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Mom was dressing herself just a little over a year ago. I thought it would be nice if I laid out her pajamas for bedtime....Then out of the blue after a few days of me laying out her clothes (to make things easier for her) she forgot how to dress herself. Now I am at a point where I am not sure what to do. Mom can get herself up at night to use the commode that sits next to her bed but when Morning comes she complains she is unable to sit up by herself. I watch her and she does struggle quite a bit..(she is 4’6 and 185lbs....) but she always manages to sit herself up. I feel bad making her go through that but think....”she does it in the middle of the night....”

We purchased a stand-assist bar for Mom when she broke her hip and it has been very helpful for her, especially when sitting up in the morning. Hope this helps!

Vaunn Medical Bed Rail Assist & Height Adjustable Grab bar Handle for Adults & Seniors, Charcoal Black
Color:Charcoal Black
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Reply to melsharpe
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We have a bar that goes between the boxspring and mattress so that mom can use that to help get herself up out of bed. She's 4'11 and 200 lbs. It helped a lot!

Maybe you can get her some PT and/or OT to help her get a little stronger to be able to do more for herself?

Or I would definitely start getting some in home help as her deficits are growing and you can and should only do so much. If she needs verbal prompting to get dressed, etc., outside help would be very useful. Otherwise, your time available to do things like basic chores is going to be quite diminished.
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Reply to againx100
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The goal is for her to do as much for herself as she is capable of doing. Giving short, simple directions may be what she needs right now. That and lots of encouragement.
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Reply to Taarna
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I know you feel bad watching her struggle, but you have to let her do it. If she's at the point where she can't, then help her.
As for her not being able to dress herself anymore is new, it might help to try using verbal cues and see if that works.
When it's time to get dressed, show her the clothes and tell her "it's time to get dressed", Or hand the clothing to her and tell her what each one is. "Here's your shirt". "Here's your pants". You may have to start helping her dress, but try to keep any level of independence though.
If she can comb her own hair, or brush her own teeth. Any task that she can perform keep her doing it.
I had a homecare client who was completely invalid from dementia. The only thing she could still do was eat herself. Of course she picked the food up with her hands and always made a mess which always got cleaned.
This was shocking to people who saw and even to the other caregivers who worked on the job. They didn't understand why we didn't just feed her because it would be easier and the mess would be far less.
The only time spoon feeding was allowed was for food that she couldn't handle herself like soup. Everything else she had to do herself because this was the last thing she could do herself. Eventually, we had to start spoon feeding.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Her brain is broken and she lives in her own reality .. My husband truly believes he is fine .. He dresses him self and is able to feed himself but I am amazed, on a daily basis, what he can no longer do . He can not use the TV remote . He can no longer use the phone . The computer is long gone . He can not drive but does not remember why .He can’t make decisions on what he wants to eat . He is a non-compliant diabetic, has RA, prostrate issues, Gerd, and Malt lymphoma in the past. He walks poorly but in his mind he is fine . He is on an antidepressant and it has helped a lot . He has lost who he was and I have lost him as he was . I found a caretakers meeting a year and a half ago and that has helped me immensely. I have a better understanding of what HE is going through and a better understanding what is coming with his decline. Just keep in mind that she will be doing less and you will be doing more .. it is the disease . If you have not got DPOA by now , look into it . The day will come when you can no longer take care of her at home . There are things you will need to know. Talk to the Senior Council in your area and they will help to lead you in the right direction. There is help out there. Prayers are with you .
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Reply to Nanulinda1
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Try to encourage her as much as possible to keep her as independent as she can be but if she if delving deeper into the dementia rabbit hole then be prepared to step in and do for her. You can try and follow Countrymouses suggestions on how to get mom started but may need to do if mom can't as written by Lealonnie1.

My father was always wanting to do for himself - he too forgot he was too weak to stand up and was constantly falling. The last 18 months of his life I got regular phone calls telling me he had fallen yet again - at least weekly. He fell before that due to strokes in the balance center of his brain. But he hated PT and would never take it to heart.

I'm sorry this is happening, but you need to make plans now on what you want for your mom's future whether you keep her at home or place her in a facility. Plan now, don't wait for the last minute.

Best wishes
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Reply to cweissp
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I had to buy an adjustable bed for my mother (lives in Memory Care AL) when she became unable to sit herself up in bed anymore. She's basically lost core strength from being wheelchair bound the past 2 years & refusing physical therapy. The bed itself now sits her up, and the electric recliner does the same thing. She's overweight herself, which doesn't help with anything, just contributes to difficulty moving around.

Dementia symptoms aren't constant; just b/c she was able to get herself up at night to use the commode last night doesn't mean she'll be able to do the same tonight, or next week. Things tend to change on a dime with dementia, especially as time goes on. My mother is 94+; one day she's acting pretty lucid, the next day she's trying to turn the TV set off with her telephone & disconnecting my call 4x in a row. She's now forgotten she cannot walk, and falls off the bed constantly trying to 'walk' or trying to put her shoes on leaning over the bed! No matter how many times she's told not to lean over the bed or try to walk, she cannot retain the information. She even has a sign on her nightstand reminding her to pull the cord for help BEFORE trying to get up by herself. The sign is useless. So is the bed alarm which notifies the staff that she's up out of the bed; by the time it goes off, she's on the floor.

Don't expect anything from your mother; if she can't do something, she can't do it. Purchase supplies/equipment to ease things for her as much as possible, and plan to do everything FOR her as she progresses further down the dementia road. She will need help with literally everything. You say " My biggest fear is she will quit trying to help herself. ‘I can’t’ is her favorite thing to say." She WILL quit trying to help herself as time goes on.......that's the nature of dementia. Trying to help her with her memory issues is futile; she's incapable of learning anything new or holding on to new info, period. You'll have to accept that she'll be needing full time care from you or look into placement in a Memory Care AL or Skilled Nursing Facility as her care needs progress to the point where they become unmanageable for you.

Wishing you the best of luck with a very difficult situation.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Occupational therapists can recommend devices and techniques that could help her. She may not be able to learn how to use them herself, but you can learn too and then prompt her through each routine.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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No. At this point she is completely unable to take in anything new. I have tried several things to help her with memory issues and even the simplest things ..... baby books...Highlights magazines for toddlers...see too confusing for her. Mom has been obese for as long as I have known her.. she has bad arthritis in her shoulders...I cannot lift her to a sitting position but can offer my arm for support. My biggest fear is she will quit trying to help herself. ‘I can’t’ is her favorite thing to say,
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Reply to Bluwys
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Teach her to roll on her side, then push herself up with her arms. That's a ton of weight on a tiny frame, so she needs to learn how to best shift herself without hurting herself.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Countrymouse Jul 15, 2021
It is, isn't it - Bluwys, can you just confirm that she is (FOUR) 4'6"?
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Your instincts are right, follow them. We use 3 codes for the type of support our clients need:

1. Full support (tasks they can't do at all, e.g. putting on compression socks when they've just had a hip replacement);
2. Minimal physical support (e.g. getting one arm into a shirt just to start them off);
3. Verbal prompting (e.g. confirming that they're doing things in the right order, or encouraging them to try something that they can then do - which is what you're doing with your mother's sitting up - or reminding them about a step they've overlooked).

It sounds as though your mother requires mainly verbal prompting. Make yourself sound upbeat and encouraging while you're at it, and you'll find not only that you don't feel bad but that she feels positively good - she'll have achieved something. Does she have a bed stick or anything like that to help her sit herself up?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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