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North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Carol Bradley Bursack


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Minding Our Elders: Loss of control behind mother’s stubbornness

DEAR CAROL: My mother has some health issues but her mind is fine. Dirty hair is the issue we fight over. She’s sensible about most other things, so it’s baffling. She’ll shower, yet she won’t wash her hair.


Minding Our Elders: Selling dad’s house difficult topic

DEAR CAROL: My dad is 86. He has moderate dementia progressing to the later stages and lives in a memory unit of a good assisted living facility near me. Although Dad’s been here nearly a year, he still owns his home 250 miles away. The home sits empty, even though we have people mowing the lawn and shoveling snow.


Minding Our Elders: Learning more about Dad

Dear Readers: This year, thinking about Father’s Day reminded me of a short trip I took with a friend last summer. Two places we visited were my parents’ childhood homes. I have many happy memories of my maternal grandparents’ home because my family visited often when I was young and we spent most holidays there. However, my dad’s childhood home was different, since by the time I was born the house had new owners and I’d never seen the interior.


Minding Our Elders: Neighbor concerned about possible elder abuse

DEAR CAROL: I have a neighbor who cares for her mother in her home along with two teenagers. She also works part time and her husband travels, so I think she’s under a lot of strain.


Minding Our Elders: Dad’s death always news to Mom

Dear Carol: My mom is in a nursing home because of kidney and lung problems plus mid-stage Alzheimer’s. Dad seemed to be doing well at home but had a sudden heart attack and died. It’s been a difficult, sad time for us all, but the worst part now is that Mom can’t or won’t believe he died. We took her to the funeral and did all we could to comfort her, but it’s like her mind won’t grasp the loss. How do we handle this? It’s horrible for the whole family. – Susan


Minding our Elders: Choosing assisted living facility challenging PressPass

DEAR CAROL: My mom has mild Alzheimer’s disease and really shouldn’t live alone anymore. I’ve been helping her look at assisted living facilities and we’ve narrowed our choices to two.


Minding Our Elders: Siblings disagree about mom seeking dementia evaluation

Dear Carol: My sister Jean has wanted our mom to see a doctor about memory issues for months but Mom says she’s fine. Jean lives out of town, so she set aside a day to come into town and take Mom to lunch and get Mom’s hair cut. Then, Jean sprung a doctor appointment on Mom and, not surprisingly, Mom refused to go. She and Jean had a fight. I took Mom’s side, which probably didn’t help matters.


Minding Our Elders: Small things important to aging mom

Dear Readers: Like most of us, I grew up hearing that it’s the little things that count. I’m becoming increasingly aware of the truth in the old adage. As I look back this Mother’s Day on my mom’s last year of life, I remember how important the smallest things became to her as time went by.


Minding Our Elders: Not every adult child can be a caregiver

DEAR CAROL: I feel guilty because I don’t want be a caregiver for my elderly mother. I’m an only child, and since my father died she’s come to rely on me more than she needs to.


Minding Our Elders: Elderly mom losing appetite and weight

DEAR CAROL: I’m worried about my mom. She’s 89-years old and has very little appetite. At one time she was quite heavy and ate as much as my dad, but now she says just looking at food fills her up.


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Bursack: Memory unit may be helpful

Dear Carol: My father has Alzheimer’s disease, and I really don’t know what more I can do for him. He’s paranoid and hard for me to handle. One minute he loves me, but the next minute he hates me. Half the time, he doesn’t even know who I am.


Bursack: Let’s not forget male caregivers PressPass

Dear Readers: This is a busy month for celebrating caregivers. It’s National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, National Hospice/Palliative Care Month and National Caregivers Month.

Bursack: Alphabet soup adds to Medicare confusion

Dear Readers: Part one of this two-part series addressed my personal experience of signing up for Medicare Parts A and B as one of the “working aged.”


Bursack: Medicare sign-up turns into adventure

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on Medicare. Dear Readers: Questions about signing up for Medicare coverage – for oneself or a parent – come to me regularly.


Bursack: Maintain Alzheimer’s patients’ dignity PressPass

Dear Carol: We are having problems making a family decision. My father-in-law passed away and my mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s disease.


Bursack: Education essential to dementia acceptance PressPass

Dear Readers: Education is essential for caregivers and the public. After a recent column about people staring at our loved ones who have dementia when they behave oddly in public, I received a very helpful e-mail from Linda Wurtz, who is with AARP:


Bursack: Let doctor know Mom is fibbing PressPass

Dear Carol: My mother is in her late 70s, and I accompany her to her doctor appointments. She is having subtle memory problems.

Bursack: Dementia in public: Strangers will stare PressPass

Dear Carol: My dad has mid-stage Alzheimer’s. We like to take him out so he has some variety in his life, but he gets angry, paranoid and stubborn, even though we go to familiar places.

Bursack: Sheehy’s ‘Passages’ delivers PressPass

Dear Readers: I was sent a review copy of Gail Sheehy’s new book, “Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence.” I find it to be a well-researched guide to nearly every challenge family caregivers face.

Bursack: We all grieve in our own way PressPass

Dear Readers: I recently had a conversation with a friend who had just lost her elderly mother after years of caregiving.