Medication Feed

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. It was the pharmacy telling me that an information update had alerted them that dad’s newly prescribed drug could seriously interact with one of his other prescriptions. I asked the pharmacist to follow through with Read more →


Home care can be helpful in supporting individuals of all ages to safely live at home for as long as possible and/or to recover from an unexpected health crisis. Additionally, home care can be a welcome source of support when family members can no longer provide care alone. These care providers are available for anything from simple household chores and companionship to complex care. But what exactly is meant by the terms “home care” and “in-home care," and what will your insurance cover? Read more →


Life changing, yes! And perhaps a moment of divine intervention. An elderly man with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) was rushed to the cardiac cath lab after being diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (MI). He was struggling to breathe, yet pleaded with me to not insert the breathing tube and to let him die. The cardiologist was scared to do it. With a voice coming from above saying, “Let My People Go!” I honored the man’s wishes. I tremble every time I read this passage. Read more →


...A double whammy here is that chronic stress is a problem for most caregivers and stress can be a trigger for many people who live with chronic migraines. It is for me. The fact is that whether caregivers have migraines, severe arthritis, asthma, or any other ailment if they are still functioning better than the person or people for whom they care, they carry on. It’s what we do. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom lives with emphysema and has been on oxygen for more than two years. She needs several medications to manage this awful disease, which I understand. It’s her other medications that make me wonder. I’ve asked her current doctor to consider lowering doses or taking her off some of them, and he’s made it plain that her life-expectancy is quite limited no matter what so he doesn’t want to “rock the boat” by making changes. Meanwhile, Mom is becoming foggier in her thinking, and her memory and balance are bad. Maybe this is just age and poor health, but I do wonder if she still needs some of these older prescriptions that haven’t been changed for decades. How does anyone figure out what drugs an older person needs and what is actually causing more harm than good? – RG Read more →


Dear Carol: How could you know that your offer to pick up some groceries for Joe after his wife’s funeral would lead to five years of daily visits? How could you know that you would become his primary caregiver: taking him to the Telephone Pioneers of America dinners, riding with him in the ambulance after you found him with a dislocated shoulder, taking him, along with your kids, on multiple 150-mile jaunts to visit his 90-year-old sister;  Read more →


Dear Carol:  My mom was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia and likely Alzheimer’s and has become increasingly confused when she tries to explain something to us so we don’t know what to think. Two years ago she had a root canal and seemed to weather the dental work well, 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, and a second dentist agreed, but my mother continues to complain. Read more →


While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently, three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here. Read more →


The idea that some people can stay positive after receiving a dementia diagnosis seems surprising to many, yet when faced with adversity we have only two choices — make the best of what is in front of us, or live with negativity. No one is suggesting that living with a positive outlook after being given a diagnosis for any serious disease is easy, but negative thinking is risky for your overall health, while positive thinking has health benefits. Read more →


One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.” Read more →