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My mother, (89) has been using a walker for 3 years now, after hip replacement surgery. It WAS sad that she didn't rehab better than she did, she was barely needing a cane and now she is FT walker and looking down the road to the wheelchair (which she has already bought!).


I was AT HER HOME when the PT guys worked with her on walking properly with the walker. Holding it in close to her body, standing straight as possible and using the walker as a support, just gently resting her hands on it--must have practiced a thousand times how to walk with it....


Fast forward 2 weeks after PT is over and she is slumping over the walker, essentially "chasing" it, rather than using it for "support" it is now her 3rd leg. SLAMMING into doors to open them--my poor brother has to touch up the paint monthly anywhere she goes.


AND she has so much garbage piled on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Purses, bags, little "organizers" another bag for shopping...what have you. I went to take her to the store a few months ago and after she let go of the walker it fell over, it was SO LOADED with junk. I was not expecting that--so I was a little miffed--I had to pick up basically 4 containers worth of junk in a snowy parking lot.


Her purse must weigh 10 lbs. Add all the other bags she can't live without and she's pushing 20-25 lbs of junk around.


EVERY bag has: tissues, wet and dry, MANY pads of paper, anywhere from 5-15 pens and pencils, the usual checkbook, wallet, combs and brushes and chapstick, little containers with pills and crumbs of pills and gum and chewed gum wrapped in MORE tissues and more tissues and oh my gosh....


The ONE thing I try to get her to take on board is hand sanitizer, but, nope, no room for that.


I MADE her clean the bags out last time I saw her, she had lost something and I knew it was probably in one of the bag bottoms. It was.


So gross to me: damp nose tissues in every corner of each bag. She never cleans these out, just finds another "cute" tote to carry.


She looks like a well fed bag lady.


I have NEVER seen an elderly man use a walker in this manner. I am a woman too and I carry some kind of bag/tote with me, but it gets cleaned out everyday.


She does have a "seated" walker, which I personally find preferable to having all your garbage hanging off the handles--there's a seat with storage space. Oh, and I didn't mention that she hangs her catheter bag off the walker too? I mean---oh gosh. I am so glad I am not the go-to for shopping with her. Sometimes she'll strap the bag to her leg like she's supposed, but too often it's just hanging out there....


I don't suppose there really is an answer to this. I am really just venting. I wish I could design and create a much more streamlined way for her to carry her junk around in ONE bag---but she'd just fill it up and want another. Upon reflection, her bags look a LOT like her kitchen table--hoarded to the point she can only have space for one dish to eat on.


The slumping is something I have given up on.


Really--just a vent. I am having a family get together in a couple weeks b/c my daughter and her family are coming to town. Her kids don't see great granny more than once a year, if that and the last time they did, my 6 yo granddaughter thought she was witch and began crying when mother "burst" into the room. We stayed for 5 minutes.


I don't want a repeat of that.


At this point is there even any point in trying to get her to at least cover the cath bag? Toss about half of her garbage? Or do I just let the chips fall.


(I'm putting this in Burnout as I am burned out by this--but mostly b/c that topic gets the most views and support!)

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My mom would hunch over the walker as well. All those cute little bags (yes, filled with tissues — some used, some not) would be removed & stashed around the house. She used to park her walker in a corner of the room & then wobble to the bed or chair or whatever. When she came to live with us, the walker became a battering ram — to knock down the baby gates we had set up. Ahhh, the memories!
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I can't believe how many responses and comments this simple little query brought about!

It IS nice to know I am not alone in this. None of my sibs are on board with mother's care, even the brother she lives with. As much as she dislikes my "bossy" attitude and intrusiveness, I have caught many a UTI before it blossomed--and I can fix some things for her. I can also call people for her, she simply cannot use her phone, it's just beyond her. Still trying to work on brother to have the landline reinstated (she will pay for it) but he has to actually call the cable company and his attitude is that if she's too 'dumb' to learn how to use a cell phone she doesn't deserve one. (Yeah, he's a prince).

