Carol Bradley Bursack
Dear Carol: My mom, 83, is in a memory unit because she has advanced Lewy body dementia (LBD). While a nurse was bathing Mom, she noticed a breast lump. My logical mind tells me that considering Mom's cognitive state, together with her age, this lump is best ignored since she has no pain. I've talked with her neurologist. He said that I could consult an oncologist but that he'd suggest not telling Mom since she may be stressed by the news when there's a good possibility that this isn't even cancer.
Dear Carol: My wife's in a wheelchair because of an accident that she had 10 years ago. I've gladly taken care of her, but now she needs an increasing amount of care that I can no longer provide. We found her a place in a large, once-private house that has been converted into a group home, but she's terribly unhappy. All of the other residents have advanced cognitive ailments. We both understand the challenges that these good people face, but my wife isn't there to be a caregiver.
Dear Carol: My mom is currently in a short-term swing-bed facility and will soon be moving to a nursing home. Dad is in assisted living where we already moved some favorite furnishings from home. Their house must be sold, so my brother and I are going through what's left. We're stumped by jewelry and assorted items from their lives together. There are a lot of old pictures as well as Dad's military medals that he says he doesn't care about. We're not sure what to do with these things because they are items that have sentimental value.
Dear Carol: My mom was diagnosed with an early stage of dementia. Unfortunately, she thinks that there's still a strong stigma surrounding dementia and she doesn't want her friends to know about her diagnosis. I understand and respect her feelings, but when I asked her if she'd tell them if she had cancer, she said that she probably would. I tried to tell her that this shouldn't be any different. Since her best friends don't live close by, and she sounds like her normal self during most phone conversations as well as in her emails, there may be no rush.
Dear Carol: My husband has been diagnosed with a slow-growing type of leukemia that is well controlled by medication. He takes several medications for other health problems, too, but he's doing well physically considering the issues. He's never been easy to get along with because he knows everything and can have an acid tongue, especially toward me. I have stood up for myself when I've needed to, and he used to calm down, and sometimes apologize. Now, though, he's getting far worse. Our grown kids don't want to be around him, and old friends are staying away. He rants at everyone.
Dear Carol: My parents have lived together in assisted living for several years and loved their lifestyle, but now my mother, due to a massive stroke, will require nursing home care. I'm aware that we must consider available openings, but we'd like to have options. From the talk around the assisted living facility, nursing homes in our community are all quite good but some seem better than others. Any tips? — MC
Dear Carol: My dad is 86 and quite healthy other than his eyes. Recently, he developed the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and needs to get regular injections in his eyes to slow the leaking of the blood vessels. Dad tolerates the treatment well, so I've been taking him to the clinic for this, but my sister is having a fit.
Dear Carol: I have several friends who are caring for their parents in various ways. They talk as if their parents have become the family children and it upsets me. My parents are living in their home and doing well. We've been planning for the future with the necessary legal documents, and I know that they'd like to stay in their home as long as possible but if a move is necessary, they will do it.
Dear Carol: Your column has been incredibly helpful for my family as we care for my sweet mother-in-law who is in late stages of frontal temporal dementia. As we've struggled to find the right care setting while she progresses through this disease we've been confused by care options. From assisted living to skilled nursing, there appear to be many choices, but it's not always clear what each provides.
Dear Carol: My husband and I are in our 70s and both have some health problems. We've been taking care of my 94-year-old mother in our home for several years. Mom needs help eating, and she also needs to be transferred to a wheelchair, to the toilet and to bed. We do have equipment for transfers, but it's still wearing.