Carol Bradley Bursack
Dear Carol: My mother developed vascular dementia, personality issues and speech problems after a stroke three years ago. She lives with me, and because of her difficult personality, my daughter no longer wants to bring my grandchildren here to visit. I retired early to care for Mom, but now I feel trapped.
Dear Carol: My 93-year-old mother lives alone with significant help from my youngest sister and me, but her worsening cognitive ability is dictating changes. We found an assisted living facility (ALF) with memory care near our brother’s home, which is one county over, yet it’s still near enough for us all to visit often.
Dear Carol: My mother, who has advanced dementia, went into a nursing home six months ago. She’s received excellent care but is now declining quickly so that she no longer swallows any type of food. Her doctor has determined that she is ready for hospice and I'm glad for their help. Hospice took her off medications that didn’t seem to be helping and then prescribed some occasional Ativan for agitation and low-dose morphine for pain. Her response has been satisfying to watch since she’s more alert and far more peaceful than she has been.
Dear Carol: I recently had an experience that I'd like to share with your readers. My dad has several serious physical and mental conditions so his medical file is complicated. Recently, a new drug to help with breathing problems was released, and his doctor, who is outstanding in all ways, saw no reason for Dad not to try it. We left the clinic in good spirits but had barely gotten Dad home when my phone rang.
Dear Carol: My husband’s an experienced carpenter, so there’s rarely been a house problem that he couldn’t fix. Now that’s changed because he had a stroke a year ago, which took away most of his ability to use his tools. He gets upset when he notices things around our home that need fixing because he can’t do the work. I can live with imperfections, but seeing the look on his face when our swollen front door sticks or a deck board cracks makes me want to cry. We can afford to hire the work done, but he refuses to consider it.
Dear Carol: My mom was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. She’s become increasingly confused when she tries to explain something, so we don’t know what to think about this. She had a root canal two years ago and did fine, but now she’s having pain that she says is coming from that location. The dentist who did the surgery took X-rays and sees no reason for the pain. A second dentist agreed, but my mother continues to hurt. Two weeks ago, we took her to the emergency room.