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My mother fell and broke both arms this week. Insurance will cover home health care for 30 hours a week, I believe.
I live in Europe and she lives in the Washington DC area. Traveling home due to recent covid issues prevents me from helping immediately.
She has moved in with a friend and she can assist my mother the next several months but I am looking for tips for her to manage her daily life (even in small ways).
examples: Bathroom needs (when caregiver is not there), independently taking pills, voice activated phone apps for calling and voice typing, drinking devices, etc.
Many thanks for responding, especially if you have had a loved one with both arms broken and dealt with home care, post fall.


regards


-pete

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Can I be blunt?

Why do you think Mom needs someone to manage her daily life? Has she asked you to to do this?

Yes she has had an awful accident & now has drastically altered ability for ADLS... But can she talk ok? Answer questions? Speak to medical professionals about her injury, treatment & recovery herself? Speak up for her needs?

I would have thought respite then rehab.. but if she has a friend willing & able to look after her - well, good. She can use the PT/OT outpatient services & work out what's best for her situation.

(In her shoes, I would appreciate the offer of help if I wanted it - but can't imagine needing my adult kids to advice me how to toilet myself 😉)
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Chris52 Dec 7, 2021
Heavens, she’s just looking for tips to share with her mom!
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Pete,

I would make sure she has someone with her 24/7.

I know an excellent caregiver in the DC area. She cared for my own mother.

Send me a personal message if you would like reference.
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PraguePete73: Imho, a bidet could help a lot if it could be installed. Also, bear in mind, that pain medications can cause constipation.
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Request a PT/OT consultation to assess safety and ADLs in the home. These professions have a knack for breaking down activities into stages (which we take for granted) and developing alternative ways to accomplish a task. They also are aware of many assistance devices that most people are unaware of. For instance, did you know that there is an assistance device for wiping after using the toilet? PT/OT may also know if insurance may cover the assistance items that would make this healing process more bearable.
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If the friends has Internet wifi, Alexa can be very helpful.
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This happened to my mom. Straws have been mentioned, but they can move around in glasses. Look for tumblers that have small holes for the straws so that they do not move around. Automatic soap dispensers, pump hand sanitizers if she can use one arm to push down - otherwise look for other wipes, etc. that she can use. I would suggest looking through some catalogs with adaptive aids. You will probably see some things that she can use.
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Definitely a bidet (connected to warm water) if at all possible. If bidet is not feasible, at least get a portable one (essentially a squeeze bottle), although with both wrists broken, this could only be used by a caregiver. HAPPYPO is a nice one.
You don’t see where the break is. Workarounds will depend up whether or not she can use wrist or fingers at all.
A good Occupational Therapist will know of best practices to manage with her particular restrictions, in her particular environment.
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This past summer my 92-yr old mom fell and broke her wrist. The cast went between her thumb and index finger all the way to her elbow. This made her hand unusable because she couldn't put her fingers together or form a fist. If this is what your mom has on both her arms, she will not be able to do anything for herself. If the casts don't interfere with her ability to grasp, and grasping doesn't cause her pain, then she will probably be able to help herself somewhat.

Mostly I want to stress the importance of her going faithfully to PT afterwards and doing the exercises at home so that she regains all movement and strength. Your profile says your mom is in her early 70's, which is better than 92, but I was astonished at how fast my mom lost her muscle tone and strength -- someone who was up to the time of the break still vacuuming, scrubbing, doing yard work, sewing, driving, etc. She is a retired RN and was a total PT warrior and did all the exercises. Even so she has regained about 80% of abilities 5 months after the cast came off and the doc said that's about all that is coming back. Please encourage your mom to do all the PT recommended to her and to use her hands and arms (once medically cleared) even if it is somewhat painful. The pain will eventually diminish. I wish her a full and speedy recovery!
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PraguePete73 Dec 1, 2021
wonderful info...thank you so much
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My mom fell and broke both her wrists, washing windows standing on a plastic lawn chair. Oy vey!

It was just a tough couple of months.

Lots of straws, lots of drip dry and lots of frustration.

Is she in casts over the elbow? If yes, I would think that a rehab facility might be a better choice. There is just no way to do certain things with full arm casts.

I would encourage her to make sure that she is left plenty of fluids that she can drink from a straw, like lined up on the counter so she doesn't have to lift them.

Wear house dresses with nothing underneath to go to the bathroom. Have a bidet installed.

Get those little plastic cups and have her meds sorted in them, then she can use her mouth to pick up the small cup and get the pills in her mouth.

My phone has voice commands, does mom have a smart phone?

Hire additional help if she needs more hours. It's just a couple of months and will be so helpful for her recovery. Stress interferes with our bodies ability to heal, so you want to minimize that, as much as possible.

Best of luck. This was definitely a challenge for my mom and she had her husband to help her 24/7.
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Geaton777 Dec 1, 2021
My mom was not even able to take lids off Tupperware, open food packaging or hold utensils in that hand, for many weeks even after the casts came off.
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Can she get a bidet installed at the friend's home?

Pills should be able to be managed between 30 hrs a week and friend, yes? Even if she has to take them bunched into 2 times a day.
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Isthisrealyreal Dec 1, 2021
The pain meds will be as needed for the first 10 days or so. I bet she is taking them every 4 to 6 hours.

I remember when I broke my arm at 10 years old and every heartbeat hurt like fire. I can't imagine both of them. Ouch!
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