I actually did have a little chat with her about the hanging cath bag. She simply hasn't THOUGHT about how it appears to other people. When she is home alone (which is most of the time) she leaves it hanging on the walker. She 'thinks' when she goes out, she wraps it around her leg...but she wasn't SURE. I think I may have sparked a little reminder in her brain. even though she has this, she still overflows and leaks. And, she should be getting new ones every month or so. They absorb odors and she just cannot get the smell out.

I am working on one for a friend in my neighborhood and I am going to "try it out" on mother's walker. Betcha she wants me to make her one too. The fabric is all the same, a bright cherry print. And a matching tote bag. I'm just playing around with it right now. The fabric is pretty tough, but I am also going to saturate it with waterproofing spray.

There's just something about the ratty junk she has slug over her walker that makes her look so old and unkempt. And she'd die if she thought she looked like that.
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OMG! You just gave me something to be thankful for. My mom won't use her walker and it's only after we've been out of the home for 10 minutes that she starts wondering if she brought her purse, which has nothing in it except her wallet with identification and insurance cards. She's no longer attached to her things. Take care and I hope there is at least a solution for the catheter bag!
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Cricket: Good ideas for anyone needing a Rollator. I no longer require one since my late mother has passed away. But I'm sure that others can benefit from your posts.
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CharK60
It seems like our mothers could be twins. Sorry you are going through this. Thanks for sharing this and hide the cookies!
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Hi, LlamaLover & anyone needing a convertable pushable rollator device!

After reading your speaking of your husband using the Rollator to push her, . I've spent some time this evening researching and my responses, I hope, will give safety education,

https://karmanhealthcare.com/avoid-problems-with-rollators-wheeled-walkers/

Plus to tell about a new Drive brand Dual Rollator with a Footrest when used for transport. This is currently the only convertable I could find. It is a lightweight welded aluminum transport chair, but rated for up to 300 pounds (including the accouterments for hoarders!).

I think this is a remarkably great safe idea! I have the link to it below.

The attendent does need the strength to negotiate any possible curb cuts and ramps without losing control. Curbs and high doorsills present the danger of tipping over backwards.

The Drive brand Rollator Dual is converted this way.... First no patient seated during the transition. The backrest is lifted and turned about, the pop-up arm rests are raised. The footrest is raised into position only after the patient is seated. The handle grips and brakes are then in the proper location for the assistant.

See the photos & description here
https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Medical-Function-Transport-Wheelchair/dp/B001FWY1JI

The chair should be pushed close to the patient for a safe transition. I could find no seat belts for the Rollator Dual, only for wheelchairs. Since rollators are designed for only people capable of walking, a seat belt is something I'm not qualified to have an opinion. But if I was using it for pushing someone, I would want one.

One more thought - the Biggest potential problem with a seated 4-wheeled walker is when the patient tries to always get around by just using their feet to propel themselves forward, backward and steer, but not using the Brake to sit down or get up. If their dementia keeps them from learning to use it properly, becoming a danger to themselves, consider a walker without a seat.

I need to truthfully admit that sometimes I still forget UNTIL I feel it start to roll backwards, out from under me, Scary. None of us are perfect.

Happy days to all!
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Cricket: I wish this site could upload photos because then you could see my husband pushing by late mother from the rear of the device. If the brake is engaged, then how will the carer be able to move the device forward (with the elder seated on its seat and a seat belt across the elder)? Answer=they couldn't.
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A walker organizer. The perfect holiday/birthday gift. Perhaps you have found an additional calling.
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So many comments! Thank you. I guess this is a common problem.

I did NOT mean to make mother feel bad, and in retrospect, I should have simply asked her to lend me her backup one ( she has 2 or 3) and take measurements. They are all pretty similarly made. BUT, I wanted to SEE what she's toting in there that's so doggone important.

