Dignity Feed

Dear Carol: My dad has aggressive prostate cancer that has spread to his liver and bones. His oncologist isn’t very communicative and when I asked about hospice care he said that’s up to us. He told us that Dad won’t get better but that he can keep treating him if we want. The treatments make Dad miserable. If they won’t help, what’s the point? I feel strongly that Dad needs hospice care and have been trying to talk my mom into it but she’s dragging her feet. How do we go about getting the service? Which one do we choose? Will Mom have to go on Medicaid to get it paid for? This is her biggest fear. – ST Read more →


Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s disease has to be placed in a nursing home. At this point, the caregiver’s job switches from day-to-day care to being an advocate. While this is a different role, it is a very important since your interactions with staff will help guide your loved one’s care.  These tips can help build relationships with the staff who now are responsible for the day-to-day care. Read more →


Insurance of all types can be a minefield for America’s aging population. People over 50 are paying more for health insurance and could see enormous increases in those costs depending on what happens with the health insurance system in the U.S. Over the decades there has been an increasing push for people to take out long-term care insurance (LTCi), as well. Read more →


Eight out of 10 older adults take at least one medication and many take three or more daily. Older adults comprise 13 percent of the population but account for 34 percent of all prescription medicine use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use. Also, older adults often use multiple medicines (averaging 14 prescriptions each), increasing the risk of drug interactions, mix-ups, and the potential for harmful side effects. Source: National Council on Patient Information and Education Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad came to live with my family after of a series of strokes. The doctors think he has a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s which seems to make him unable to tell the difference between real life and TV. He gets angry if I put the TV remote where he can’t use it, and I can understand that, but way too often, after I get him set up with something that he’ll like, he starts fooling with the remote and ends up watching a violent movie, or even the news, and he thinks he right in the thick of it. As you can imagine, this causes chaos. How do I control this without taking away his right to choose? – CL Read more →


It’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. Read more →


Adult children are right to be aware of their parents’ physical and mental changes since there’s no way to stop the aging process. However, as a columnist on caregiving and a forum moderator, I’m seeing something very scary happening far too often. Ageism is overtaking common sense and respect. The fact that someone is over 65, and perhaps has arthritis and controlled high blood pressure, does not make this person cognitively unstable. Dementia doesn’t necessarily step in even after – gasp! – age 70. Read more →


Relishing the effects of the aging process is a shocking idea in our society. We are expected to fight every sign of age. Billions of dollars annually are spent to help people, especially women, look more like their young adult children than who they really are. Sadly, older adults are even encouraged to act like young people rather than celebrate who they’ve become throughout decades of learning. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother is in a nursing home following a series of strokes and, thankfully, the facility is relatively close so I can visit daily. I’ve decorated Mom’s room for Christmas and I bring her Christmas treats to share with others. Dad also spends time each day with Mom. My quandary is that I have a husband and teenage children at home. Mom says she doesn’t have the energy to come to our home for Christmas day and, frankly, I don’t know how we’d manage the wheelchair with all of our steps, anyway. Dad will eat with Mom, but I still feel like I’m letting my parents down by not having them join us as they have in the past. I can’t think of anything that I could do differently, but I still feel guilty. How do I pull out of the funk and provide my husband and kids with a cheerful day? – GR Read more →


Talking with our elderly loved ones about how and where they would choose to live their remaining years can be more than awkward. It can be frightening. For many, it’s not as much the fear of the elders’ reactions to our words as it is an effort to preserve our own denial. If we don’t voice the fact that our parents are aging and may eventually need assistance, and then, yes, die — it won’t happen. This is a version of covering our eyes when we were small and saying “you can’t see me.” Read more →