DEAR CAROL: My sister, Ann, teaches nursery school several hundred miles away from our home town where I still live. Our mom has dementia and is in a nursing home here. I’m happy to visit Mom often and take care of her needs. Ann handles Mom’s finances, so she is also contributing to mom’s care. We get along well in general, but her occasional visits create tension.RELATED CONTENT
DEAR CAROL: I’m confused about my husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years ago, but now we are told he is showing Parkinson’s symptoms. The doctor talks to all of us like we should know everything about dementia and Parkinson’s, and our questions just seem to annoy him.RELATED CONTENT
DEAR READERS: While traditional health care saves lives and cures many illnesses, prescription drugs and many surgeries also have risks and limitations. Because of this knowledge, or simply out of the need to take a more active role in their healthcare and that of their elders, many people are using the Internet and other resources to research historic, alternative methods of preventing or controlling illness and pain.RELATED CONTENT
DEAR CAROL: After my mother-in-law had a stroke, she developed mild dementia. My husband and I were able to take care of her needs until recently, but because of her deteriorating health she has been admitted to a facility near our home.RELATED CONTENT
DEAR CAROL: I love my mother and have tried to be a good caregiver to her during her battle with cancer, which is in remission, and now with her lung and joint problems. She’s just 78-years-old and seems to be letting life go on without any enjoyment.RELATED CONTENT
Dear Carol: Like many boomers, I’ve suddenly become a caregiver. I live in my parents’ community but have a demanding job and a family. My parents were doing well until Dad had a stroke.RELATED CONTENT
DEAR CAROL: My mom has mid-stage Alzheimer’s. She lives with me and, for now, seems safe enough at home while I’m at work. What concerns me is that she’s started talking about wanting to “go home.”RELATED CONTENT
DEAR CAROL: My mom has several medications to help with various health problems. Lately, her speech has been slurred and she seems to be drooling quite a bit. The symptoms appear to be the most pronounced shortly after she’s taken her medications, but she has some symptoms intermittently all day. She also complains of a headache nearly every day, so we are having her eyes checked next week just to be sure, although her glasses are quite new. Can medications cause these problems?RELATED CONTENT
I’ve suggested that since Mom gets excellent care at the nursing home, my sister should visit less often so she can have more time for herself, but she gets defensive. I visit Mom as often as I can. How can I convince Mary that if she is more rested, she and Mom are both better off?RELATED CONTENT
DEAR CAROL: My 79-year-old mother is on medication for aggression due to her dementia, but she still has periodic violent outbursts where she kicks and hits me. Her psychiatrist has tried several drugs in small doses to avoid side effects, but most of them leave her sleepy and have had little positive effect.RELATED CONTENT
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.RELATED CONTENT
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.RELATED CONTENT
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:RELATED CONTENT
Dear Carol: My mother is in her late 70s, and I accompany her to her doctor appointments. She is having subtle memory problems.
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.
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.
Dear Readers: I recently had a conversation with a friend who had just lost her elderly mother after years of caregiving.RELATED CONTENT
Dear Carol: After two weeks in assisted living, my dad is angry and uncooperative because he feels trapped and not in control. We followed his decision to move both our mother and himself north where family is nearby and visits every couple of days.RELATED CONTENT
Dear Carol: My dad suffers hearing loss so severe that even though he wears hearing aids, people often have to write down what they are trying to tell him.RELATED CONTENT
Dear Carol: Is it ever appropriate to try to talk about “end-of-life issues” with the severely demented?RELATED CONTENT