Posted By RichC on March 15, 2015
The past couple of months have been filled with caring for our parents as both my wife’s mom and my dad are facing common issues associated with aging. No matter how you deal with it, having health issues in your eighties is neither easy for elderly parent or the family struggling to care for them. (adding a couple personal family notes below)
First, MomH had a severe pain in her back and my sister-in-law Chris took her to the hospital a couple of weeks ago. The diagnosis was they she must have done something to fracture her vertibrae and that Kyphoplasty surgery was recommended. The surgery was successful and corrected the pain, but the recovery requires a stint of physical therapy in a nursing facility when she would rather be back at home with one of her daughters.
Second is DadC and his downhill slide with dementia which we really started to notice in November-December when we started daily nursing checks at his home on top of regular visits from us. Unfortunately living alone was not working out and so my brother Ron decided to “move him in with him in January for the winter.” This “temporary arrangement” was begrudgingly accepted by my dad, but Ron and his wife Claire soon realized that he was declining faster than they had thought and requiring more than just checking on him. Then a week ago he fell hitting his head and fracturing his pelvis in two places requiring a move to the hospital and full work-up. The prognosis after moving from the hospital room to in-hospital rehab wasn’t as positive as we had hoped for and a follow-up MRI indicated he suffer at least one or more small strokes. Dad was release from the hospital this weekend and we moved him to a nursing facility close to my brother where he will be in the physical therapy wing for a couple of weeks. We’ll evaluate from there, but currently he is unable to stand on his own or keep his thoughts on track when holding a conversation. Thankfully his appetite is improving (he has lost weight) and he has retain a positive attitude and smile. Dad has always made the best of every situation; we couldn’t ask for more.
A little bit of reading can be dangerous on my part considering it is probably easier to get answers from the doctors in my family (Katelyn, Drew, Justin). Drew is especially helpful since he sees elderly patients every day. I do appreciate his thoughts as it makes asking the doctors treating my easy.
Vascular (or multi-infarct) dementia refers to a decline in a person’s mental abilities that results from a series of strokes. A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked, cutting off the blood supply to the brain.
Vascular dementia often progresses step by step, with declines in memory and mental functions occurring each time another stroke occurs. The specific symptoms a person has depend on which area of the brain the strokes have affected. Not all strokes cause symptoms.
Vascular dementia is often associated with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. A person can reduce the risk of future strokes with healthy lifestyle changes and medicine.
Prayers for both Brenda’s mom and my dad are appreciated.