I think the problem lies in the fact she has 3-4 bags on there at once and each one is a replica of the others. Other than her wallet in her purse....every bag has tissues (several packs) many used ones, dried crumbly/crusty food/lipsticks, gum, antacids, tylenol (BIG bottles) lotion, combs, pens, pencils, pads of paper, stickers, and 2-3 large incontinence pads. Plus about 5 plastic bags to PUT more stuff in. Each bag weighs about 4 lbs. She complains that her rollater is too heavy to lift and it's UNDER 4 lbs.

This is a battle I'm not going to fight. I'm going to make some walker organizers for some sweet ladies in my neighborhood and when Mother sees them at BINGO and finds out I made them for her friends--well, tough, She was so mad at me but Ian see why she felt invaded--(I'm death on her hoarding, it just makes me literally physically sick)--she is sensitive to her home and her choice of surroundings, messy as it is.

Thanks for the tutorial on the proper use of the rollater! My old client always wanted to be pushed in hers and she went through one every 6 months. was what is was, just not worth hassling over--but setting the brakes were VERY important. For that factor, the old aluminum walker is probably "better". I personally like the rollater as you always have a seat.
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I think you just described my MIL but not the catheter bag. When I used to take her grocery shopping I used to have to carry her purse ... I did hold my tongue when she banged her walker against my new car because she told me it was the wrong color.
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The Drive brand Rollator is the only one I've seen so far that has BOTH an adjustable seat height AND adjustable handle heights.

I had a dear friend, some dementia - no longer able to know how to use her sewing machine or play the piano (she had taught and played (organ, too) in her church for decades.

Anyway, her niece got her a Rollator - absolutely not a single ounce of ANYTHING on it besides her hands.== but she would only walk bent at the hips, body and arms outstretched horizontal to the floor, legs astraddle - and PUSHED it. With neck arched stiffly up to see where she was going.

I would stand her up between the handle bars, pointing out that there was more than enough room, that she would not bang her knees.. Told her she would end up falling other wise - - -
But it was like she didn't hear me, didn't believe me OR just chose to trust her self. Or simply was unable to learn.

In short, I think it possible that dementia has something about it in some cases.

I only took it with us so she would have a place to sit when we visited her friend at the nursing home.
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I solved the biggest problems of my Rollator.

1).. When the darned brake cables hang out to the sides and catch on things.
Answer - Dollar Tree for a package of those little nylon.sizable locking thingies (the big ones are used to handcuff people). You can cut off the excess

2).. When you can't keep the darned thing from falling open again. Particular annoying when trying to stash it behind the front seat or against a wall or in a closet.
Answer - buy some medium-sized dog collars at the Dollar Tree (mine are the rainbow, but some might like camouflage).
I attach one to either side of hanging basket, ready to clip to keep the legs together.

And how about the darned seat that comes with no equipment or suggestions to keep it upright, free from damage or crashes.
Again at the Dollar Tree, I buy the matching dog leash. After folding the Rollator, I wrap it around the top (circling it), then passing the clip through the leash loop, I fasten the clip to the brake cable.

By the way, the cheapest place by far to get the Rollator "Cadillac" (the *drive* brand) is on Amazon. The Rollator company has given me good customer service, too.
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Personally, I love my Rollator. Everything about it. I use useful round flat-bottomed containers, about 8 inches deep, hang from elastics) on each handle. The left for everything from hairbrush, notepad and pen, coin purse, tissues. The other side is my large covered mug of iced tea.

Some use the backrest to hang a storage system where it faces forward. - You buy one, even on Amazon, or just use a backpack.

For the holidays, I hit the Dollar Tree to buy a large frightening skull (I bought my friend a cheerful jack-o-lantern) - no end of compliments and happy smiles for us both. Be it Valentine's Day, Spring & Easter, Summer & summery themes & the 4th of July... Then Fall leaves & Thanksgiving. And Christmas, the sky's the limit.

May the 60's live forever! Mama's still a freak.

I love the fun of Pimping Out my *ride*
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LlamaLover - - no one should EVER sit on the seat of a Rollator and be pushed from behind. In fact, the only way and time *anyone* one sit on it is when the Brake is engaged.

