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My mom used to walk a lot. Just within the last yr. Now I can't get her to walk down the hall in her assisted living residence. says her legs hurt too much. she sits, or lays around most of the time. I try to take her out shopping, where she has to walk. missed a bus trip the other day because she couldn't make it up the steps of the bus (3 of the).. and refused to be lifted in a wheel chair. how do I get her moving again? or is a wheel chair gonna be the answer?

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tikimonkey24, check for answers to your question here where you had posted. https://www.agingcare.com/questions/help-my-elderly-mom-239400.htm
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my mom is 78 years old. she got sepsis, kidney failure, lung failure, heart failure in nov. 2016. she went from all that to now her condition is stable. however she is starting to say weird things. she has a lot of pain throughout her body. she doesn't want to move because she is always in pain. the doctors have given her nerve pain and seroquil for her mental status. she lost a lot of muscle mass in her legs but her upper body seems to be strong. how can i help my mom move again? can she move again from being in the bed for 3 months? before she went into the hospital she was able to walk. help please.
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I don't understand how two doctors would examine a woman who thinks her deceased husband is still alive and find no problem. Something sounds odd.
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pdhamann: I am SO, SO sorry to hear that your father thought there was no way out of his mental illness except to die by his own hand! There is help! Here's what I believe is going on with your mother since now you've shared a little more about your mother with me (and thank you for that!). I believe she is suffering from "Othello Syndrome," e.g,. "Delusional Jealousy." In this form of mental illness, the individual, in this case, your mother, thinks that she hears your father (even though he's long since been deceased) with another woman. She really needs to be seen by a psychiatrist, who is able to dispense medications. A psychologist is not allowed to script meds. In your mother's case, she is, no doubt, unable to distinguish the voices in her head from reality. You say "I guess it will be what it is as long as she's not hurt or sick." The thing is that she is sick. If indeed she has "Delusional Jealousy," she is going through H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS.
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Llamalover.. think you might just be right. my father committed suicide 29 yrs ago. now she wonders where hes gone. off with some girl she thinks. she gives him credit for at least 10 different affairs. and none of that is true. I think she's lonely. and doesn't understand just what is going on. she has moments when it seems clear. but not often. I took her to a psychologist and to my neurologist. they couldn't find anything. she wont go to any other drs.. tired of the no help attitude she gets I guess. so.. I guess it will be what it is. as long as she's not hurt or sick, and has happy times with us, I should be glad. some at her residence are so much worse off.
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pdhamann: IMHO, I think that #1 your mother is suffering from clinical depression. In some cases, classified in the broad spectrum of mental illness, individuals with clinical depression shut the disease out by sleeping. Makes sense, right? I have first-hand knowledge because I live with someone with INHERITED clinical depression, my husband. His clinical depression is managed by the lifetime cocktail, established just for him, of meds. At his worst, he worked and slept, that's it!
Or the lesser of the two #2 "the body in motion stays in motion."
I don't think the later is her issue, though. I would get her to a geriatric psychiatrist, who can dose meds. Not a psychologist...they won't help her except to just listen to her story and send her away with nothing accomplished. Depression is quite common in elders. Think about it for a minute. Many of them in their past used to hold down full-time jobs, were engaged in hobbies that they can no longer do whether it be due to vision loss or forgetfulness. My own late mother, who deceased at 94 and was classified as legally blind...just about 2 years before that when I would visit would say to me "there must be something I can (still) do." So okay, I gave her the job of putting return address labels on her Christmas cards and it didn't go well. Then 6 months prior to her death, I had to leave my home from 400 miles away and move into her home where she chose to live alone. She would be in her kitchen making her annual 20 batches of Christmas fudge-she had done this since she was 15. I would find her in tears. She was having trouble cutting it into squares because of her low vision! I said "now don't you worry nor cry any longer because who, at 94 years of age, can even make the fudge? I will cut, wrap, plate and place the bows on top just the way you like it."
To others on this forum, fair warning, please don't bite my head off because I suggested MI. Thank you all! We are all a wonderful group, who come together with suggestions, possibilities, ideas, brainstorming sessions and I love you all.
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thanks again for all your comments and suggestions.. mom has had several pt treatments, 2 within the past 4 months. as for worring about bathroom access.. she doesn't seem to mind. she wears her depends now.. got that issue fixed or handled I guess. she just doesn't seem to have the desire to do much anymore., I take her out several times a week, just to keep her moving. and she usually finds someplace to sit while I look.. even at her favorite, Salvation Army ! she'll buy her Christmas coffee mug ( anyone need a mug?) and then usually she's done. says she probably shouldn't go out any more. maybe it's just me. don't want her to give up so easy :(
