My father lives in a nursing home and we need to know how to deal with him constantly losing things such as his wallet, glasses, dentures, etc. | Chicago Long-Term Care Planning Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

First, talk to the person in charge of his unit and ask if there are any known reasons why these items are continually being lost. Then go from there. If your father is a hoarder or hides things on purpose, that is one issue; but if the items are disappearing “on their own,” that is another matter you might want to pursue with facility managers.

If it comes down to the cost of replacing certain items, you might want to ask whether they are truly making a difference in your father’s life. Are they causing more strain or stress than the quality of life they bring?

Replacing a wallet is probably easier to do than more expensive items. A wallet can give a person a sense of security. Therefore, purchasing a new, inexpensive wallet (or several, just to be prepared) can add to quality of life.

Getting new glasses or dentures is quite different. If he still likes to read and needs his glasses to do so, then by all means replace them. Less expensive frames are widely available, and maybe inexpensive reading glasses (that can be bought at a local drug store) might be sufficient.

Dentures obviously can play a big role in nutrition so they should be taken care of. Fixing them will be more economical than replacing them in most cases. Unfortunately, often a pattern emerges where once one set of dentures disappears, you know others also will get lost. Your father might be taking his dentures out due to discomfort. Also, if they are shifting in his mouth, he could develop sore gums, which could lead to a loss in weight. Check with a dentist for adjustments that can make your father’s dentures more comfortable.