I used it to sit at the dining table in rehab. I would push it up close, set the brake, sit on it, let off the brake, pull it closer by holding to the table, then reset the brake.

There are labels on these devices, bold warnings on hang tags warning of the danger.

Only devices you can push someone around on are wheelchairs.

I use my Rollator while on walks so I have a secure safe place to sit. I position the Rollator, set the brakes, turn aound, grasp the handles and lower myself. I only release the brakes after I'm up and facing the Rollator and gripping the handles.
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My post was supposed to be for Chark, not Clark. My bad. That is, my bad vision.
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Clark: A Rollator is used by another person pushing the seated elder from behind. If you get an RX from your doctor, Medicare will often cover its cost.
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Chark60--

Your mother and mine sound like twins!

Riverdale--My MIL and Mother cannot STAND each other. They actually went to school together, my mother was from the "wealthy" part of town, MIL wasn't...oh well--they have't spoken in 20 years.
***************
The "decline" in height (or slumping, whatever you call it, the spine collapsing, for many reasons) are a troubling part of aging--many times, I know, it's an inevitable part of the aging process. However, in mom's case, it was lack of movement after multiple surgeries that caused this--she was a surgery junkie and I know she had quite a few surgeries that she "talked" the drs into doing. Years ago--I doubt you could get this past a dr nowadays, what with MRI's and CT scans...I had 2 back surgeries and I had to jump through so many hoops--it was almost a year before I was approved for one! The dr would not do both at the same time.

I rehabbed from both and although, yes, there is chronic pain, I also stretch, move and exercise every single day. By my age (62) mother was already almost bedbound. She gets up more now, but only because she is afraid my brother will put her in a home if she doesn't get up.

I was measuring the walker and she was just chattering away at me, altho I kept telling her this wasn't FOR her. After seeing just how falling-down her walker bags and such are, maybe the prototype WILL be for her. Her bags were filled with wet tissues (gag) bits of food ("That's a muffin I want to eat later! Don't touch it!" (pile of crumbs...) LOTS of dried up french fries, more tissues, it was unending. AND I wasn't allowed to move her purse. In retrospect, I could have called her first and she could have cleaned it out. But she doesn't answer her phone, so it was what it was. Oh, her phone is somewhere in this jumble, but since she rarely answers it and cannot figure out how to dial it, what's the point?

I was playing around with her walker, kind of checking on the height and such--and such was telling me that she has no CHOICE but to push it--it takes all her strength to do so and she has to stand as far back from it as she can...so I tried some different distances. Standing "inside" the walker itself and walking normally was the least unpleasant. I can see that b/c she likes attention, she would stand as far out as she can, it's much more noticeable. Standing a few feet back made it really uncomfortable for me-made my back actually hurt.

I did do the same with the rollater (yes, that's the kind of walker with wheels and a little seat with storage underneath). It wasn't as simple to use, but she has 2. She doesn't like having her things hidden in the seat compartment.

Have to admit I was in a mood when I went up there and I need to check my attitude at the door!! But I was only there 30 minutes at the most.

Her place desperately needs a deepclean....I asked her if she would possibly allow my sis and me to do a Spring Clean for her (for no other reason than to powerwash the beyond filthy birdcage) and she was emphatic--absolutely NOT, she didn't trust me. Said that my 18 yo neice is her maid and clean (uh, no she most assuredly does not)....as I was saying all this, a looooooong strand of a cobwed drifts lazily down from the light fixture over the table..right into her salad.
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My 93 yo mom has a walker with wheels. Is that a rollater?
i have to blame my self for her being so dependent on her walker bc when she came home from hip surgery I demanded that she use it all the time. Now she doesn’t even let go for a minute to pivot in the kitchen though she would only need to take one step to reach the other counter.

Her hoarding isn’t limited to her walker though, tonight I found her lower denture sitting on the living room end table after she went to bed!

Every night she tells me, “I’ll clean up my mess tomorrow! Don’t throw anything away!”

The deal is that she wants to keep everything within arms reach around her, and yes it’s so she doesn’t have to move too much. The problem is the less she moves around the harder it is for her to move!