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pdhamann: I see by your profile page that your mother is incontinent. Have you considered the fact that she might not want to go very far away from her bathroom for urgent episodes? I know for myself I had a recent bout of Cellulitis and the med I was on (Cephalexin) kept me close to my bathroom.
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There are some Velcro straps that can wrap around torso to be able to assist pulling her from sitting position to standing if the issue is the initial momentum to get to standing position. I agree with other suggestions to rule out depression, and/or medical reasons for her not walking. Are her legs swollen? Reddened? Warm to touch? Is she on any blood thinners? I also agree you cannot force someone to do something they don't want to do. If she insists on just sitting probably a reclining chair be best so her legs are elevated. Non ambulating can cause deep vein thrombosis. There are DVT leg compression devises that massage the legs to prevent DVT's from occurring. I'm a nurse and have used them a lot on my patients. I have no idea if insurance covers them. I also empathize with the 5 minute evaluation from your doctor. No one knows exactly what's going on in 5 minutes. You evaluate 24/7. Hang in there.
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pdh, you're doing well, keep pursuing answers! I support all the advice about a new doctor/geriatrician. This doctor doesn't suit her anymore. And I'd insist that she be referred to physical therapy. I hope she goes along with at least some of this. When we're behind the 8 ball it's hard to get motivated again. Good luck.
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pdhamann, have you considered changing doctors? A geriatrician might be a good choice for PCP, and if at all possible a consultation with a geriatric psychiatrist might be very valuable. Your mother may have many years ahead of her. Improving their quality seems a worthwhile goal. I know that is what you are trying to do. Having the support of a doctor who understands the situation better is worth the hassle of making a change, in my opinion.
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Ask the AL how you can get her evaluated with a physical therapist.
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Maybe, she's just tired. It's difficult to say what is causing her reduction in activity or loss of interest in walking. I suppose you could get a second opinion. There are so many things to be considered. Of course, you could still arrive at the same place you are now, without an explanation.
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It sounds like he's not really taking the time to properly evaluate her for cognitive decline, vitamin deficiency, stroke, etc. I might find another doctor who is more interested in the patient.
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all of the answers are helpful, and I've done those... she uses the walker with the seat and wheels, but it just the getting up and down that seems to bother her more than the walking. dr. says nothing to stop her from walking. she wants to sleep all the time, and wonders if she sleeps too ;much.. I tell her she does sleep a lot because she wont get involved in things, stays in her room, or sits in the lobby looking at people,.. she is 83 , has had 2 heart attacks, weighs too much (250).. and doesn't eat well,.. again the dr says nothing is really wrong. alzheimers, dementia, but he doesn't think its bad. but I disagree. his 5 min conversation with her doesn't even touch it. I go in to her appointments with her. and he asks me if i'm upset! of course I am. I cant get an answer to any of her issues..mostly because she covers them so well.. even though I tell him how she really is.
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My 86 yo mother never fully recovered from a hip replacement. She is out of pain, mostly, but the surgery took her from walking (very wobbly!) with a cane to needing a walker, full time. She did do PT for a while and was actually standing straight with good posture, something we had not seen in years. The PT and I chatted as he went to his car after his last visit. I asked him "Will she be able to maintain this posture? This is amazing!" He said "Yes, should could, but she won't. I've worked with her before and she'll start slumping immediately". He was right, she is now bent into a "C" shape and all because she refused to do ANY range of motion exercises at all once PT ended. She cannot walk up even 2 stairs now, cannot walk more than maybe 500 steps in a day. Mostly she sits all day. I can't get her in my car anymore. She falls a lot, and the brother she lives with says a fractured hip is "certain". The truth is, you CAN'T get someone who doesn't WANT to walk anymore, to do so. They'll have excuses and it's just flat out exhausting--and you give up. She wants to be in a wheelchair, but she doesn't have the set up at home for one. A wheelchair means she goes into an ALF.
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I have the same issue with my 90 year old father..I am just wondering if just as the Alzheimer's has caused to him to forget how to speak, it is causing him to forget how to walk? Have an apt next week with geriatrician and will discuss..
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My 88yo mother in assisted living doesn't walk around as much as she once did. There is nothing preventing her from walking but balance can be a problem for everyone as they age. Wanting to avoid falls, she has been using a rolling walker with a seat whenever she walks, even short distances, like to the bathroom in her room. She raves about it saying it gives her so much support and confidence, and she can sit down whenever she feels like it. She has even pushed the great grandkids around in it for fun.
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I would have her evaluated for depression. Depression can cause a lot of physical symptoms like pain. I can only make you feel lethargic.

