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My mother tells anyone who will listen that she "doesn't believe in exercise". Which means she must believe that it's okay to be wheelchair bound, as she is, but no, she complains bitterly about it. Like the old saw says "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". In my mother's case, I think she hates exercise and physical therapy so much because #1, It hurts, and #2, she isn't capable of doing a perfect job of the exercises, so she wants to stop trying. We've been having the same argument now for 4 years, going back and forth with signing her up for PT and then she quits. She then goes downhill and wants PT again, so we sign her back up. Then it hurts, and she's miserable, and quits......you get the idea. So after the last crisis in the hospital and rehab, she's in a wheelchair full time. Still getting PT and still carrying on, of course.....but that's her personality. Never satisfied with ANYTHING!
Good luck and much strength for the battle ahead. May the force be with you
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BethinPA Aug 16, 2019
Thank you so much! Shortly after I posted, Mom fell against her dresser on the way back from the bathroom and fractured 3 ribs. while in hospital, also found compression fracture in L1, L2 vertebrae. Neuro did a procedure, "cementing" between bones to aid with pain relief. She left hospital and is now in rehab. Been there 5 days now. So far has been compliant w/pyhs. therapy team. So for now it is day to day to see if she can improve and regain mobility. Prior to all this she was able to navigate around her house with a Rollator. I hope she has will and incentive.
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You mentioned in your profile that your mother suffers from depression. That's a biggie. Depression robs you off any will and motivation to do anything. I think she needs to see her doctor about it and see if some medication can help. I know it works for my mom.

Also, most people need a reason to exercise. I know you think your mom should exercise to get stronger, but for her, maybe she thinks: "stronger? for what?"

I know of an older lady who took care of her bedridden husband for several years. After he died, she lost all her motivations to do anything. Her reason to get up and do things each day was gone. Now, she just sits and expects to be waited on by her daughter. That daughter is my friend. And boy, is she frustrated with her mom's helplessness.
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If you could provide more details about her, it would be helpful. Basically, there might be a medical reason for her refusal- depression, anxiety, burgeoning dementia, pain, etc. But, if she’s mentally capable, it’s her decision. You can take her to senior exercise classes and see if she makes friends and gets motivated. You can refuse to act as her legs around the house, forcing her to move herself. But, once the process of losing muscle has started, unfortunately I’ve found it’s very difficult for seniors to regain their strength.

Looking into options for helping your mom once she can’t get around easily can reduce your stress.
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Beth, depending on your Mom's age and her physical health, chances are slim that she would be able to do any weight type training to build up her strength. There comes a time when elders just cannot do that anymore.

If your Mom had any type of major surgeries in the past, that in itself can zap energy. It did for me, I never did regain the strength I had 10 years prior, and here I was a gym rat for decades. So it isn't really refusal, we know that our own bodies just can't do it anymore :(

Only thing one can try is walking, but if Mom is using a walker, that wouldn't work unless Mom had one of those rolling walkers that have 4 wheels and hand brakes. Makes it easier to get around.

My Dad [90+] had one of those rolling walkers, and his caregiver would try to get him outside to walk for a tiny bit. And here a couple years prior, he and my Mom use to walk 2 miles a day, come rain or shine.
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