My father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. He and my mother live in their home and have required little outside help and support. Recently, however, my father has stopped sleeping and he becomes very agitated at night. I’m very concerned, not only for him but for my mother. I’ve done a lot of research on “Sundowning” as it’s called, and have spoken with professionals but none of their recommendations or the suggested remedies that I’ve read about have worked.
My mother age, 76 has lived alone for several years and she’s decided that she would like to move to a retirement community so that she can socialize and be with other people on a daily basis. A recent assessment determined that while she can perform her own personal care tasks, she requires some individual supervision because she’s at high risk for falls and needs some medication reminders.
My mother, age 78, had a stroke 3 weeks ago. Yesterday she was transferred to a rehabilitation center where she will stay 2-3 weeks. Her doctors are confident that she will be able to resume a fairly active and independent lifestyle.
I’m prepared to get everything all set for my mother’s return to her home and fortunately, I have friends who have been in similar caregiving situations and they are giving me lots of advice. But I don’t know where or how to start getting things in order. Can you give me a list of what to do? Julie R., Westwood, NJ.
My mother has some hearing and memory loss, so I think it’s important that I or one of my siblings accompany her on her doctor appointments. Yet, because of my mother’s desire for privacy and independence, we always are relegated to the waiting room and her physician is not permitted to talk with us about her care. What can we do to convince her that we’re on her side and only want to help with her healthcare needs? Cindy D., New York, New York
My mother, age 92, who has always had a loving and sweet disposition, has turned into a rude and abusive woman. She shows early signs of dementia, but she is in relatively good health. She won’t leave the house and though she complains about being lonely at night she threatens to call the police if we suggest a nighttime companion. Her behavior is irrational and I don’t know what to do to help her. She refuses to see a geriatric psychiatrist and her physician is concerned that a calming medication could contribute to a fall. Can you give us any advice?
My husband has dementia. He has some very good and lucid days. Yet there are times when he becomes confused. I have a signed a durable Power Of Attorney that we had done in 2009. One of my friends told me that my POA is "null and void" because the laws have changed. Is she right? And if so, what should I do? Lorraine G., Palm Beach, FLA
My husband has dementia. Recently he has lost a lot of weight —and I’m concerned. We went to a gastroenterologist and after a complete work-up it was determined that it is a direct result of the dementia. The doctor recommended that we consult a nutritionist who could make recommendations for dietary and behavior changes and suggest some supplements. I don’t want to irritate my husband with changes if they’re not going to do any good… Can this help? Nancy F., Wellington, Florida
My husband and I both have long term healthcare insurance which we have not had to use. But we will! He is 81 and I am 75. I want to contact the companies and ask questions about how and what to do to activate care when it becomes necessary. Do you have any suggestions? Janice M., Miami, FL
I am a 63-year-old, single woman who needs to get her estate documents in order and I want to have a health care surrogate to make my end of life decisions if I am incapacitated. However, I am concerned about burdening my two sisters with that responsibility. Is it ok to appoint an outsider as a health care surrogate, and if so should I appoint a professional or a friend?
I am a 72 year old “child.” My mother is 96 and is amazingly alert. She lives alone in my childhood home, very near where my husband and I live so I’m able to check in with her a few times a day and bring her meals. I love doing things with and for my mother, but I can’t be there 24/7 and she refuses extra help. Last week she fell three times. Luckily there were no major injuries, but she was unable to get herself up and I found her three hours later. I need to do something, but what? Janice W., Miami, FL.