Stroke Feed

Dear Carol: My mother developed vascular dementia, personality issues, and speech problems after a stroke three years ago. She lives with me, and because of her difficult personality, my daughter no longer wants to bring my grandchildren here to visit. I retired early to care for Mom but now I feel trapped. Nothing I do for her is right. I’ve suggested that she might have a better life if she moved to assisted living and, surprisingly, she isn’t resistant though I know she’ll complain about them, too, if she moves. My sisters live out of the area so they are limited with what they can do. We have a highly rated assisted living facility in town, but thinking about moving Mom to any kind of care makes me feel like a selfish failure. I know that I’m depressed and burned out but I don’t know how to fix it. – CL Read more →


..No rest for the caregiver. I climbed back in the car and fought my way through the streets to Mom. It wasn’t another false alarm. Mom really had fallen, and as usually happens after a fall, I couldn’t get her up off the floor by myself. I had to call the EMTs — again. Thankfully, this time she wasn’t seriously hurt. Hours later, once I’d settled Mom in her bed, I forced my way back through the still unplowed streets toward home, hoping for a couple of hours of sleep before morning, when I had to take my uncle to his neurology appointment for a post-stroke checkup. Read more →


Dear Carol: My husband’s an experienced carpenter so there’s rarely been a house problem that he couldn’t fix. Now that’s changed because he had a stroke a year ago which took away most of his ability to use his tools. He gets upset when he notices things around our home that need fixing because he can’t do the work. I can live with imperfections, but seeing the look on his face when our swollen front door sticks or a deck board cracks makes me want to cry. We can afford to hire the work done but he refuses to consider it. Is it better to just let it be, which hurts him, or should I insist on having things fixed at the risk of hurting him even more? – CT Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My mother is in a lovely assisted living facility and I have to say that she’s having a ball. While she’s always had a tendency to play “the Grand Lady,” this arrangement seems to have given her even more of a feeling of entitlement. There’s another woman with a similar personality and they seem to have a turf war going on, even to the point of “recruiting” people for their tables. I’m thrilled that Mom has competition – it’s about time – and I find the whole scenario funny. I don’t see a problem with laughing... Read more →


Dear Carol:  About six months ago my dad had a stroke that’s left him struggling to get out his words. Since he was always so eloquent, this is extra hard on him. I dread visiting him at the nursing home because my visits seem to cause him more frustration than pleasure. I know he wants me to visit, but maybe the fact that we’d always had fun debating ideas makes it harder on him since I bring back memories of better days. I love him and want to spend as much time with him as I can, but how do I do this without causing him grief?  – RE Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: I’m a divorced, middle-aged woman who’d very much enjoy a relationship but I can’t even date because my mother gets mad when I do. I thought that I’d left this behind after high school but I’m obviously wrong. Mom had a stroke two years ago and recovered as well as can be expected. Other than having a slight limp, there’s little physical sign of what she went through. Read more →


Kathi Koll, author of “Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Caregiving” knows the drill. She and her husband, Don, lived a life of glitz and glamour, working and playing alongside friends who were celebrities and politicians. Read more →


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 which 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. Mom had a stroke that has taken most of her memory and Dad says he doesn’t care what we do with the "stuff." My brother and I are both saddened by how their lives have played out and it seems somehow that discarding these items is discarding them, so we're struggling. What do we do with all these keepsakes Mom and Dad don't want or can't use? – LD Read more →


We are, for good reason, repeatedly reminded of the horrifying statistics related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people over the age of 65 is exploding and most dementia symptoms develop as a person ages. This is fact. In no way does this article intend to distract from the need to cure all types of dementia. However, there is one thing to celebrate. The actual rate of Alzheimer's seems to be declining. Of course, Alzheimer's will not go away without a fight.  Read more →


Most Alzheimer's organizations have found that, in general, people are more afraid of a dementia diagnosis than finding out that they have cancer. One reason for this fear is the stigma that accompanies dementia. While sympathetic to those who have Alzheimer's and other dementias, people who haven't been close to anyone with the disease often think that any type of satisfying life is out of reach after such a diagnosis. Read more →