and equality. I thought we had come a long way. I know now that we still have a long way to go before disabled people are totally accepted and treated with dignity and respect.

I would like to remind Mr. Trump that everyone has some kind of disability. Some disabilities are visible, some are not.

I applaud Mr.Kovaleski for being a positive role model and showing what people with disabilities can do when they are given a chance. . 

Sunday, November 22, 2015


On December 3rd, Voyce will host the 21st annual Caregiver Awards Luncheon. 89 caregivers from 55 long term care communities will be honored. For additional information and tickets please go to:

I was asked to write about a positive experience I've had with a caregiver since moving to a facility. I have to be honest and say, I have not had that many positive experiences. The majority of caregivers I have encountered since moving here just want to get finished caring for me so they can move on to the next resident. Some don't even take the time to ask my name or tell me theirs. Preferring to call me Baby, Honey or Sweetie instead. i find these names to be very disrespectful.

The good caregivers are the ones who take their time. They treat me like a person, not just a body. There is a caregiver here named Patricia who embodies all the qualities of a good caregiver.  Patricia is smiling and friendly when she comes into my room. She takes her time and doesn't rush through my care. She listens if I have a suggestion about how to do something for me. And, she talks to me. One night before leaving my room, she showed me pictures of her children and grandchildren. I really appreciated her taking the time to tell about her family. 

Patricia is a warm, caring and compassionate caregiver. She never makes me feel like I am bothering her. We need more caregivers like her in long term care communities.


Saturday, November 21, 2015


Well, the holidays are here. They had the big Thanksgiving dinner here last Thursday. Residents celebrated with their family and friends. I was blessed to have my family in attendance. Some residents, however, were not as lucky as I was.

Yesterday, I was talking with a resident. I asked them if they enjoyed the dinner. Their response was,"It was okay. My family didn't show up. When I called to ask if they were coming, they said they had forgotten all about it. I sat at our table by myself." I was shocked. How could the resident's family have forgotten about the dinner?  When I asked this person what they were doing  for Thanksgiving, They told me nothing because their family would probably be going to other relatives. Again, I was shocked.

A nursing home can be a very lonely and depressing place. Especially for younger residents. Families think that because our basic needs are being met, we're fine. They can go on with their lives and forget about us. That is not the case. We need friends and family. I have  good support system of family and friends. Many people have no visitors over the holidays. They are alone.

I am asking all my readers not to forget about people in nursing homes this holiday season. Go to a facility in your area and spend some time there talking to residents. You have no idea how much you'll brighten their day. If you have a family member in a nursing home that you rarely visit, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Go see them today. They need you.

There is a program in Pennsylvania called Presents for Patients.  A person adopts someone in a facility to make sure they are not forgotten this holiday .  You don't have to be a part of this program to make a difference. You can do the same thing in your area whether there is a program or not.

Please help to make sure it is a happy holiday for everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I was hotlined  by an anonymous individual. A social worker, from the State of Missouri  came to my house to investigate. As a result of that investigation the state determined that it was not safe for me to live in my house any longer. That's the reason I am here. The social worker came to see me a month or two ago. They saw how unhappy I am here. They said they would ask their supervisor what my options are. They promised to came back. They haven't. I can only assume that means I have no other options. I am afraid to call the social worker. to find out. Afraid of their answer. 

In a perfect world, I would have been given the opportunity to make changes to allow me to stay in my home. Instead, I was given five days to move from my home. If I hadn't cooperated, I would have become a ward of the state. I am grateful my. family didn't allow that to happen.

In a perfect world, I would be able to move into a supervised apartment or assisted living situation where there would be fewer people who need help.  And, I would not have to wait for help until  I feared my bladder would burst. I do not want a servant. I just want to be able to use the bathroom when I need to without the constant fear of having an accident if I am forced to wait too long. Having an accident is degrading.

In a perfect world, Paraquad would give me another chance at employment. I have made many mistakes. Leaving Paraquad was probably the biggest mistake I have made. If I had stayed with them, I probably wouldn't be in the situation I am in now.

In a perfect world, I would be paid more often for the writing that I do. 