I cleaned out the hoarded magazines, TV guides, and newspapers while she got her hip replaced and the tables they were piled on so she just has one end table and it’s beside her. Lordy, lordy she is always trying to get more furniture placed around her so she can clutter up the whole living room. Safety first! I always say...

Ioften find her with her box of cereal, dirty cereal bowl and the jug of milk in the living room on her walker hours after she’s had breakfast. She knows I’m not gonna like it but she just can’t see why.

But omg in the kitchen‼️ There is not enough shelves that hit the ‘above 3 feet but below 4 feet’ for her to function in there. She can’t lift the milk in the fridge if it’s any higher and she can’t see any healthy snacks no matter where they are EXCEPT! yogurt and ensures! And she calls that feeding herself...

Now if I sneak in some cookies, she can sniff those out from anywhere just like an old hound dog...

I love her to death and don’t know what I’ll do without her...

charlotte
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Midkid: I am truly sorry that your mother treats you so poorly. I wonder why she is keeping stuff in the pockets of her walker --- lack of energy to put them in her trash can or wants to hold onto them forever? Sending you love.
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MID, You have such a wide heart that stretches far. I would like to periodically put the Walker through the car wash. It can leave unsightly marks on a wood floor.

I would venture to guess that your mother and your MIL don't get along. I hope your grandchildren have fun with your siblings kids. As my husband and I are both only children it has at times been a lonely life. Hope you enjoy the sewing.
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I went to mother's today hoping she was out and I could quickly take some measurements and scoot out--nope, she was home and although I asked very nicely if I could look over her walker for a possible Etsy project-this isn't FOR HER, she did reluctantly agree, but gave me 1/2 hour of serious grief. I don't care if her walker pouches are jam packed with garbage (they were) I wanted measurements only as perhaps a idea of where SHE would find something to be useful. Instead she got defensive and I took the measurements and left pretty quickly.

She was angry b/c she NEEDS everything in her rolling 'home away from home' which is what I am thinking of designing. I told her over and over it WAS NOT FOR HER...but she thinks I try to 'run her life' (tried, can't, brother is in charge)--and I may come across as angry, but the "anger" is entirely sadness and a "giving up" on her. She want one or two people in her life and I'm not one.

I looked at the rollater as it is so much less institutional looking, but she says it's unbearably heavy and clumsy. I weighed it. 2.8 lbs. Less than her purse. SMH.

I'm not making these for her, I am just thinking through a possible idea to fill a need.

I got some good ideas and cleaned out her walker pouches. I hadn't realized how grimy they were. Didn't take them off to wash, she is very sensitive to the lack of cleanliness on her part in her house, etc. Brother will NOT allow outside help and while I deep cleaned 2 years ago--well, that was 2 years ago and I threw out a rubber frog that she had to retrieve from the trash, I'm not even allowed to take the newspapers to recycle. Whatever.

And mother says that they "taught her" to walk with the walker way our front-that this was most stable. Um, I doubt it, but didn't argue.

Mary Kathleen--I am sorry for your physical ailments, truly, I am. I am NOT making fun of mother. She's had MULTIPLE rounds of PT and as soon as they are gone, she becomes a slumper. And complains mightily about it--when the answer for her is simply 'you must do your PT daily' to maintain any posture. She simply chose not to.

