DEAR CAROL: My mother has had multiple health problems for years, and Dad has cared for her. They have a close marriage so this arrangement has worked well, but now Dad is having heart problems and his arthritis is becoming severe.
DEAR CAROL: My mom is 83 and has Lewy body dementia. She’s lived with me just under a year and it’s going well except for when she has visitors. I’m happy that some of her old friends want to come by and see her. I’m also aware that she’s hard to visit with because her attention span is shrinking and her memory is getting worse.
DEAR CAROL: I was my mother’s full-time caregiver since her massive stroke six years ago. Though many people felt she didn’t have a full life, I know that because of my caring for her she lived as well as possible. We did things together inside our home and out in the community.
DEAR CAROL: My dad is 76. He was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer five years ago, so he had surgery. The surgery saved his life, but it’s done a job on his ego. The biggest issue is occasional but unpredictable incontinence.
DEAR CAROL: My mother is 95 and her memory is slipping except for when she tells stories about her childhood. Then she’s amazing. While she’s generally alert, she’s quite frail physically. What upsets me is that she tells me that my dad, who died two years ago, awakens her at night and calls to her to come with him. These hallucinations are ruining her sleep because she stays awake to hear more. At least that’s what she tells me. I’m wondering if I should alert my family that this is a significant problem or just wait and see. Everyone lives quite far away. Mom seems okay except for that one issue. Deanna
DEAR CAROL: My wife has advanced Parkinson’s complicated by dementia and needs constant care. She’s mostly bedridden. I love her dearly, and we’ve spent considerable time talking about our past vacations and other enjoyable things we’ve shared. We have no children. As much as I love her, I’m finding myself becoming extremely lonely and isolated as she becomes less and less able to communicate.
DEAR CAROL: My Dad had a heart attack, followed by a small stroke. He also has vascular dementia. Dad’s 79 and not likely to improve enough to return to his home even with a health aide. We’ve found a very nice nursing home for him where my brother and I can both visit often. Dad seems reasonably content, so I guess I’m the one with the problem. He was living in the family home that is full of belongings dating back decades and we have to sell it all. This doesn’t seem to bother Dad, but I feel guilty, like I’m being disloyal to him by selling his home and belongings. I know I need to do this but how do I get over the guilt? – Linda
Dear Carol: My dad died at age 84 after a long fight with cancer. The wonderful hospice care he received near the end was a great comfort to us at that time, but beyond that his absence now is just crushing.
DEAR CAROL: Dad had a stroke three months ago at the age of 89. Before the stroke Dad lived in a retirement center and I’d take care of his medications and take him out occasionally. He’s now in a very nice nursing home on what we thought would be a temporary basis, for rehab. However, he’s become terribly paranoid about his caregivers, even though this is a highly rated facility and we’ve checked it out carefully. He thinks he has to pay the aides and we can’t convince him otherwise. He’s also very irritable, which is unlike how he was before the stroke. His doctor has him on an antidepressant, but I don’t see any improvement. Does this sound like a case where he will improve and go home, or are we looking at long term care? The doctor just keeps saying “time will tell.” – Rich
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