And, in a perfect world, I would not anger people who are trying to help me. I have burned many bridges. Said things I cannot take back. I still believe I deserve one more chance. The chance to live a life outside of this facility.

The world is not perfect/ I have no idea what the future holds for me.I pray this is not the end of the road for me. I don't want to I die here. I hope I get the try again.


Sunday, November 8, 2015


I became a fan of Sonny and Cher's when I was fifteen years old. I watched them on television and bought their albums. I played them constantly. I knew the jokes from their live albums so well that when I saw them in concert, I said the jokes right along with them. I made scrapbooks filled with pictures my grandmother cut out of gossip magazines for me. I spent so much time at the drugstore magazine rack, that when my teacher saw me looking at the magazines, she referred to the drugstore as The Library. The walls of my room were covered with posters. And, I had a cardboard standee that was a promotion for Cher's solo album, Stars, standing proudly in my room. It was  so tall, it almost looked liked Cher was actually in my room. After I put a hat it, well that really freaked anyone out who came into my room for the first time.Yes, I was a diehard S and C fan.

I wanted to write them a letter, but I didn't have an address. Because I read all the gossip magazines, I knew the area where they lived in California. I sat at my electric typewriter and wrote my letter. I don't remember what I said in the letter, but I am sure at fifteen, I poured my heart out to them.  I addressed it to, "Sonny and Cher, Holmby Hills, California." That was all the address I knew. My mom put a stamp on it and mailed it.

I don't know how much time went by, probably several months. One Saturday, I heard my mom talking to the mailman. "Oh, if I don't pay this my daughter will die," she told him.The piece of mail had eight cents postage due on it,

My mom brought the envelope into the kitchen. It was from CHER!!! After I stopped screaming , hyperventilating and  Mom picked me up off of the floor, she opened the envelope. Inside was a personally autographed photo of Sonny and Cher. The signature was hand written in ink."To Joanne, Love, Sonny and Cher." The handwriting looked just like the handwriting on one of my posters. It really was from Cher. I loved it.

Then, on June 26, 1975, the unthinkable happened. Sonny and Cher got divorced. I was crushed and devastated. I was absent from school the next day and word around school was that I was home with a broken heart. I stopped playing their music. If that wasn't bad enough, I ripped up the photo. 

I look back on it now and wonder what I was thinking. How could I have ripped up that photo? More importantly, what would Cher think if she knew?

So, Cher, If you happen to be surfing the net and run across this post in the Blogosphere, I apologize and beg your forgiveness. I was young and  you know when you are young you do some dumb things. Okay, so I did a REALLY dumb thing. I hope you will forgive me. I hope that you won't revoke my title of being your #1 fan in St. Louis. I can't turn  back time, but I wish I could.

Friday, November 6, 2015


My name. Throughout my life people have called me Jo, Joan and Joanna. One of my aunts even called me Joanie.  People are constantly misspelling my name too. The most common spelling error is that people leave the E off of my name, spelling it, Joann. Mispronouncing  or misspelling my name never really bothered me because it never happened that often. It never happened that often until I came to this facility.

I have come to the realization that my parents should have named me Joanna because that's what the majority of nurses and aides called me. Aides have mixed me up with another resident whose name is similar to mine. This resident had a health issue that required checking their vital signs regularly. I was awakened at midnight several months ago. I was told my vital signs needed to be checked because I had a health issue. I told the aide I would know if I had the health issue that they were referring to. I asked to see the nurse. The nurse came after several minutes. Turns out, they'd mistaken me for the resident whose name is similar to mine. The aide was new and wasn't familiar with all the residents yet. This time it was an error in taking vital signs. What if there had been an error in medication because someone got our names mixed up?

If aides don't know my name they will call me Baby, Honey or Sweetie. An aide admitted to me once that they called me Baby because they didn't know my name. I make it a point to introduce myself to new aides and ask there names. Things are getting better because now I tell people when they mispronounce my name.

I was named for my maternal grandmother, Anna Josephine. and for all those named Joseph in my father's family. That means a lot to me.

Our names are part of our family history. I am sure there is a story behind your name too. A story that is unique and special. That's what's in a name.