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Your opinion or ideas . . . (1 Viewer)

MaggieD

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Okay, this is about mom. 86 years old, living with me.

Up until now, she's been too weak to walk with a walker, or even get up by herself. Well, now she's so much stronger that she can do that. ​But absolutely shouldn't be.

This morning, I walked out of the shower and she was standing, with her walker, by the front door looking out.

I'd planned to leave her alone for several hours tomorrow, and now I don't feel comfortable doing that. She knows she shouldn't get up by herself. Unfortunately, she only knows that sometimes because she has dementia. If she can't be left alone at all I'm in some trouble. Sigh.

What would you all think if I fixed up her transport chair so she couldn't get out of it when I had to leave her alone? (She wears a Life Alert, and I'm fairly certain she would remember to use it.)

Thoughts? Your own experiences?

PS -- The transport chair has a seat belt that I doubt she could unfasten. Would it be awful to belt her in when I had to leave her alone? (I just remembered the seatbelt.)
 
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Oh Maggie, this is so hard to deal with. My hat's off to you. Is she a high fall risk? Is that the reason that she should not be getting out of the chair?

One thing that you may want to check into, is whether or not your area has "adult" day care centers. We have a couple of them here. It's a place where you can drop off your elderly loved one, for supervision while you are out doing what you need to do. As for fixing the chair where she can't get out of it, that can cause unexpected problems, so I guess I would need to actually see the chair, and what you are thinking about doing to it.
 
Okay, this is about mom. 86 years old, living with me.

Up until now, she's been too weak to walk with a walker, or even get up by herself. Well, now she's so much stronger that she can do that. ​But absolutely shouldn't be.

This morning, I walked out of the shower and she was standing, with her walker, by the front door looking out.

I'd planned to leave her alone for several hours tomorrow, and now I don't feel comfortable doing that. She knows she shouldn't get up by herself. Unfortunately, she only knows that sometimes because she has dementia. If she can't be left alone at all I'm in some trouble. Sigh.

What would you all think if I fixed up her transport chair so she couldn't get out of it when I had to leave her alone? (She wears a Life Alert, and I'm fairly certain she would remember to use it.)

Thoughts? Your own experiences?

PS -- The transport chair has a seat belt that I doubt she could unfasten. Would it be awful to belt her in when I had to leave her alone? (I just remembered the seatbelt.)

Questions
1: Did her doctors tell her she can not stand on her own or are you concerned for her safety?
2: Are there adult day care centers in your area? They are no charge to people on medicare or minimum charge and she is supervised and there is usually a nurse on staff. Some of them will even pick her up.
3: I would not confine her to the chair, if she has dementia and can not get out of the chair it might make her panic or create stress that could exacerbate the dementia
4: Is she in physical therapy. If she wants/thinks she needs to move maybe if she knows she will get a chance to get around a little it will help her wait and the PT will build her strength
 
Oh Maggie, this is so hard to deal with. My hat's off to you. Is she a high fall risk? Is that the reason that she should not be getting out of the chair?

One thing that you may want to check into, is whether or not your area has "adult" day care centers. We have a couple of them here. It's a place where you can drop off your elderly loved one, for supervision while you are out doing what you need to do. As for fixing the chair where she can't get out of it, that can cause unexpected problems, so I guess I would need to actually see the chair, and what you are thinking about doing to it.

I'm going to have to look into a place where I can drop her off for three or four hours. I don't have one now, but now's the time to find one. On my list it goes.

You probably didn't see my "P.S." I'd forgotten that the chair has a seat belt. I doubt very much she could undo it as she can't manage the one in the car.

And, yes, she's at high risk of falling. Also, when she goes to sit down, she isn't appropriately aware of where the seat is -- sits off to one side if left to her own devices -- or starts to sit down before she can feel the back of the chair on her legs. (That's the dementia, I think.) She's also very feeble.
 
Questions
1: Did her doctors tell her she can not stand on her own or are you concerned for her safety?
2: Are there adult day care centers in your area? They are no charge to people on medicare or minimum charge and she is supervised and there is usually a nurse on staff. Some of them will even pick her up.
3: I would not confine her to the chair, if she has dementia and can not get out of the chair it might make her panic or create stress that could exacerbate the dementia
4: Is she in physical therapy. If she wants/thinks she needs to move maybe if she knows she will get a chance to get around a little it will help her wait and the PT will build her strength

The doctor really doesn't have a clue. It's me that says she's not safe on her feet. (Or sitting down after she's gotten up...see my reply to Lizzie.) I'm most definitely going to look into Daycare Centers. I can see I'm going to need that. At last check, she didn't want to be in physical therapy. She had it right after she got out of the hospital, but if you've read some of my posts on her in the past three-four weeks, you know that after she got out of the hospital, she was getting worse and worse until we got her meds and diet on track.

