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MIL broke her hip last Halloween, didn't really follow all the rehab or try very hard and as a result, has pain in that leg, mostly after walking a lot.


So on errand day when we go to WalMart - it's bad. She takes about 3 hours to get through the store, and by the time we leave she is in great pain, crying out with most steps. (electric scooter is out, she runs over people and can't really manage the controls, tried pushing her in a wheelchair and she HATED it -- she wasn't in control! She also couldn't see over the groceries in the basket) Plus she's stubborn, and insists on walking, even though I remind her how it's going to end.


This week, for our errand day, she insisted on using a step stool to get into my van. Previously, she has managed to step in on her own. The doctor had said no step stools or climbing -- but she denies it (not sure if she doesn't remember, or MORE likely - she doesn't care, she wants to do it so she says she can == stubborn!) Seems like she is having trouble now (maybe pain) lifting her leg up to get into the van.


I drove off and "forgot" the step stool at her house, after letting her use it to get in the van. She managed fine in town and when we got back home. We talked about it and she is adamant that she needs it.


Luckily for me, I talked with her daughter (POA) and we are on the same page -- next Monday I get to tell MIL "You will either get in my van on your own power, no step stool, or you will not be going to town." (all other vehicles in the family are large trucks that would involve climbing, so she hasn't been able to go to town with anyone but me, since she came home from rehab.)


If I'm honest, I am so relieved at the possibility of no longer having to take her on errands. My life will get so much easier, I can pick up her Rx, groceries, etc. and bring them to her on our way home. She'll be mad as a wet hen, but I think my relief will make a happy bubble around me and let her berating roll off my back :)


And in the next breath, I feel guilty for feeling relieved :( ugh.

I realize that getting her into/out of the vehicle is not the greater issue. Meanwhile: We used a wide, long milk crate for my grandmother to step up, stand on & get in the Blazer. Facing the front of the vehicle, one foot at a time onto the crate, slight hip swivel & her rear end was on the seat. Stow the crate in the back for the dismount. Always make sure she steps up with her good leg first to bear her body weight. Best wishes, hugs & prayers for a peaceful resolution to the broader issues!
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Geaton - - the dr. feels that she is unsteady enough just trying to stand on solid ground, that having her step up on a step stool would increase that and raise the likelihood of a fall. She's lost about 30 pounds last year prior to the fall that broke her hip, and she's not gained any strength so she's a little frail and wobbly.
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I feel for you, I try to get my mom to go places, then I remember what a chore it is. She uses a rollator, and has to sit down 2 times in the dang tiny dollar store! And if she decides to stay in the car I have to leave it running, and she smokes in it ( although she does put the window down,, while it is running with the AC on) I am glad someone mentioned the Explorer,, I had 3 in the past, now an Equinox, and am looking to move back up because the rollator takes up the entire back. SO glad to know its easy to get in and out of. She prefers to take her Caddy, but then I have to push her into it and pull her out of it,, very hard on my back
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We got my MIL into my van using a step-stool...what is the doc's concern? Also, your MIL may be beyond having rational, productive discussions (especially if she's in a ditch under a riding mower). Hopefully the PoA is durable so they don't have to prove mental incapacity. She definitely won't like some of the coming changes but it needs to be what she'd want for herself if she were in her right mind.
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I read this and thought "It's MY mom!!".

Shopping trips are grueling exercises in boredom and frustration. I actually found that the 'walk and stop' was so painful for my back, I simply could not do it.

And the stopping in EACH DEPARTMENT to hug and fuss over the deli guy, the butcher, the florist, the flower dept head, the pharmacist!! It was very eye opening that my mother has not hugged me in decades, but she's hauling herself off the powerchair to hug and coo over all these patient sweet grocery store workers!

And I pretty darn sick of having her slam into my heels as she cannot drive that cart at all.

Same thing happened to me: I sold my Explorer, which she loved b/c she could get right in it (with all the handholds and such) and got a Yaris which is tiny and she cannot get out of it. The one and only time I took her in the Yaris, she wound up sitting in the car for 20 minutes as I ran through the store getting her stuff).

