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My grandmother in law broke 2 ribs from a recent fall. All the doctors told her absolutely no unneccesary bending, reaching, or lifting. She will not listen. she has physical therapists in the home 2x a week, i had told them too. she tried to deny it to them, but they knew better. every visit they tell her no, the consequences and everything but she wont listen. they told her she could puncture an organ and cause herself a very serious injury. to their face, she acts like she understands, but as soon as they leave she starts bending, straining, ect. then complains for hours about the pain. i dont know what to do. she thinks im trying to control her and that im mean and nasty when i tell her to stop. anything she is trying to do, i already do so i dont get why she wont freaking listen! i cant just sit around and watch her cause herself a more serious injury just because she wont relax and take it easy! and then she says i dint care about anyone but myself, but clearly that is a delusion she has. i literally do everything for her and i wouldnt help if i didnt care. im so frustrated and any advice would be wonderful. also, its only been 2 weeks and the healing time is 4-8 weeks.

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Oh, I see. Professionals who work with seniors and dementia patients should understand the behavior you are describing. If they don't, I wonder if they are inexperienced.

Does she have a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

If she has no Healthcare POA and her regular doctor is unwilling to refer her to a neurologist, I'm not sure what you can do. Maybe you could convince her that a neurological evaluation could help determine the cause of her falls. Maybe she would voluntarily go if that was the given reason. Then when there, you can provide him a list of your observations and correct any information she provides that is wrong. (I'd do this discretely.) Hopefully, he would order a neuropsychological evaluation and an MRI. At least you would have some answers.

The sad thing is that often a crisis has to happen before someone will accept help. You're doing all that you can. I would try to find peace with that.
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Moonflower, I'm not sure how you ended up with grandma in law on your plate, but I would proceed with caution. Is she living with you, or you with her? And with no POA? Who IS responsible for her care? Is anyone watching her finances?

I would be cautious because Grandma, who clearly has dementia, I would think, may decide that you are robbing her blind and decide to kick you out. Or tell the ER folks next time that you are hurting her on purpose. Just be aware that this happens. I think you need to document her behaviors and, as Sunny advised, get her to a neurologist for evaluation and treatment.
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she has the occupational therapist, and i did get a chance to talk to her. I told her about the possible dementia, i brought up examples, she wrote it down and understood. I told her she keeps bending, ect. Im hoping her ot has contact with her physician, because she was at the er when they found out about the ribs. but grandma makes us seem like monsters to other people. she plays the victim, and puts blame on us for everything, and will actualky say how we are always mean to her, even though all our conflicts are us telling her not to worry about doing dangerous things and she thinks we are treateing her like a kid and that we are always yelling at her, even though we dont do that. she does that! as soon as i wake up in the morning she comes flipping out on me for no reason. she also makes up reasons to complain and be mean and nasty. if you actually knew me, you would know that im very nice and calm and its rare when im angry, let alone yelling. but she has told that to her doctor and she beleives grandma so she wont help which is very unprofessional, in my opinion. i want her to start seeing a geriatric, or neurologist, i just dont know how to get her to do it, and the legality of it. i have no poa, and even if i did, her dr hasnt declared her incompetent, so i have no way to make those decisions right now. i feel like i am stuck. and i am confused on what to do
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Moonflower, I'm not sure what is wrong with her doctor, but I'd find a neurologist who treats dementia patients to examine her. Make sure you provide him the info you report here. He will do office exam, order MRI and a neurological exam. It should reveal the truth about her condition. It's important to know this, because if it is dementia she may need services that require a diagnosis.

In cases like that, you have to look at the safety issues. My cousin didn't want to feel dependent either, but she was incapable of living alone. It wasn't safe. I had to ignore those wishes.

