Grandma keeps paging me to help her in the bathroom despite the fact that she's capable of doing things herself. She says she needs help putting on her pullups, putting her pants on, standing up, etc. There have been several times I've caught her lying. I've watched her through the opening in the door because she neglects to close it all the way. What she sometimes does is she'll call me in to help her pull up her underwear/diaper and pants. But when I go in she'll still be in the process of wiping her front (while standing). She'll say she can't pull up her pants and I'll say that she needs to try on her own before calling me. She gets frustrated and says she did try. I tell her she couldn't have because she can't pull up her pants before she's wiped. This always shuts her up, which suggests that she was fibbing. If she wasn't fibbing, she would typically continue to argue.

If I get upset and fuss at her or just rant so she can hear me, she stops being helpless and can do things on her own, at least for a while. For what it's worth, when Grandpa was alive, he used to fuss at Grandma a lot. I don't know if it was on a daily basis, but I know he got irked at her a lot. I used to think he was a mean old man, until Grandma moved in with me and I then understood why he got mad and fussed at her. She's incredibly annoying. Add in dementia and she could drive God to insanity.

What I can't figure out is why she always thinks she needs help. She told another family member that she likes being helped. In some cases she's said she's afraid she will fall, even though there's little fall risk in what she might be doing. Sometimes I think she just doesn't want to be bothered to even try. I'm not sure if dementia is playing a part in any of this. What I do know is that the phrase, "help me, help me" means nothing to me anymore. I've heard her say it so much when she didn't even need help. She's like the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Perhaps there's an aspect that I'm not seeing.

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Hard to tell what's going on from here. Have her cognitive abilities been evaluated since she started calling for help in the bathroom?

One possibility that comes to mind is a problem with sequential planning and functioning (as in, 1. Wipe. 2. Pull up undies. 3. Pull up outies. 4. Flush. 5. Wash hands.). Perhaps she can no longer remember the steps in the right order?

My husband had a "mild" stroke several years ago. Although he's much improved from the early days, he still has some (slight) difficulty in planning actions that require sequential steps.

Does Grandma seem to have other difficulties with planning and acting, such as ... maybe ... remembering how her favorite recipes work? Planning her wardrobe? Etc. ...

It does seem an evaluation is in order. Please tell us more!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Confounded

It's called seeking attention. My grandma does this thing where she pretends she can't stand up from her chair. She'll keep saying she can't stand. Get up halfway and then fall back down. Hit her knees for effect. She'll only do this if someone is in the room. If I walk out, a couple of minutes later she's walking down the hallway. If she doesn't think anyone can see her, she just gets up on the first try without a word.

For someone without power, this gives them power.
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Reply to needtowashhair

Your profile says Grandma has mobility problems. Its possible she’s afraid of falling and just wants some eyes on her to reassure her she’ll be ok. You think there’s little chance of falling, but she doesn’t. There’s sitting, standing, pulling, getting TP, and turning involved, it may be the most complicated thing she does. Maybe she’s losing the dexterity in her hands to accomplish all the steps involved. Maybe it’s painful. I’m not sure what “fuss at her” means, but if she doesn’t ask for help after you do it, she maybe just trying very hard to please you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to rocketjcat

She has Dementia for one thing. She eventually will need help.

Maybe a commode over her toilet. You take the back bar off and position it over the toilet bowl. They come with a splashguard. You can raise the legs up or down. This way when she stands she has arms she can hold on to if needed for balance.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I have the same problem with my mum. Wish I had the answer.
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Reply to Ktjwlrw

I'd stop fussing at her and focus on trying to help as much as possible, while you attempt to figure out what's going on. Plus, if she has mobility problems all precautions should be taken to ensure that she doesn't fall. Falls cause fractures and it can be very difficult for seniors to recover from them. So, I'd believe that she's struggling and asking for help. It could be poor balance or executive thinking that she's struggling with. (Discuss it with her doctor, too.) Some people physically are able to sit on toilet, clean themselves, flush, wash hands, etc., but, the mental process it takes to do it, sometimes gets hazy and they struggle and need direction. Also, sometimes she may be able, but, other times, she's not. Abilities vary that way in seniors.

I used to wonder why my LO claimed to need help with simple tasks. She had the physical ability. Some called her lazy, but, it turned out that she had dementia. In the early days she was struggling with things. but, we didn't understand why. I wish that I had realized it then.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

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