Carol Bradley Bursack / Forum News Service
Dear Carol: My mom has moderate dementia and she seems to like the idea of living in a care community. We’ve done all of the preliminary work, but the social worker at the assisted living facility recently told me that they wouldn’t want me to visit Mom for the first two weeks. Their reasoning is that Mom would adjust better if she has no alternative but to depend on them for help.
Dear Carol: My mother, 93, is mentally sharp and lives in her own retirement apartment. As would be expected, she has some physical problems, including arthritis severe enough that she needed a hip replacement in her 80s. She uses a walker but her balance is iffy even with that. I’d like her to have physical therapy to help her improve her balance because of the risk of falling. I’ve communicated with a doctor and she said that we could have a therapist come to the apartment twice a week, but Mom refuses.
Dear Carol: My widowed dad is 83 and doing well enough, but he’s lonely. He lives in the same house that he and Mom owned for decades. Dad has mild cognitive impairment, but he’s aware of that and shows no signs of dementia. Dad’s decided that he likes the idea of moving to the same assisted living facility where some friends live. I think that’s a great idea but my brother, who has power of attorney for Dad and lives 900 miles away, insists that because Dad has memory problems, he doesn’t have the judgment to make his own decisions.
Dear Carol: My mom has lived for years with multiple health issues, including two rounds of cancer treatment. She's now 79 and suffers from severe bowel and digestive disorders, lung disease and more. Considering her quality of life, she’s very cheerful and reasonably happy, but she is also realistic and she’s determined not to drag things out as her health continues to deteriorate.
Dear Carol: I read your column about older people and medicines so I wanted to write. My husband has had multiple health problems during his life so he's been on a lot of medicine. Six years ago, he developed symptoms from Alzheimer’s and has also been on drugs that were supposed to help slow down the progress of the disease. These medicines seemed to help in the beginning, but after a while, they seemed to stop working.
Dear Carol: My parents are nearly 90. I have three sisters who are scattered around the country and I'm much younger than they are so we aren't particularly close. I stayed in the community where I grew up so I’m with my parents nearly every day. That’s fine with me since I’m close to them, but that also leads to confusion about how to deal with my sisters who aren’t as close.
Dear Carol: My mom is just 62 but she began showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s four years ago. She lives in a good nursing home and I visit nearly every day. What’s bothering me is Mother’s Day. I know that the nursing home will do a nice job of making the ladies’ tables look festive, and with celebrating in general. I’ll bring Mom flowers and a gift that I will help her unwrap, but it tears me apart that she doesn’t understand what it’s about and she won’t remember that I was there.
Dear Carol: My parents are in their 80s and beginning to have occasional problems with managing their medical appointments and medications. Since I live and work nearly 1,000 miles away, I can’t be with them enough to handle this. Thankfully, my parents have been realistic and proactive when it comes to legal work and bill paying. Still, the physical distance between us is a worry.
Dear Carol: My dad’s in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been rough on both my mom and me in many ways, but right now I can say that the worst is my dad’s verbal abuse. He was always a gentle, wonderful man, so this uncharacteristic behavior is extra baffling and hurtful. He calls us ugly names and swears at us because he thinks that we’re stealing from him or even poisoning him. Mom is so ashamed that this is happening that she can’t tell anyone about it but I need an outlet, which is why I’m writing.
Dear Carol: Six months ago, my husband, 83, broke his hip and was admitted to the hospital. That experience took a terrible emotional and mental toll. Eventually, he was released to a local nursing home and things were going well until he developed pneumonia. The nursing home is well-equipped to care for him there, which we both wanted done, but I still alerted his adult children as we’ve agreed to do in a health crisis. Even though my stepkids rarely visit, we share power of attorney, which is set up so that any one of us can make decisions.