My 93 year old mother moved into my home last summer. She previously lived alone but she was falling frequently, not hurting herself but she couldn't get back up and either I or my brother would have to go to her house and help her . At that time, she was able to walk with a walker and make her morning coffee & meals (mostly in the microwave) go to the bathroom and walk to the front door to get the morning paper but her house wasn't clean and neither was she. She did have a cleaning lady but only wanted to pay her for 2 hrs. every 2 wks. so you can see not much cleaning got done. After she moved in to my home I began to prepare all her meals, do laundry, change her bed, empty the potty, help her with bathing, etc. For a while, she had home health workers who came in to evaluate her but after it was determined they had helped her all they could, they stopped. Her physical exercise therapist told her she should walk as much as possible. Kind of a case of "use it or lose it". Now she wants a potty chair beside her bed not just at night but all through the day and only walks to the nearby 1/2 bath for b.m.'s. She is sweet-natured, undemanding (except for morning coffee :-) ) and has a great appetite for almost anything I want to prepare for a meal. She has a "Life Alert" call button in case of emergencies so I can leave her alone for short periods of time but she can afford to pay a "sitter" when I go out at night for social functions. But she has digressed to the point that she can barely walk even with the walker. My question is: Should I encourage her to walk more by insisting that she come into the kitchen in the morning and get her own coffee and remove the potty chair during the day. I don't want to cause her any pain but I also don't want her to get to the point where she can't walk at all because then I would not be able to care for her. Another problem is that she cannot properly clean herself after a b.m. and she doesn't want to wear Depends or even underwear because she has enough trouble pulling up her gown and duster without having to also pull down panties when she goes to the bathroom. Consequently she dirties her gowns and her bedsheets when she scoots out of bed to sit on the potty. I don't know whether to also insist she wear panties or not but it would help me to not have to change her bed sheet so often if she would. I know these seem like minor problems compared to some I have read on this website but I would like some input.

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Thanks Jeanne for your advice. No, she prefers to wear her gown and robe during the day so consequently, she needs to change often. She does come into the TV room and eats supper with me and we watch her favorite programs. I will talk to her about P.J.s. Maybe she will consent to try that for a while and she has a Dr's appointment in August for a checkup. I will ask her about the walking then. She has a recent x-ray of Mom's back and she can probably advise me of what is right to do. Mom doesn't want to take any kind of pain medicine. She spends a lot of time reading and writing letters to family and friends despite the fact that she has macular degeneration and arthritis in her (as she calls it) "write" hand. I don't spend as much time as I should interacting with her because she also has a severe hearing problem and even with her hearing aids, it's hard to converse with her. I have to talk so loud that I feel like I'm yelling at her and people have told me that I am starting to talk like that to them when it isn't necessary. :-) But I feel like if she were still living in her own home, she wouldn't have as much company as she does here. The problem is I am 72 and I feel as if it is entirely possible that she could outlive me and that my life is pretty much over as far as just being able to do exactly what I want to do in my twilight years.

Discuss the walking issue with her doctor. If it is a use-it-or lose-it situation, then it would be in her best interests for you to insist on some walking.

Does Mom not get dressed at all during the day? Does she not come out and sit in family room or living room for a while, or eat ar the kitchen table?

Might it work to wear pajamas instead of gowns? Then she only has to deal with pulling the bottoms down, and not also holding the gown up.

You are doing a wonderful thing to have her live with you. It is OK to make some decisions based on what works best for you! Sure, the driving factor in most decisions is what is best for her ... but it is also OK to try to work things out to minimize the laundry. :-)

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