I don't mind being her cheerleader if she wants to get stronger. But I don't want to become a drill sergeant. If she's not motivated to get stronger, I can't take on the added responsibility of exercising her every day. Right now, in her present frame of mind, I'd be the drill sergeant. ;) I hope you understand what I mean.
 
Okay, this is about mom. 86 years old, living with me.

Up until now, she's been too weak to walk with a walker, or even get up by herself. Well, now she's so much stronger that she can do that. ​But absolutely shouldn't be.

This morning, I walked out of the shower and she was standing, with her walker, by the front door looking out.

I'd planned to leave her alone for several hours tomorrow, and now I don't feel comfortable doing that. She knows she shouldn't get up by herself. Unfortunately, she only knows that sometimes because she has dementia. If she can't be left alone at all I'm in some trouble. Sigh.

What would you all think if I fixed up her transport chair so she couldn't get out of it when I had to leave her alone? (She wears a Life Alert, and I'm fairly certain she would remember to use it.)

Thoughts? Your own experiences?

PS -- The transport chair has a seat belt that I doubt she could unfasten. Would it be awful to belt her in when I had to leave her alone? (I just remembered the seatbelt.)

It doesn't sound as if she can be left alone. I don't want to add to your worries but looking back, I think the most dangerous and difficult time was when my mom was in a similar state - just strong enough to do stuff but too demented to do it safely.

I think the transport chair might work is you can set up your house to ensure she can't get to any stairs or leave the house. You also should make sure she can't tip over. If feasible, there might be beds with railings that can keep her in bed, depending on her condition. The suggestions about day care are also good.

I suggest speaking to a social worker who knows about the local services for the elderly that are available, and to gerontologist who should be familiar with such issues.

Good luck.

PS - If you mean you think the seat belt might be cruel, no it's not. It's meant to keep her safe.
 
Okay, this is about mom. 86 years old, living with me.

Up until now, she's been too weak to walk with a walker, or even get up by herself. Well, now she's so much stronger that she can do that. ​But absolutely shouldn't be.

This morning, I walked out of the shower and she was standing, with her walker, by the front door looking out.

I'd planned to leave her alone for several hours tomorrow, and now I don't feel comfortable doing that. She knows she shouldn't get up by herself. Unfortunately, she only knows that sometimes because she has dementia. If she can't be left alone at all I'm in some trouble. Sigh.

What would you all think if I fixed up her transport chair so she couldn't get out of it when I had to leave her alone? (She wears a Life Alert, and I'm fairly certain she would remember to use it.)

Thoughts? Your own experiences?

PS -- The transport chair has a seat belt that I doubt she could unfasten. Would it be awful to belt her in when I had to leave her alone? (I just remembered the seatbelt.)
your roles have reversed there for you need to make decisions with that in perspective . you need to make decisions as if your mother is a child
I know your mother didn't strap you to a chair and leave the house when you was a child
 
The doctor really doesn't have a clue. It's me that says she's not safe on her feet. (Or sitting down after she's gotten up...see my reply to Lizzie.) I'm most definitely going to look into Daycare Centers. I can see I'm going to need that. At last check, she didn't want to be in physical therapy. She had it right after she got out of the hospital, but if you've read some of my posts on her in the past three-four weeks, you know that after she got out of the hospital, she was getting worse and worse until we got her meds and diet on track.

I don't mind being her cheerleader if she wants to get stronger. But I don't want to become a drill sergeant. If she's not motivated to get stronger, I can't take on the added responsibility of exercising her every day. Right now, in her present frame of mind, I'd be the drill sergeant. ;) I hope you understand what I mean.

I completely understand that. They fight you, it is such a difficult transition for them. We finally had to accept the limitations my mom imposed on herself, despite what was best for her, because the strain on the relationship was not worth it. You have to work with the reality of who they are. Right?

I worried about my mom falling alot too and physical therapy helped so much. She would not keep it up so what we settled on was this. The PT's were the best at doing an assessment. They would work with her for one session and they could give us a better idea of her actual limitations and capabilities. Then moving forward we weren't limiting her based on our fears, but on her assessment. It was easier for her to accept and that helped the stress very much. They seemed to be more intune with her in this way then the doctors.

