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My mom is almost 93, her back hurts so she does not walk very much or very far. The less she does it seems the less she is able to do.
Her arms and legs are just toothpicks. Short of an assessment, anyone have an idea on how long toothpick legs will continue to support her while she walks as far as she does, or does there come a point that they will just give out. She has a rollerator. Physical therapy will be a waste of time as she won't do exrecises and I refuse to make her do anything. She knows better, she knows the stakes. I am not going to raise my bp dealing with a stubborn old woman.
Which goes to the original question: will her legs eventually quit?
thanks.

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I STRONGLY suggest having social services do an evaluation and find a nursing home for her.

Speaking from experience, I would never recommend someone who is already burned out and frustrated take care of anybody they are burned out and frustrated from. You won't be able to provide kind, compassionate care under those circumstances. She is only going to decline more and need more and more and more from you. You can't do this alone.

Your money does not pay for her care.

It will help her to be in a place with trained staff who can evaluate her and recognize the difference between "a show", legitimate pain, and mental decline. It's really hard to do this when you're so close to the situation. Doctors go see their patients in nursing homes, not the other way around, so you won't have to do appointments & transportation. They also will have entertainment & activities in addition to meals, meds, and laundry.

She may very well behave much better for others than you. This is extremely normal. My mom was one of them.

I would be very afraid to try to move this lady if I was not a trained aid or nurse. There could be more going on with her physically than is obvious.
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I agree. I would not leave someone alone who cannot walk. Why would you need to pay for her care? I would explore what she can afford from her her income and if she can't afford the care, then she may be entitled to Medicaid.
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To me toothpick legs means the muscle tissue in her legs is wasting away.
This happens for lots of reasons and is not reversible.
If the muscle is not there, neither is control or stability and it's a dangerous situation.
No PT/OT or exercises in the world are going to bring back tissue that is gone.
At a point, it is not doing any strengthening or increasing mobility either.

You should be coordinating with her doctor and care team about this and other changes that are probably happening.
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twocents, my mother has big legs, but she doesn't walk much, either. She has spinal stenosis, so has pain when she walks. Plus she has vascular dementia and a slow shuffle. It takes her a long time to get from one place to another. She goes to the bathroom a lot, but that is pretty much the extent of it. I encourage her to walk more. I do this for one big reason -- if she can't walk, she won't be able to toilet and bathe herself. If she is not able to do the simple ADLs, then she'll have to go to a nursing facility to get the help she needs. So as long as she can stay mobile, she can stay in her home.

Many caregivers are willing to stay within sight of their parent all day every day, and are willing to bathe them and change their undergarments. I have a lot of respect for those caregivers, but know that I am not one of them. It is important to her and me that she stay mobile as long as possible.
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I am still working, albeit part time from 1 pm to about 6:30 or so. She is alone while I am gone. I do have a cam (I have to set it up again) that I can keep some eyes on her. She is strong enough for a rollerator, but she does put on a show at times.
I think I am going to call a local senior help place and have her assessed. But I am not going to try and get her to walk, she just goes on about her back, and just is resistant. She is always getting up to go to the bathroom, so it may balance out.
Of course, I'll end up being the one pays for it. But then, she has ALWAYS done this. She'll pull crap and others end up paying. If she needs someone around 24/7 I'll probably just quit work. I am burnt out there anyway. I can always go downstairs to 'get away'.
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You are so right when you said the less she does the less she is able to do. That is the absolute truth.

At this point all you can do is make sure she doesn't walk on her own. She is at great risk for a fall and without assistance in walking I think a fall is even inevitable. Either a wheelchair or someone physically helping her is necessary. Unfortunately she sounds too weak for a walker.

If someone is helping your mom to walk she could still fall. Her legs could just give out. In that case the person helping her can do a controlled fall where the person helping her to walk just gently lowers your mom to the ground if she is starting to fall which will hopefully avoid injury to your mom. I did this with my dad twice and he wasn't hurt either time (getting him off the floor was another matter altogether).

But to answer your original question: yes, I think she will become too weak to walk over time. Her legs won't be strong enough to hold her up.
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I've heard a lot of thoughts about how you need to keep walking as long as possible, use it or lose philosophy, etc., however, I think it needs to be closely monitored.

If someone is very frail and weak, their fall risk is so great. If they fall and fracture a hip, it's so serious. That would likely make them bed bound and susceptible to pneumonia.

When she is walking, I would stay right with her to help avoid a fall at all cost. PLUS, seniors can fracture a bone EVEN without falling. Sometimes the bone just breaks on it's own. So, I'd be quite cautious.

Are you encouraging her to walk? My cousin repeatedly feel and after multiple falls and fractures, went to a wheelchair. She gets around in it by herself, but the falls have stopped. She lost her ability to walk due to dementia, but her legs are weak too.

If she is insisting on walking, that will be difficult to control. If her legs are just too unsteady, I would encourage a wheelchair, if she wants to get around the house on her own.
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