Even if they are in a facility, they can still ignore walkers and fall. My cousin ended up with more fractures and a fractured spine. She's now in a wheelchair. But, she gets around by using her feet in the chair and she no longer falls. Sometimes, it comes to that.
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Does she have access to an occupational therapist? Not using the cane is probably because when she leans on it (transferring her weight through her upper body) it hurts worse. But it's nothing compared to how much a broken hip would hurt! I'd call in an OT for expert advice, which (you never know!) she might even listen to.
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thank you so much(both of you) for the advice. i feel like im going to pull my hair out, haha. im trying to keep calm, i meditate regularly to keep my stress levels down but yeah ill just compromise and advise against heavy lifting. im sure we can come to an agreement. i understand she doesnt want to feel incapable, i just wish she understood my concerns. my main concern, however is falling. she has alot of falls and she has gotten lucky that this has been the only serious one. her pcp declared her homebound, and that she cant get around without wheelchair or walker. she has a walker but refuses to use it, but now with this injury, she wont even use her cane. and it scares me because the fall happened just from her getting out of bed to go to the bathroom, and hit her dresser so she wasnt doing anything unreasonable. i just dont want her to hurt herself. :/
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To be honest, if she were actually going to do herself any harm beyond putting herself in unnecessary pain I think it would have happened by now - she's not going to puncture anything at this point, I shouldn't think.

And actually there is a trade-off at work there: if she really did keep still to encourage faster healing, what she gained from that she'd lose in being less mobile. Broken ribs are right b*st*rds - you can't not move your ribs, and there is nothing much you can do to stop them hurting, though the pain will gradually decrease on its own.

So that just leaves the irritation of her saying 'ow it hurts when I do this' and then going on doing whatever the 'this' is. Which is very irritating. But probably not dangerous. Remind her that the remedy is in her own hands, and try not to get drawn into emotional discussions about it if you can possibly help it.

If she's allowed to use it and it's safe (ask discreetly when she isn't listening) you could perhaps find some topical pain relief ointment that you can apply to the affected area. It won't do much for broken bones, but it might be soothing and at least you'll have tried.

My daughter broke my rib by bouncing a heavy branch into me by accident: your MIL has my heartfelt sympathy. But it gets better, bit by bit. She shouldn't despair. I just hope she doesn't drive you round the bend in the meantime! Sympathy to you, too.
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It sounds like she's not able to comprehend and process the instruction. Does she have dementia? The reason I ask is that I saw that kind of behavior with my cousin right before she was diagnosed with dementia. She knew she was very prone to fall, had soft bones and was under doctor's orders to use her cane. But, she would not use her cane. She would walk over hilly ground without the cane. She would just ignore it. Then she would fall, break a bone, heal, and then start over. It was ridiculous, but she could not understand the absurdity.

I didn't know it then, but she had dementia. Not only would she forget that she was supposed to have a cane, she lost her ability to use good judgment and to see the consequences of her actions. It just wasn't there.

It's not her being difficult or trying to hurt her recovery. The only solution that I came up with is to monitor her constantly. At least until she heals. I would keep check on her though, to see if she is irresponsible in other areas that involve risking her health. If she is refusing to sit and relax, look at that too. Often dementia patients are anxious. They will pace the floor, wring the hands, make repetitive movements, etc. I might read up on it and discuss it with her doctor.

Do you know how she fell? Frequent falls are also common with dementia.

There could be other explanations. Perhaps other posters have experiences they can offer.
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she has not been diagnosed, but she is clearly showing signs of dementia. her doctor will not listen to me when i tell her about the possible dementia, she wont even give her an evaluation! i told the occupational therapist, but she keeps preventing me from talking to the therapists while there here, and if i do, she keeps denying it. she has everything within reach for the most part, but as soon as i turn my back, shes bending over picking up trash, or lifting heavy bags of cat food, things like that. pointless, meticulous things. she keeps trying to go to the basement for no reason, or tried to get on a latter to put a lightbulb in. these are things that i already do! there is no need for her to worry!
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Does she have dementia? If so, she will forget she is not to do certain physical activities. Sounds like the only way to protect her is to keep a closer eye on her, anticipate her needs, make sure anything she may want is within easy reach. Much like babyproofing a house.
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