One more thing. Respect your limitations. This is a very difficult time and you are only human. Take care of yourself too.
 
your roles have reversed there for you need to make decisions with that in perspective . you need to make decisions as if your mother is a child
I know your mother didn't strap you to a chair and leave the house when you was a child

No, but damn her, she chased me with a broom. ;)
 
Maggie, I have had my mom with me for over 10 years. She has a lot of medical conditions (on O2, severe back issues -ankylosing spondylitis, crushed discs, heart problems) - she is not demented (she just makes me crazy:doh)

So I get your frustration. With my mom, since she is not demented, there is always the aspect of "she is living her life on her own terms and accepts the consequences of her actions"

With dementia, it just isn't like that - you are accepting the risks and consequences.

Care likely will not be covered...but you still need some "you" time.

Since she is not "out of control" just forgetful (etc) can you consider an older teen in the neighborhood to sit in?

They would not command health aid prices and would be pretty helpful.

Is there a local senior center with day care options?

I know when I was in nursing school, there were always "help needed" posts for this type of thing. But that was 30 years ago.

But I wouldn't leave her belted to the chair alone. Too many what ifs can and do happen.

Don't get me wrong. I want to strap my mom to a chair, but that is just because she wouldn't allow me to get a paper route 40yrs ago like my brothers.
 
Oh Mags, I couldn't even imagine leaving someone with even mild dementia alone. There's so much that could go wrong. I'm a huge worrywart - got it from my mother, grandmother, etc, but the first thing I thought, when I read your post, is what if there was a fire, and your mom was at home alone, strapped into that chair. That's all I could think of.

Please take the advice given here, and make some phone calls. Find someone in the area who can help. Call the Senior Centers. See if there are service providers - you know, like a nanny service?

I feel for you. I do. My grandmother was able to walk around, which created problems all it's own. I woke up once, at about 2am, and saw her wandering around the house. She'd urinated on herself because she got lost in a 1,000 sf house and couldn't find the bathroom.
 
This thread makes me even more certain that my plan to put a gun in my mouth before I become a burden is sound. I even have a spot picked out by a creek under a big quacking aspen. Great place to die. :)
 
What a dilemma. I can see the appeal of the transport chair seat belt. But my first thought is....what if there's an emergency and she needs to get up but can't? Still, if it's only a SHORT period of time, like an hour or maybe two. I would personally be uncomfortable about making someone immobile against their will for longer than that. How would she feel about that? Would she get upset?

You can't take her with you and leave her in the car? You could leave the seat belt on her there. Or is it too hot?

What a dilemma. Now that I think about it...maybe a seat belt at home for one to two hours might be okay, unless she cries & gets upset. But maybe you can make it like a special thing, setting her up near a window to look out of, with tv and a good DVD or favorite tv shows or something, with a special food treat. Special music? Make it like a special fun thing that she only gets when you leave her alone?
 
What a dilemma. I can see the appeal of the transport chair seat belt. But my first thought is....what if there's an emergency and she needs to get up but can't? Still, if it's only a SHORT period of time, like an hour or maybe two. I would personally be uncomfortable about making someone immobile against their will for longer than that. How would she feel about that? Would she get upset?

You can't take her with you and leave her in the car? You could leave the seat belt on her there. Or is it too hot?

What a dilemma. Now that I think about it...maybe a seat belt at home for one to two hours might be okay, unless she cries & gets upset. But maybe you can make it like a special thing, setting her up near a window to look out of, with tv and a good DVD or favorite tv shows or something, with a special food treat. Special music? Make it like a special fun thing that she only gets when you leave her alone?

I talked to mom about belting her in. She understands the problem . . . until she doesn't. I decided that I'm comfortable leaving her alone for an hour or so . . . free to move about . . . and hoping she remembers not to do so. She KNOWS she shouldn't, but she forgets. Like many here, it doesn't sit well with me to have her absolutely pinned down.

In the meantime, I put in some calls today about daycare centers -- and a rep from our county's senior services should be here next week to evaluate mom and put us in touch with some organizations that send in volunteers on occasion to babysit. I have absolutely no problem paying for companions and have one ordered for six hours a week from tomorrow. It's the last-minute things where this is likely to come up.

It's kind of crazy that we were better off (and she was safer) when she was weaker and couldn't possibly get up. I'm also making her walk three times a day to build up her strength which should make her steadier on her feet. It's a real problem. *shrug*

When all is said and done, we'll do the best we can.

Thanks for your post -- and thanks to all for great ideas and helping to keep me on track.
 

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