Ambient Despair

28 04, 2017

Do not Go Gentle Into That Good Night…

April 28th, 2017|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living, Op-Ed|

Aging and dying – cursed though these two may be – are the primary physiological behaviors we share with all lifeforms: those that swim in the oceans, walk on land and exist in the vacuum of space. If you live, you will surely age and die. I get that. For more than two decades, no [...]

1 03, 2017

Dementia Contagion (“Second-Hand” Dementia)

March 1st, 2017|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living, Blog, Op-Ed|

Clinical depression is a monster like no other. Today, on my 5,502nd consecutive day (15.07 years) of assisted living in three separate communities I collectively call home, I split a Reuben with Beth, a fellow resident trying to make sense of the world around her. But making sense becomes more difficult every day for Beth [...]

12 01, 2015

The Day The Love Of My Life Went Missing

January 12th, 2015|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living, Blog, Personal/Emotional/Spiritual, Psychology|

I still return to the mall where I last saw my wife. She was wearing a plaid skirt and blue windbreaker. I even remember the last conversation we had. We were standing outside of Florsheim Shoes and I was talking about the time I went fishing in Lake Ontario with the four nephews, and she [...]

26 11, 2014

H. KENNETH BAYNE 1928 – 2014

November 26th, 2014|Ambient Despair, Blog, Personal/Emotional/Spiritual|

To the man who watched me jump off the diving board at the country club swimming pool in 1962 . . .watched as I dropped like a rock, then jumped into the pool in his 3-piece suit to save me -- To the person that, nearly every year from 1958-1968, would pack me and my [...]

16 08, 2014


August 16th, 2014|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living, Personal/Emotional/Spiritual|

    With the tragedy of Robin Williams still fresh in my mind, I want to share something with you. Suicide saved my life. I mean no disrespect to the surviving family with this statement, nor do I seek to make light of another’s suffering. I’m simply recounting my experience. In 1995, at the age [...]

15 03, 2013


March 15th, 2013|Ambient Despair, Elder Sanctuary, Psychology|

After watching my brother care for his wife through her 12 years of Alzheimer's, I can well understand why many caregivers die before their charges do. He said to me at one point that he had not had a single uninterrupted night's sleep in five years. He was in his 80s, and refused to put [...]

18 11, 2012

Incremental Victories

November 18th, 2012|Ambient Despair, Blog|

The first time I saw William, two years ago, he was sitting alone in the dining room. Tall, gaunt and haunting, he reminded me of pictures I'd seen of men at Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau. His eyes, sunken and non-expressive, looked straight ahead and he stooped slightly when he walked - something one would expect after [...]

12 07, 2012

A Room With A Grim View: The ‘Ambient Despair’ That Marks Life In Assisted Living – by Martin Bayne

July 12th, 2012|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living|

  People my age—I’m now sixty-two—might go to an assisted living facility every now and then to visit an older family member. Facilitated aging is a way of life for a growing number of Americans, more than one million of whom now live in roughly 40,000 such facilities across the country.  - Martin Bayne link [...]