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I am caring for my 83 year old mother who is pretty overweight, has type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Usually I am able to provide for all her needs in home. However, lately she started to have more and more difficulty getting out of bed. She can't get up without a lot of help due to weak muscles and pain in arms and legs (due to age). The situation deteriorates rapidly to a point where I don't know how to get her out of bed and on a toilet. Not without injuring my back. I am at a loss what to do. Do I look for some kind of facility where she can live safely? As her official in-home service provider I feel unable to physically assist her because of her weight. Do I look into hiring another person? Are there devices that might help her get out of bed? She usually uses a rollator (walker) for walking,


If I can't get her out of the bed or put a pampers on her, her safety and living conditions will suffer. I need advice. Thank you.

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There are devices for lifting and transferring people, as well as lots of mobility aids that would help your mother to pull herself up. I would recommend you get an occupational therapist to come and do an assessment; but meanwhile google "mobility equipment" and "moving and handling equipment" and have a look at the vast array of products on the market.

You may well also need to hire a second caregiver, depending on what the OT recommends.

I wouldn't delay. If you damage your back not only will you be out of action but what will happen to your mother? You're quite right not to take any chances with this.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You most likely need nursing home placement. Once you injure yourself, you won't even be able to care for yourself much less your mom. If you hire someone, be prepared to pay tons of money, and someone that big will probably need two people at least. A sitter is about $20 an hour--they do no hands-on care. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is about $40 an hour. You will probably need two of them. and if you do not get help from a licensed agency--who is insured-- they can claim to get injured in your home and sue your estate. Your best bet if I were in your situation is get her in the hospital -- she needs to be in there like 4 days and then rehab nursing home. If she is on Medicaid already then put her in that. If she isn't you will need to get her mediciad ready.
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Reply to cetude
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To keep it short,
Your mom needs an evaluation with a physical therapist who can then determine what assistive devices might work as well as exercises to improve her mobility and perhaps decrease her weight. That physical therapist can also educate you on techniques to assist your mom that make it safest for your mother AND YOU. Things that could help might be a bed rail, a hospital bed, or a trapeze on that hospital bed. There are programs out there that she might qualify for that could bring a nutritionist to her to discuss ways to improve diet. Eventually some patients need a HOYA lift to get out of bed which requires two people. At that point, your mom will needs to be in a facility. You do not want to injure yourself. So, start looking at nursing homes in the area and programs to help pay for that.
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Reply to lynina2
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My husband has the Hoyer lift the others are writing about. We have the bariatric hydraulic one that supports up to 350 pounds and since hubby weighs over 300 pounds, in hindsight I’d wish we’d gotten the electric one. It’s useful for transferring from bed to chair and back, but not for diaper changes or moving him back and forth in bed. I rely on my back and shoulders to do that and pray they don’t give out. I completely agree with Countrymouse about getting help. At least they could offer help for one or two changes a day and maybe a bed bath. I worry constantly about my back giving out and what would happen to hubby if it did.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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cetude Nov 1, 2018
A Hoyer Lift can also be very dangerous especially if they are morbidly obese if you use it by yourself. If they fall out of that just once it would be catastrophic. The manufacturer says use only with TWO PEOPLE, so if they fall out of it it would be your fault. And yes if you injure yourself you may not be able to even take care of yourself. In my opinion someone that big and bed bound should be in a nursing home where they have a lot of help.
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I second consulting with an occupational therapist. And since she is still able to walk with a rollator once she is up she might benefit from having some physical therapy as well.
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Reply to cwillie
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I just want to sympathize with you. You have received excellent advice here. My mother is also overweight. She is 88 and in AL. Her weight pains me to the point that I find myself depressed each time I see her. I have tried for decades to help her with this to no avail. She knows she is overweight yet doesn't seriously try to lose it. I wonder if her memory loss makes her forget what she has eaten. I find snacks in her refrigerator. They aren't very bad ones yet she doesn't need them as the facility provides regular meals. I have felt embarrassed with this issue for years. I dread her future with this problem. She has many health issues and this certainly doesn't help. I find myself at times wishing for a quick end because I feel she could be hard to deal with physically with this issue should she progress to needing to be placed in a NH.
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Reply to Riverdale
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Whyarewe Dec 2, 2018
Who provides these snacks? Why does the facility allow her a refrigerator?
Get a copy of Eat Right 4 Your Type and see how she can be helped to lose weight. The trouble is, with "facilities" the less money they cost the cheaper and less nourishing the food. I live in a rural area with few "facilities." I was amazed they had no "diabetic diet" which was a standard years ago when i was in nursing. Everybody got the same food. And it was the cheapest they could buy, according to one person familiar with the corporation that owned the place.
I wish you luck, but know you will have to tackle this one on your own. Depending on how much of a fighter you are, will decide how it turns out. Corporations are all about the money. I will never have enough to live in place where my pocket is deep enough.....
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My Husband was 6'4 and at one point 285.
Once he started needing more help getting up I started using a Sit-to-Stand and that helped a lot as he declined and could no longer safely hold himself on the Sit-to-Stand I got a Hoyer Lift. If you can not get these types of equipment to use at home it would be safer for you as well as your Mom to place her where they can either do 2 person transfers or use equipment. (Some facilities have regulations that they will not use 2 people to transfer but will use equipment only, ask about this if you begin looking for a facility)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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There is a Hoyer lift that people can use at home but it should really be used by 2 people although I've known people who operate it by themselves for their loved one. However it won't help with turning your mom side to side in bed so you can apply a Depends. It's a sling and you would fold the sling up and place it under your mom, hand crank her up and into a wheelchair. But you can't remove the sling once she's in the chair so she would't be able to be lowered onto the commode. She would have to have to have her Depends changed frequently throughout the day which would mean going back to the bed, lowering her onto the bed with the Hoyer, removing the sling from beneath her so that you can change her pants, then getting the sling back under her so she can be lifted back up again.

