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My dad and step-mother live alone in their house like an hour away from me and my family. Well, my step-mother is like 15 years older than my dad so she is facing all sorts of problems before he is and he is left to take care of her. She keeps falling because she tries to stand up when no one is around her and she isn't stable enough! Today my dad called to tell me that at 3 am, his water turned off and he told her to stay put while he went outside to see what the problem was. He came inside and she was standing up wobbling around and she fell over before he could get to her. She fell so hard it busted a blood vessel and got blood all over and he had to rush her to the ER! She is fine, but she falls at least once a month. She has broken hips, arms and legs. It's getting a little over the top and I'm not sure what to do. My dad won't put her in a nursing home because he is embarrassed that she is so much older than him.She told him that she doesn't remember standing up, but I'm not sure if I believe that. Do you think she is deliberately trying to fall to kill herself or something? They are coming to my house for my birthday tomorrow night and I feel like having a talk with her about it. She needs to quit standing when she knows she is going to fall. I just want to yell at her! What should I do?

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As a 24/7/365 caregivier for my mother. All of the above is true. I know it is hard for us to comprehend that they are not doing this on purpose...but they are not. They can't think the way we think anymore. Therefore they do not remember they can't stand, or read, or cook, or remember who you or their grand children are. Don't know names, and just can't do most of the things they use too. Patience is at the utmost priority with our loved ones who have dimentia and or alzhiemer. My heart breaks at the thought of anyone yelling at someone who doesn't have a clue of what they may or may have not done. For me it is like raising a small child and yes we have to repeat and repeat as they ask the same questions over and over again because they don't even know they asked. So I beleive that your step mother has no idea that she is even standing let alone that she may hurt herself if she does. I am my mothers feet, hands, voice, and sometimes heart. Your father needs some respite, and encouragement of getting out of the denial stage. It may be time for a loving intervention from the family for help.
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I do not think you Dad would get in trouble but if social service gets involved they will assess the situation and maybe order him to hire help to look after her-there are devices nursing homes use on beds and wheelchairs that make a noise when the person tries to get up from the chair or bed you could probably find out where to get them but i really think she just is not able to remember her condition and your Dad has to understand it is unsafe for him to continue without help he must be awake night and day and has to be exhausated the stress could very well kill him.
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My Mom's acuity is declining rapidly and I have to constantly remind her not to stand. She isn't always aware that she is standing and gets up to go the the bathroom and I have to run in to assist her. It's probably unlikely that you Step-mom is doing it deliberately. She probably does believe in her mind she can do it and that she'll be okay. I think talking to her may be helpful but I know in our situation here, my Mother is very determined to be the woman she was and can't always follow what is safest for her. Her mind just tells her she can and she does and I'm right there. The only way to help a situation like mine is to be a full-time caregiver to the person or place them in an adult daycare for part of the day or a 24 hour care facility. My Mom lives with us full-time and I had to leave work to care for her. It is a struggle financially but we are keeping our promise to her to have her here for the rest of her life. It is tough at times but I know I will have no regrets when I someday look back. Good luck to you.
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First, there are exercises to help with this. Really, people can strengthen themselves at almost any age. Exercises also to help with balance. If she cannot remember that she cannot stand well, she won't remember to use the pager.

2nd, you could invest in a wheelchair...and make a ramp, he should take her with him where ever he goes...wherever...Walker, where is the walker?

3rd...where are YOU. Get over there and spend hours and hours and hours there. Help do those chores...so your father does not have to. If there is another set of eyes and most important HANDs to help her when she wants to get up. Spend hours and hours and hours there...so she's is not YOUR mother...your FATHER is caregiver and needs the help. Remember, you are now not just helping the old gal, you are helping directly your father.

Before leaving the room, put a wall of chairs lining the pathway to wherever...if she starts to fall, she has something to grab on to. Put in railings.

Check her meds. Look up the Beers Criteria to see what meds are causing dizziness or sleepiness. My mother had SIX at once that caused these Sx...what are the chances she'd feel out of it? At older ages, the meds should be cut way down because the liver and/or kidneys cannot clear them from the body at the same rate as a younger person. so doses should be downed probably...and some meds eliminated or replaced by "fast acting" ones instead of steady release ones.

Those are just some of the suggestions...but get over there and help. Don't just bring your good ideas. I am tired of good idea bringers and brochure delivery persons..."Here, Dad, you could try this...ok?" You get in there in person and help that gal with her exercises, grab all her meds and look them up so your dad doesn't have to. He must be EXHAUSTED. My mom went through this phase..strong enough to be a danger to herself..sure nuf...we had ten months of insanity and complications...from her not using her walker.

I made cute signs using photographs of grandkids. "We Love you Grandma, so be sure to use you WALKER!" Be creative.
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Thanks Austin - that's great advice. I'm sorry about your husband too. Dad is SO stubborn...he won't budge. He knows that the can get in trouble and that's the scary part. He just won't listen. Would they really report him for neglect? Having the conversation is going to be really awkward, she is sort of mean...I just don't understand why she can't just stay put in her chair and if she needs to get up for someone wait until the come back into the room to help her! Would some sort of pager system work you think? like maybe if my dad leaves the room she can just page him somehow? It sounds silly but is there anything that does this?
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I would try talking to her at least you will be able to assess what her thinking is she may be getting forgetful and not realize she can not stand alone and your Dad has to face the fact that there is a big problem and he needs to either get help or place her. My husband was always falling at times I was sure it was to get attention I had to call 911 about 50 times my son did not know why we were not reported to social services but we live in a small town and the police and firemen never seemed to be bothered by our call even if it happened twice in 24 hrs. Has she been seen by a neurologist that would be the first step to see what the problem is-if she forgets she can not stand alone or it is a balance problem your Dad needs to get over being embarassed about the difference in ages that is not so unusual these days. Tell him if he does not address the problem some social worker will be looking into it esp. if there are a lot of ER visits.
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