Carol Bradley Bursack
Dear Carol: My mother, who was in her early 80s, was doing well, except for arthritis and high blood pressure. Then she fell and broke her hip. After surgery, she seemed not just foggy but completely irrational. The doctor said that this wasn't unusual for someone her age considering what she'd been through and that she'd get better. Mom spent several days in the hospital and was then moved to a nursing home to recover and receive physical therapy. The staff was terrific with Mom. When I asked them if Mom would recover mentally, they were non-committal.
Dear Carol: As my parents aged, we all thought that we were taking care of the legal issues necessary so that I, as Durable Power Of Attorney (DPOA) could handle anything that came along with their finances. Dad died two years ago, and Mom and I got through it. Now, Mom's health is failing. She wanted me to change the account where her Social Security is deposited, so I called and found out that the DPOA would not allow me to do that. Fortunately, Mom's memory is still good, so she was able to go to the attorney with me and she had me assigned as Representative Payee.
Dear Carol: My mom has been in assisted living for six years and she's loved it. Unfortunately, while she's relatively healthy, her short-term memory has nearly disappeared and her ability to make decisions is negligible. The doctor says that she is ready for a memory care unit, and there's one in the same facility, but she's resisting.
Dear Readers: For most people, finding out that they have come into an inheritance is a positive experience. Not so when that inheritance is early onset familial Alzheimer's disease (eFAD). This type of inheritance involves a gene each family member has a 50 percent chance of inheriting. For those who inherit this gene, the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease is 100 percent. In her new book "The Inheritance," Niki Kapsambelis chronicles the story of a North Dakota family facing such a reality.
Dear Carol: My dad suffers from the effects of poorly controlled diabetes. He's finally trying to follow the advice his doctors have given him which is helping some, but he's forgetful. He has developed problems with his feet, so I watch his diet and pills.
Dear Carol: My dad had been fighting cancer for years. Eventually, there was no more hope for a cure, so we agreed to ask for hospice care to keep Dad comfortable during his last weeks of life. He surprised us by doing well under hospice care, living beyond the doctor's expectation, but he eventually died.
Dear Carol: My mother lives in an assisted living facility. She has arthritic pain and is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, but she usually does well with the support that she has. When I visited her last Saturday evening she seemed upset and confused, and she told me that she didn't feel well. I suggested that she rest and reminded her that I'd see her in the chapel the next day for services.
Dear Carol: My mother's memory has gotten very poor, her arthritis puts her at risk for falls and she has severe asthma, so she decided that she'd be better off in assisted living. My brother and I were in agreement and we went with Mom to look at available facilities. We were thrilled with what we thought was the perfect home.
Dear Carol: My mom is 94 years old and frail. She has a weak heart and bad lungs, yet she hangs on. I'm a 73-year-old widow. I took care of Mom at home for more than five years, but two years ago I placed her in a nursing home. I felt terrible guilt about doing that because I'd promised her that I wouldn't, but my own health was deteriorating and I couldn't physically transfer her anymore. There was no other choice.
Dear Carol: My mom passed away a month ago from a major stroke. Since her death, I seem to either be in a fog or collapsing into tears. My sister, Carolyn, had been caring for Mom until two years ago, but then Carolyn had a sudden heart attack and died. She was only 43. Mom then came to live with us. Mom had COPD and heart disease. My husband has always been a rock of support and love and my two kids have handled Mom's death well. They are trying to help me even though they, too, are grieving their aunt and their grandma.