I don't think it would make life any easier and it might just complicate both of your lives. But I wanted you to be aware of the Hoyer. In hospitals and skilled nursing facilities the Hoyers are mechanized but in-home Hoyers are hand-cranked.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Countrymouse Oct 30, 2018
Our in-home Hoyer was electric - endless fun pressing "going up! oops, no, going down then..." - but it was only lent to us, we hadn't bought or hired it ourselves.
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Check with your local hospital. Mine offers classes on how to assist someone out of bed and on and off toilet. They will also teach you how to use a gait belt. It will allow you to help her get up from bed. She may have to sleep with it on. We also purchased a medical bed. Medicare will help pay for it.
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Reply to Geolimarx5091
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As others mentioned- add a bedrail- if your mom has some muscle strength, and is mentally aware, she can pull herself up to a sitting position, (or turn over easier while in bedclothes.) And then she uses your help, or a walker, etc to get to the toilet. Getting an adult 'potty' chair helps too, and keep it near bedside. they are strong, wide, easy to empty/clean the tray.

From my experience, as the 'patient' who lives alone, I needed to protect my ability to get out of bed by myself after a head-on car collision, now with a disability on right side, so I was issued a bed rail by my VA PT/OT. I am overweight also, but had the MOST trouble just turning over in bed after multiple surgeries, It wasn't just my weight,but weakness. I could not turn on, or sleep on my right side for 5 years until I healed. So the bed rail is a life saver, I can grab it and get to a sitting position, then hold the rail as I stand to get balance.

I am still using it 9 years later! as I also had a stroke on the right too . There are many 'tools', but the simplest can be best. My OT also ordered a "cloth ladder", made of strong fabric strips just like a ladder, it ties to the bottom frame of the bed, and you can pull up by reaching for the next ladder rail. Even a long strip of bedsheets can be tied to the frame and you can pull up.

I tried hiring 'Visiting Angels'- $27 an hour and they won't lift anyone, or expect employees to manage that due to possible injury to them.
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Reply to PrivateCitizen
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