Carol Bradley Bursack
Dear Carol: My husband and I cared for my mom in our home for several years before she passed away two months ago. The first two weeks I was nearly paralyzed with grief. After that, like someone flipped a switch, I went into a wild cleaning and tossing out spree. I just had to do something. Now, I've sunk into a low that's hard to explain. I don't want to get out of bed, shower, or even talk to anyone. I've been taking antidepressants for years and have done well on them.
Dear Carol: My widowed dad is 76. He's in good health and lives alone on a farm several miles from the metro area. Dad drives around the farm and to the neighboring town but stays out of the metro because of the traffic. His nearest neighbors are a couple of miles away. My two siblings and I split the visiting so that someone sees Dad once a week, but with winter weather, the possibility of him going a couple of weeks alone is real. We want him to move to the metro for safety and health care.
Dear Carol: My mother is relatively healthy for a 76-year-old woman but she's overcome cancer twice and I worry about losing her. She doesn't show any signs of dementia, which I know because she actually went through screening with a specialist to prove to me that she is capable of doing what she wants. She does want me to accompany her to the doctor, and I'm power of attorney for her health, but she says that I take over the appointment when we're there.
Dear Carol: After my mom died last year, I stepped in to take care of my 83-year-old dad. I know that I spoiled him at first because of his devastation over losing Mom, but now he's used to my taking over the "wife" role. I pay his bills, take him shopping, cook his meals, clean and spend nearly every day, all day, with him.
Dear Carol: My husband and I are trying to help my brother select a retirement community that would also offer assisted living for his future needs. He's 74 and has early Parkinson's disease so he wants to make this move soon. Our experience with trying to decipher the pricing structures of the places that we visited has been enormously frustrating. Is there some sort of resource that covers retirement living contracts that transition to assisted living and perhaps even nursing care? We really need some guidance. Thanks for any help that you can provide. — TL
Dear Carol: I'm an only child and single. My mother developed cancer in her 70s and I helped Dad care for her until her death two years ago. Only months after her death, Dad turned into another person. It's not that he was simply angry. He seemed to be hallucinating and could be violent. I managed to get him to a psychiatrist who said that Dad has mixed dementia, likely a combination of Alzheimer's and something else, maybe Lewy body dementia. The trauma of seeing his wife decline and finally die in a nursing home may have kicked off Dad's symptoms.
Dear Carol: My father has Lewy body dementia and he hallucinates, which I understand is part of the disease. I was raised to not lie. Your writing, as well as articles on the Alzheimer's Association website and that of many medical people, seems to advocate lying to your parents or spouse once they have dementia.
Dear Carol: I read one of your articles which said that you had lost both your parents in quick succession so I identify with you. I live in the UK.
Dear Carol: I'm a certified nursing assistant (CNA). My dad has been caring for my mom, who has severe lung disease as well as dementia, and he's worn out. Dad and I decided that it would be a good idea for me to move in with my parents to help with Mom's care. Dad agreed to this arrangement because he knows that he needs help, but now that I'm here he won't let me do anything for Mom. I just want him to get some rest before he collapses, but he can't seem to let go. He's still up all night because Mom doesn't sleep much, and he insists on providing nearly all of Mom's daily care.
Dear Carol: As my parents aged, we all thought that we were taking care of the legal issues necessary so that I, as Durable Power Of Attorney (DPOA) could handle anything that came along with their finances. Dad died two years ago, and Mom and I got through it. Now, Mom's health is failing. She wanted me to change the account where her Social Security is deposited, so I called and found out that the DPOA would not allow me to do that. Fortunately, Mom's memory is still good, so she was able to go to the attorney with me and she had me assigned as Representative Payee.