adult child hugging motherA person who has dementia may have difficulty finding the right words; they may repeat certain sounds, words, and phrases, seem confused, and be unable to adequately express themselves. This frustrating condition causes people to feel helpless, anxious, irritable, and depressed – a very difficult state to witness, especially when it attacks a person who is very important to you. Many family members of dementia patients feel as if their loved ones have become mere shadows of their former selves. Fortunately, between the confusion, there are good days and bad, and remarkable moments when the loved ones they remember shine through. 

senior woman getting flu shot by doctorDear Dr. Dineen:

My 87-year old mother moved in with us this past summer. She is still fairly active and independent but just wasn’t safe on her own any longer. I’m trying to convince her to get a flu shot. Since she had it last year, she doesn’t want to get it again. Mom thinks if she gets it every few years she will be fine.

My concern this year is that now that she is living with us, she will be around many more people than she is used to coming in contact with during flu season. We have three teenagers and their friends are here all the time. I think it will increase the likelihood of her getting sick if she won’t get the flu vaccine.

Should I keep trying to convince her or is it really only necessary to get the shot every few years?

Kirsten

kbeamish JNW5309Dear Kara:

My husband and I are very active, and when the weather in Columbus is nice we enjoy taking a daily walk. But as soon as it gets a little colder outside, we both prefer to stay indoors. I had a hip replaced a few years ago, and I’m a little anxious about falling on the ice. Now that it is starting to get cold out again, we are looking for ways to stay mentally and physically active indoors.

Do you have any suggestions?

The Edwards

cbeckman 0595Dear Cheryl:

My father will soon be having hip replacement surgery at a Columbus area hospital. He put this surgery off for quite a long time and now his hip is in pretty rough shape. Dad also has a few other health problems, including diabetes,  that may complicate his recovery.

My sister and I are trying to set realistic expectations for him for his recovery. He somehow has the idea that he will only need to go to a skilled nursing and rehab center for 7 days after he leaves the hospital. I just can’t see that being enough time.

What should we be saying to him to help him prepare for this transition?

Jerry

kbeamish JNW5309Dear Kara:

My 82-year-old mother-in-law lives alone in a house she has owned for over 30 years. While we live near her in the Columbus area, my husband and my work schedules and our kids’ many extracurricular activities make it difficult to check in on her more than a few times a week. She is very determined to remain independent in her own home.

My husband and I decided one thing we really need to do is evaluate her home for safety risks. It is an older house and it wasn’t built with seniors in mind. What are issues we should look for and be concerned about when assessing her home?

Justine

beautiful smiles senior coupleDear Amy:
I’ve noticed more and more commercials for oral hygiene products making the claim that poor oral care can lead to health problems. They especially seem to be saying it is linked to heart disease.

We have a long history of cardiac illnesses in my family and I’m trying hard to prevent that from happening to me. Can you tell me if these claims are true and, if so, what really constitutes good oral hygiene?

Brad in Central Ohio

kbeamish JNW5309Dear Kara,

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had since growing “older” is maintaining my energy level. I just can’t do everything I want to in a day. Now that I’m retired and finally have time to pursue my hobbies, I’m just too tired most days.

I think getting more exercise might help. But I’m not sure what types of exercise might be best. I’m really hoping to overcome this feeling of being tired all of the time!

Do you have any advice?

Alison in Columbus, Ohio

tbailey JNW5259Dear Tacy:

We just found out that my dad needs to go to a short-term rehab center once he is discharged from the hospital. We have a lot of questions about this process, but one of our more immediate questions is about the items he should bring with him to rehab. Can you offer any advice on what exactly should we pack?

-Jacob in Dublin, OH

jrankin JNW5205My father’s physician is recommending a short-term rehab after Dad leaves the hospital. I’m not exactly sure what that entails, and, to be honest, it sounds a little scary! Can you help me understand what I need to know?

-Evelyn in Columbus, OH