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Her bedroom, bathroom and living room are all on one level. She eats little, a slimfast in the morning and a small dinner late afternoon. She won't stay her time there, she wants to be in front of the tv in the family room two small steps down. She uses her walker to get there, crawls the rest of the way, still uses a commode 2 weeks after surgery. How can we get her to be a little more independent and stay safe?

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It sounds to me like you need a social worker or other expert to come to the house and evaluate her situation. Are you sure there's no dementia? Using the commode no matter who's there is odd behavior, to say the least.

I get it that if she uses the commode "someone" has to empty it, but if she uses the toilet or riser or commode over the toilet, it's just a matter of a flush. Avoid contact with bodily fluids as long as possible!

Good luck!
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My mom is almost 73. She is retired, stays home with her cat and is very comfortable sitting in a chair most of the day. She will get up and go if she wants to bad enough. She still likes to walk the mall when her foot has let her previous to surgery.
The commode is a frame with a bucket in it. Mom has even gotten herself to the bathroom once and decided it's just as easy to get on and off of her own toilet, as it sits high enough. She just likes to be able to stand up from her recliner, turn and sit on the commode as the need hits. (Whether there's company there or not.) She has no dementia or alzheimers yet, and has full control of her mind. She is getting a little obsessive as she gets older but that's normal. Part of her issue is she likes having company, leaning on someone. She is definitely stubborn. She's retired, and will not do anything she doesn't want to do. Once she learns how easy it is she does it just fine and is proud of herself. Getting her to do it is the issue.
I guess I just need some guidance on care-giving when I know she can do it for herself, she just won't. I'm getting frustrated and maybe I shouldn't be. I love her to death but she's always been this way. She's always had other people clean her house, or do anything for her she'd prefer not to do herself.
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Shylie .. you don't say how old your mom is, or if there are additional factors, like dementia, stubborn personality, addictions, etc., that might contribute to the difficulties. Is someone coming in to provide her therapy? Does she do additional mobility exercises at home? Do you know if she's actually doing them? Are financial concerns a factor? Is insurance coverage a problem?

At a guess, I'd expect a lot of 'fear of possibilities'. There are a number of generic things you might consider ..

= There are day care centers where our elders can go; transportation is usually included to and from ... The good ones incorporate physical, occupational and cognitive therapy into their activities. #1 - it gets her out of the house .. #2 - it gives social interaction .. #3 - it promotes more independence

= If she already has PT and/or OT therapists coming into the home, consult with them and see if they have some proactive measures they can recommend; if you don't currently have that service, see if her primary care physician will authorize it.

= Instead of going over to the house .. could you call her, go on speaker phone and coach her through some of the things she might be able to do on her own, but with some guidance?

About the commode. I'm unclear what you mean or why it's an issue. Is she actually sitting on it, for hours on end? And forgive the bluntness .. with her butt hanging through the hole? If so .. remind her that it's a perfect way to get hemorrhoids and zomigod you don't want that, right? Or does she put down the lid and turn it into her favorite reading chair? If so .. what's the real problem? It could be a comfort to her, and, I'll add .. a commode is usually perfectly adjusted to her height, so that it's very easy to sit down on and rise from it. It's MUCH less stress on the knees, and even though she's had surgery, she may never have the flexibility to make easy transitions to seating, as she has before. In which case .. maybe it's as simple as getting her the right chair in the living room, or providing stability/grab bars near it (the vertical kind that she can grab and use to help her transition to and from the chair). Personally, I see nothing wrong with getting a permanent commode or a riser (which are much cheaper), if it's helpful.

I'm sure others will have more to add .. I've taken up enough space, lol.

Love, Laugh, Learn
LadeeC
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Honestly, I think she shoulda gone to rehab.
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Ok. Here we are over 4 weeks post foot surgery, and she's stuck to that commode like it's the best thing ever. I have had dreams about this thing, and I truly do fear she's going to want to buy one when we have to give this one back. She uses a walker, a knee-scooter, a wheelchair, whatever she wants at the moment. She's doing really really well physically. We're still to the point though that she wants someone there three times a day, and it takes 30 minutes every time to do little jobs for her that she won't do. How on earth do I get her to just stay in the living room where the bathroom is only ten feet away during the day? I can't even run my own household working full time and spending so much time there doing for her what she can do. Help!
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I answered my own question on motivation, luckily lol...mostly her family has been hinting around that she should try and move around more, do what she can do within her limits. She finally realized how much she truly can do for herself. She'll still need help a couple times a day but it's not half as much as she has been. Thank you for your comments and help! She's also using her crutches just fine.
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Thanks for your comments and ideas, it's helping! Veronica, that commode does go over the toilet so it can be used there. That's an awesome reminder, maybe we could try that in the morning at least so she learns how to get in and out of there. It's not far from the bedroom. She is agile, don't let her age fool you and she tends to play it up a bit for visitors or if she truly isn't motivated. She can be in lots of pain but if she really wants to get up and go, she does it. So I know she can be more mobile if she chooses to. I obviously don't want her hurt, but she likes to be sitting in her chair for the day and that's not helping her. She is about 25-30 lb overweight but has lost 35 the last year and feels better. Any ideas on motivation?
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Can you put some boards down the two steps so she can walk down the slope with her walker?. She sounds pretty agile if she can get down and crawl then get up again. I too think crutches are a bad idea because of the balance problem and risk of falling. she is much safer alone with a walker.
I think you need a physical therapy consult to get some exercises. as far as the shower is concerned it is early days yet, I would just continue giving her a strip wash. She can probably manage most of that herself. Also the commode in my view is not too much of an issue as it is difficult to get down and up from a toilet when you can't put weight on one foot. Do you have a raised toilet seat, or one of those frames that you screw onto the back of the seat? that gives you support on both sides to push yourself up. As an alternative you can take the bucket out of the commode and put that right over the toilet. I would say she is managing very well at this stage on her own and has worked out how to keep herself safe. could you move the TV into the living room along with her favorite chair? As far as her diet is concerned, I assume she is not overwieght so could you put snacks beside her chair, things you know she likes, like those little cheese balls, fruit and nuts or dried fruit and a drink. don't worry give her a hug from me.
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I like the idea of two walkers, maybe we could get a hold of another for the next few weeks. I just hate to see her crawling like she does. The hip on the good side already has arthritis so I can definitely see the issue with hopping and such on crutches, but we need a better solution to what we're doing now. What about getting her into the bathroom? Her shower already has a seat and a handicapped-ready handle, it's a small bathroom so it's hard to maneuver in. I'm also trying to think of some goals for her to try and get stronger so she can hold herself up better.
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How about this: instead of trying to get her to coordinate and use the crutches (NancyH is SO right .. it takes a lot of balance and strength to navigate with them), get another walker and put it at the lower level, where it can stay.
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Honestly I don't know how in the world you can get an old person to use crutches. I would be more inclined that she might use a wheelchair for the next 4 weeks instead. Crutches are hard to use when you're younger, let alone an old lady.
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