The eldercare dilemma

A few years ago, I vowed I would care for my elderly mother in her Hurstbourne apartment as long as it was safe. On Valentine’s weekend, after looming risks reached a critical mass, I passed the torch to my beautiful, dutiful sister — a Taylor County nurse practitioner whose husband is a surgeon.

Mom remains very much herself — charming, cheerful and generous to a fault. But beset by vertigo, she is prone to falling. Memory loss means that she sometimes forgets to use her walker or cane — or remove her reading glasses, which wreak havoc with her depth perception and sense of balance. Hypersensitive to side effects, she resists taking three medications — one of which keeps her from lapsing into atrial fibrillation.

Life gets increasingly confusing at 96. Is it dawn or dusk? Can the people on TV hear and see us? Are callers friends or con artists? Even caregivers struggle for clarity. For example, Mom attributes her longevity to coffee and routine movement. But now caffeine seems more toxic than therapeutic. It can play a role in “sundowning” episodes ranging from confusion to violent hysteria — and urinary tract infections, which can deepen dementia and trigger delirium, “a temporary state of extreme mental excitement, marked by restlessness, confused speech and hallucinations,” according to Webster’s New World Dictionary.

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I’m cured

Gentle reader, this is my last column. It’s time to pack up my adjectives and ride off into the warm, orange-red, beguiling, psychedelic-yet-tranquil sunset. When I started writing for LEO a decade ago, our nation was at the nadir of... Read More ›

How to be young

Cry without feeling self-conscious. Go outside and play Wiffle ball. Listen to really, really bad music. Actively try to be more popular. Look everyone in the eye and say hello. Then sing their names using that banana-nanna-fo-fanna song. Pick an... Read More ›

Cassiodorus Festival 2015

And so we have arrived at that awkward time in Louisville between basketball and full-frontal Derby. Clearly, we need something exciting to celebrate during this gloomy expanse when there’s nothing much to do but pack our Cards lululemons into summer... Read More ›

Smart, luxurious living

Next month, Apple will begin selling its new Watch, which will bring to users’ wrists what they already have on their computers, tablets and phones. The company believes this exciting new technology will make it easier than ever to browse... Read More ›

Waiting for the sugar

Can we stop thinking bad thoughts for just a few minutes? Can we turn off the rancor, put down the phone, click out of Facebook, look away from the comments, take a breath and clear the bedlam from our heads?... Read More ›


“Prepare yourself, you contemptible poltroon, for my imminent, bloody invasion into your heart or, if you don’t stand still, perhaps your left shoulder or your fundament. For as sure as you and your colleagues shall never again wear the vile... Read More ›

The empathy strip mall

Carefully keeping up with the news might be a formula for despair. Just in the past few months, we’ve endured a string of deeply disturbing behavior among our fellow humans. We’ve witnessed horrifying ISIS slayings, Boko Haram atrocities, terror in... Read More ›

Freedom can be icky

Au nom du Père et du Fils et du Saint-Esprit, ainsi soit il. That is how almost every meal of my childhood began. My mom, who studied French in college, led us in the sign of the cross in French... Read More ›

Hot for teacher

Omigod you guys, I’ve got the hugest crush on this amazing woman! Her name is Tamar Gendler, and she has got me completely under her spell. Sigh. And she doesn’t even know I’m alive. I first caught a glimpse of... Read More ›