Carol Bradley Bursack
Dear Carol: My friend is struggling to convince her father, who lives across the country, that he needs help caring for his 86-year-old wife who has had a stroke. Her dad is somewhat younger than her mom, but he has his own health problems. She knows that he's overwhelmed with caregiving, but he won't hire anyone to help. My friend asked for my opinion and I'm stumped. She says that her dad has always been stubborn and she doesn't know what to do about his situation because she is too far away to be hands-on. — JY
Dear Carol: My mother has mid-stage dementia, as a mixture of Alzheimer's and vascular. Dad is taking care of her, and overall it's going OK as long as I go over to their apartment each day to help with baths, run errands and accompany them to medical appointments. What's troubling is that last week Mom fell against a cupboard corner and tore a gash in her shoulder. Dad called me immediately to see if we should take her to the emergency room. Mom said the injury didn't hurt but she was acting very anxious and agitated so we decided on the ER.
Dear Carol: My mother is relatively healthy for a 76-year-old woman but she's overcome cancer twice and I worry about losing her. She doesn't show any signs of dementia, which I know because she actually went through screening with a specialist to prove to me that she is capable of doing what she wants. She does want me to accompany her to the doctor, and I'm power of attorney for her health, but she says that I take over the appointment when we're there.
Dear Carol: I'm struggling with trying to find answers on how I can help my elderly mother. I'm 67, I'm retired and I live an hour away from my 87-year-old mom who has heart failure. Mom still lives alone in her house and this is very important to her. As her condition has worsened, she's required more help from my sister who lives just 10 minutes away. My sister runs all of Mom's errands, completes all of her chores and checks in on her several times a day. On top of this, my sister still works full time and won't be able to retire for a three more years.
Dear Carol: My dad has aggressive prostate cancer that has spread to his liver and bones. His oncologist isn't very communicative and when I asked about hospice care he said that's up to us. He told us that Dad won't get better but that he can keep treating him if we want. The treatments make Dad miserable. If they won't help, what's the point? I feel strongly that Dad needs hospice care and have been trying to talk my mom into it but she's dragging her feet. How do we go about getting the service? Which one do we choose? Will Mom have to go on Medicaid to get it paid for?
Dear Carol: My dad came to live with my family after of a series of strokes. The doctors think he has a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's which seems to make him unable to tell the difference between real life and TV. He gets angry if I put the TV remote where he can't use it, and I can understand that.
Dear Carol: This January marks one year since my mother died. My dad adored her, as we all did, but he's having a harder time adjusting than we kids, which I suppose is to be expected. Mom had cancer but her treatments proved to be ineffective so she eventually went on hospice care. With hospice helping, Mom was coherent during the holidays last year. We got through it, and Dad did admirably well, considering the circumstances. I think he kept up a front for Mom's sake.
Dear Carol: My mother is in a nursing home following a series of strokes and, thankfully, the facility is relatively close so I can visit daily. I've decorated Mom's room for Christmas, and I bring her Christmas treats to share with others. Dad also spends time each day with Mom.
Dear Carol: After my mom died last year, I stepped in to take care of my 83-year-old dad. I know that I spoiled him at first because of his devastation over losing Mom, but now he's used to my taking over the "wife" role. I pay his bills, take him shopping, cook his meals, clean and spend nearly every day, all day, with him.
Dear Carol: My mother has been in rehab since she broke her hip at home but now she needs to be moved. The professionals, including her doctor, strongly encourage moving her to a nursing home close to me because Mom will continue to need extensive care and her condition is expected to decline.