Also, has she seen an ortho doctor? They should be able to see what is going on with her legs and/or back. Sometimes a back issue can effect the legs.

Also, examine her medication. Cholesterol lowering meds can cause muscle pain.

How old is she? I don't think it's unusual for people who are in their 80's and 90's to cut back on a lot of physical activity.

Depending on her reason for not being able to walk, a wheelchair would make it possible to get her out and about. Physical therapy may help, but I would prefer the chair over her falling and getting a fracture. My cousin fell down and got so many fractures that a wheelchair was a welcome relief. For the first time in months, she was fracture free. She has dementia and physical therapy was not very helpful, but for someone who doesn't have dementia, that might help.
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A wheel chair should be the LAST option. My MIL 'decided' not to walk anymore. Despite being able to use the walker (albeit for shorter stretches) she opted to walk herself around in a wheelchair. I guess she figured she was near the end of her life, currently late 90s.Well, she is still very much alive . Now the issue is transferring from chair to bed and toilet! Watching this is like watching a broken hip ready to happen. Her legs are so weak, they can't hold her, this is all from not bearing weight on them. Next stop will be a nursing home rather than the assisted living where she currently resides. Then she will be dependent upon others to do EVERYTHING.
Ask the doctor to order physical therapy. They will help strengthen her legs Be there when they come and continue the steps when you visit. I did this with my Mom, even after she had broken a hip. She stopped walking about 2 months before she passed, but she had no trouble transferring. BTW, she was 98 when she died.
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Has she fallen? She may have had a fall and is now scared. Or she may have seen someone fall and is scared.
Is her balance alright?
Is she having problems with her ears or her hearing? Either can cause balance or vertigo problems.
Do her feet bother her or her shoes?

Have you tried a walker for her if she does not yet use one? That can provide a bit of security and if you get one with a seat a place to sit if she gets tired easily.
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You don't say how old your mom is or whether she had any recent hospitalizations, etc. that would cause such a change. My dad at 89, after 2 surgeries and hospitalizations would no longer walk very far and we used a transport chair. He began further withdrawing from his world, no longer interested in the things he enjoyed and sadly passed away 3 months later. I would definitely consult her physician about such a big change in her interest in walking to rule out physical causes. Once my dad went to the transport chair, I had to have sitters to be with him from 7am to 7pm so he could go to meals and activities at his assisted living place.
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If it's not a physical problem, it might be depression. If you haven't already had her to the doctor, she needs to go. jeannegibbs has some great suggestions. Please keep us posted.
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I assume she has been examined and no medical cause has been found -- ?? If she is experiencing leg pain, then the first and primary thing to do is to address the pain, if at all possible.

And if she is now weak from lack of muscle use, physical therapy might be the best approach.

While working on the pain and therapy issue, I encourage wheel chair use, at least for some things. Now she is sitting most of the day, missing outings, missing stimulation opportunities, and generally (I'll bet) stagnating. I don't see that sitting in a wheelchair would be worse then sitting in a chair, and maybe she could regain some of her former activities.

If at all possible it would be good for her to regain the strength to go up three bus steps (with help) and definitely to retain enough strength to transfer from one surface to another. But use of a wheelchair could be a very helpful supplement.
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