I don't need respite care from her. I am not her CG. She barely can stand having me as a daughter. My 2 sisters are the golden girls and they NEVER call or visit. Sad, really.
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MaryKathleen: I, too, have compacted! Shrunk about 1-1/2". Could be worse. At least I don't have the condition of the pituitary gland. I am sorry about your condition. I also walk not upright. Recently relatives of mine even had the audacity to ask me "What is wrong with your back?"
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Sendhelp(If only our elders said that): I adore the bird cage idea! Yes! I think my nameplate will have to be a Lennon/McCartney compilation.
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Midkid58: I meant to say that I perused your post so quickly that I erred on perused. My late mother would ditch her walker when someone wasn't looking. I probably won't be like " Yay, I'll love that walker when I get to that point." Lol. My mom went from being on a cane to a walker in just 2 short months! We all compact as we age. I wish I had started out at 6', but reached my adult height of 5' 8-3/4" at age 12! Now I'm 5' 7-1/2". So because I reached that former height when not even a teen, I can't have perfect posture. Oh, I am so sorry about your mom's hair & makeup.
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For my walker, I am going to attach a small traveling bird cage to the front, and carry bird seed inside the seat compartment. A miniature license plate reading:
U812 .
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I have osteoporosis, my spine is collapsing. I used to be almost 5'9", the last time they checked me, I am under 5'4". I am bent over because my vertebra are not rectangle any more, they are almost a triangle with the point towards my heart. I do not hunch over on purpose to upset people. I feel for your mother because you have so much anger built up against her. It seems like everything she does irritates you. Can you get some respite care for yourself and get away from her for awhile? I only use my rollator when I have to stand up for a long time. I probably push it too, I don't know. I do know, if I step wrong and fall I probably in deep shit. When we go out to eat, if I sit in a booth, I feel like my chin is resting on the table too. It is very disconcerting.
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A catheter bag & drainage hose cover can be made of a relatively small piece of fabric - and what a lovely assortment even on the discount remnant table. Let her pick what she prefers. If it's purple velvet, so be it!

You could use a few attached velcro tabs to secure the bottom... And, try out things to attach the hose cover to - maybe the leg strap? btw, the hose cover part can be baggy & very loose-fitting for quick on and offs.

Now, about the odor - use fabric softener sheets inside the bag. Strong pleasant aroma. Does Gain make them?

And Gain to launder the cover up. And her clothes and bed linens. She may not use enough detergent - measure the proper amount of detergent into zip lock baggies and hide the box.

Poorly washed laundry cannot ruin a washer (or dryer). The fashionable front loaders Will always grow huge colonies of foul smelling bacteria that need to have certain products to keep their growth under control. Even using a 'final rinse cycle' with a cup of bleach will do the same.

It's your brother's responsibility to clean her bathroom. She is unlikely to be aware of the rankness. If he's gives it no more attention than some do to their cat's litter pans, then count it as a sigh and bear it situation.

I'm so happy that you sneak in for visits. She is as much (or more) your own much loved mother. You are wonderful.
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LLamalover--
That is a part of it, for sure. The cane just made her look kind of "dapper" but the walker says "I'M OLD". I can't see how wrapping the handles, etc with garish pool noodles would be helpful---it's such an eyesore now....but that might work for others.

I am not really a part of her care team. I try to do what I can, but my brother blows his top b/c he thinks we are all trying to undermine him. (There's not enough therapy nor time in the world to figure out his relationship with mother).

I just see her, how bent over she is, how she has to twist her head in the most ungainly and painful way to be able to see anything above about 5' high. She's shrinking, due to osteporosis and bad, ill advised back surgeries...I hate that she looks so bad. She has always been very conscious about perfect hair and makeup and now she is pretty much bald and her makeup is a haphazard mess. So sad.
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When I quickly pursued this, I thought the post was going to be about the fact that they don't use the walker because it makes them look old.
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I feel your pain! PT recommended we get a rolling walker for my mom, it's designed to be an assist device rather than a support. She was told to steer with it, not lean as it might roll away and let her fall. She is doing much better with this since I lengthened the handles so she can’t slump over, she has to stand erect to use it.

And yes, she uses it to hold multiple items in the seat bag, plus a tote bag hanging from the handle, and anything else let aced onto the seat! I have to empty the seat bag to fold the walker up which is a hassle plus every thing falls out of the hanging tote.

She had 3 pack of tissues in there yesterday and still fussed about having a Kleenex! Plus 3 pens, 2 pencils, and 4 pad so notepaper.

But at least it's safer than her trying to carry things and manouver a traditional walker.

have you tried extending the length of the walker legs to force her more erect?
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