Recently my Dad suffered a TIA & I had NO clue what the doctor was talking about. Dad had blacked out for a minute & when he came to he was babbling incoherently and temporarily blinded. It seemed to pass after about a half hour but meanwhile my Mom was hysterical. Since then my Mom has also had a TIA (transient ischemic attack). The more I discuss this with my friends the more I find that it is common among the elderly.
People who suffer stroke-like attacks have a mortality rate 20 per cent higher than the general population.
In one of the largest studies of its kind, over 20,000 adults hospitalised between 2000-2007 with a TIA were surveyed for mortality rates.
A TIA occurs when blood flow to the brain ceases for some time, leaving the victim with stroke-like symptoms for a short period. But it could also foreshadow a real stroke if preventative steps are not taken.
The symptoms of strokes & TIA’s are the same, but a stroke is permanent & a TIA does resolve itself. Symptoms include: confusion, difficulty pronouncing words or the inability to follow commands, speech and vision may be affected, mobility & feeling on one side of the body. Has anyone in your family suffered from a TIA?
submitted by Susan in Virginia
It feels like an appropriate time to consider moving my mom & dad from their apartment. My parents are in there late 80’s & currently have wonderful care at home. However, the other night, my dad lost his balance & ended up on the living room floor. The caregiver could not get him up, after several attempts, so they called 911 & the paramedics came to assist him. Dad was not hurt & refused any medical treatment. This was a near miss and not the first time Dad has fallen (nor will it be the last).
My mom is not so stable either. I am thinking about looking at assisted living or a nursing home, one that will accommodate their needs & meet our approval before either of them seriously hurts themselves.
Questions I have thought about are: which ones accept Medicare, is there a waitlist, can my parents be together in the same room? Also, what activities are offered, how much staffing & assistance is available to residents.
Can anyone chime in…… I want to make a good decision for my parents & help them transition to a new home……I am not sure how to accomplish this.
I am a married empty nester. My parents are in their mid-80’s, living in a nearby retirement home. A few weeks ago, I received an agitated, early morning, call from my father that my mother was in agony, shaking and very confused. I rushed over to their apartment to find my mom shaking so hard that she couldn’t hold a drinking glass and complaining that she needed to urinate every ten minutes. We rushed her to the emergency room, where, after several tests, they found her sodium level to be dangerously low – almost at convulsion level. It took 9 days of hospitalization to bring it up to low normal levels, with rises and dips almost every day along the way. The cause could have been one of several things: her new anti-depressant is venlafaxine, which in rare cases can cause sodium loss; she and my father are careful to eat salt-free or low-salt foods as they have read many articles on the bad effects of salt on the elderly. My mom consumes very little salt; she is not much of a liquid drinker and dehydration could have played a role (coffee is not a hydrater!). I share this because I was told that dangerously low sodium (hyponatremia) can be fatal if not caught. Watch for headaches, confusion, weakness and/or tiredness. Your input?
News at my end – While my Dad hasn’t improved, we received results today from the MRI he had last Friday. He will be having a steroid shot to the spine tomorrow morning which they hope will give him relief. He has a disc herniation pinching the left side of the nerve root. The injection takes about 3 days to work, so here’s praying that this helps. Alternatives are trying to see if it will heal itself in 4 – 6 weeks (no sign that is happening during the past 3 weeks!) or surgery which they definitely hope to avoid due to his age.
Then three weeks later….I had to drive 3 hrs to see them, as I got a call from my brother that my mom was in the emergency room. She had dislocated a rib. Got here at 7 pm and IT WAS A MESS! I will be was there for three full days getting more care set up.
OH AND ALSO, my parents came to the conclusion that they need to go into assisted living. Unfortunately they have no idea about their insurance coverage. Neither of them are familiar with the details of their health care policy. Guess who needs to take that on before my parents know what their options are? M E !
I care for a couple in their 90′s. I find myself in the ER one to two times a month. On one recent visit it was for the Mister.
As you may know, unless you have blood dripping from you or your heart has stopped, you are not at the top of the list for attention. Fortunately for us, we were not on the top of the list. Unfortunately it meant a lot of waiting. I helped the “Mister” to get comfortable so he could rest.
The “Mister” fell into a deep sleep and began snoring. While he slept, I listened to a woman, on our north side, howl and scream in pain. I’m sure the man on our South side could also hear the screams, although he had his TV blaring. His TV was so loud it only slightly muffled the screams from the North. This went on for a good couple hours.
Finally the Doctor came in and said the tests were fine and we could go home. I woke the “Mister” and said, “We can go home now!” In his drowsy state, he asked “You mean we aren’t?” God love a man who can sleep anywhere, anytime!
I am the sole caregiver of my 93 year old deaf and blind father. That sounds like it is a rock pile, but he is about the liveliest “deaf and blind guy” (his words) one could imagine. He is frail and unsteady, but engaging and cognitively intact.
Last week my phone rang, and I had that immediate “oh NO” reaction when I saw it was from the nurse at his independent living facility. He had been dizzy during the night and was on his way to the emergency room via ambulance.
I have been to the emergency room many times with my father. Each time he becomes the darling of the ER while I act as his interpreter and advocate. I become exhausted while he gets energized. The nurses think he is cute; the practitioners want his attitude towards aging. Everyone sees an inspiration. I see a long exhausting day or evening in front of me.
But this time, I didn’t go to the ER. For the first time in the 5 years he’s been out here, I didn’t take him or meet him there. I felt terrible, a bad daughter. I know some day the trip to the ER will be the last trip. But not this time. I had a very full work day, and put that first.
I felt a great sense of relief when the nurse called me several hours later to ask how my father was going to get home. “Taxi?”, I said tentatively. An hour later my father called me to say he was home. They couldn’t find anything wrong. A bullet dodged!
A friendship started almost 25 years ago when two young moms became neighbors. Both were raising small children and started meeting between their adjoining driveways. Sharing and caring for each other became part of their lives as their friendship grew.
The years have flown by, punctuated by many of life’s flagship moments, events that were both celebrated in good times and mourned in sad times. Now we find conversations between us (and with those women nearest and dearest to us) revolve not only around our adult children and grandchildren but increasingly about our concerns regarding our aging parents.
Norma and Toby have discovered that for various life cycle events there are no directions! Caring for our parents is no exception. As women, we juggle husband, career, and concerns about our adult children in addition to issues that face our family elders. We are left with the challenge of creatively finding our way to solutions.
Who does one turn to for answers?
Many of us automatically think of our girlfriends; those close to us who we can brainstorm with and find answers. In this blog, Toby and Norma would like to expand those conversations to include you…