I was so bored after 2-3 hrs of this---YYB took it over awhile ago, which she doesn't love, but he can lift her, I cannot and won't even try.

Mother says she lives 'in mortal fear' of falling, which she does semi-frequently, but she's never hurt, She just kind of slumps down and has no strength to get up. She will putter around her apartment w/o her walker and it has been when she lets go of that she has the falls.

She maintains that she is 'independent' but then asks for everything to be done for her--she can't have it both ways. It's really sad and really hard. She thinks she can clean her apartment and it's so disgusting--at this point, she will have to move out for a couple of days if we ever got to clean it.

I think, for her, her own mother WAS completely independent and took 100% care of herself and asked for nothing until a couple months before her death at 94. Mother is in no way, shape or form the firecracker her own mother was.

I'm not unsympathetic to the aging factor--I am doing it too!
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AlvaDeer, you are right. The four adults involved (DH, Me, his sis and her hubby) have had one meeting already, where Sis began to take over some bills and begin using her POA. Probably time for another.

And then a "come to Jesus" meeting with MIL where we let her know, we are doing our level best (despite her making it really hard!) to keep her 1. In her home, and 2. Safe. If she wants to stay here she is going to have to start working with us and cooperating some.


Our biggest hurdle, is that MIL thinks she is fine and can do just great on her own in her house. Can't really figure out if it's just her stubborness, wanting it to still be that way, or if she really doesn't "get" that she is aging, declining, and needing to accept some help. Probably a little of both.

We really can't step away, the situation is too far along for that. She can't be completely on her own - too much risky behavior and bad decisions. She's been caught out on the zero turn mower mowing the yard this summer - despite the fact that a lawn crew has been hired because she's not allowed to drive the mower. A couple years ago she got it hung up in the ditch and laid down in the mud trying to dig it out by hand I guess. . .then couldn't get up and laid out there in pouring rain for a few hours till someone came by. But, gee, she's doing just great!
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Yes CTTN they are! It's more like 5 hour trips on Monday all told - WalMart is 3 hours all on its own, but we hit the bank before and sometimes the pharmacy too. And yes, I've offered to do the shopping, pick up the Rx but she won't have it. Stubborn and Controlling - that's her ;)

The sad part is, every few weeks I forget, and as we walk out of WalMart, I think "Gee, we've been walking for 3 hours, let's check that Fitbit I bet I have thousands of steps!!" And I look, and it's pitiful, and I remember . . . . we were walking in slow motion for 3 hours . . . . not many steps at all, LOL.
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You are not going to make the end of life happy and laden with roses. So you need to be clear on that. Only good and decent people even begin to feel guilt. We are each flawed and inadequate and need to be at peace with doing the best we can with what we have.
My worry is more for the future hearing this and I think there needs to be an all hands on deck meeting with the entire family available now. There needs then to be a plan and an intervention with Mom. It is time to set POA work in order and get all things in order to do more hands on care, or plan for placement when things get worse. She will not like it and I think you can start the meeting with her (the second meeting after you all have met) to say "We know you don't and won't like this; let's be clear that we do not like any of it either, and it is painful to think things can get worse, but they can and they will, and not planning will not avoid them. We love you and want to help, but if we cannot help we will begin to step away and "let you handle things as you decide on your own". There needs to be some honest realism. Then step away and let her make out her own list of problems and needs. So sorry, but it's time to begin to think and plan together about next steps.
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I read your profile, and as of now your only responsibility is taking MIL out on Mondays, correct? I understand the marathon trips, as that is the way it was with my mother when she lived alone. It was her only socialization other than Mass and medical appointments (your MIL gets more because of your H's visits and SIL's visits).

But those 3.5 hours trips are exhausting, aren't they? I hated them. No quality time or memories! I wish I could have gone grocery shopping for my mother, but she wouldn't allow it -- she had to micromanage everything. I wouldn't have picked out the exact can/jar/carton/piece of produce that she would have. Total control was her mantra!
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