My mom has Parkinson's and is in an AL facility 45 minutes away. I try to go to visit twice a week and, because I can't go more often, I try to spend the whole day. While I am there I to tend to her housekeeping needs, help with her eating and take care of her diaper changes. She has dementia and although she knows who I am she often refers to me in the third person. The problem is that when I am trying to assist her with tooth brushing or trying to help her move from place to place - and especially when I am trying to change her - she becomes dead weight. She is not heavy, only 140 pounds, but I don't weigh much more than that and so am unable to lift her. The workers in AL tell me that she is able to walk & stand on her own, but I've never seen evidence of that until today. One of the workers changed her earlier today while I was there and Mom was able to assist by standing supported by her walker. Later this afternoon I attempted to change her wet diaper and she could not do much as lift her hips for me. By the time I gave up she had slid almost into the floor & was lying there helplessly. I went for help and while I was gone she lifted herself back upright and was sitting straight. When the worker began to change her she stood right up making the diaper change a simple thing. When I questioned her about the difference she shrugged & said "Sometimes it happens." Could it be subconscious, or is she intentionally trying to make things difficult for me. I'm 66 y/o and in good health except for back and shoulder problems, but trying to pull & lift on her is exacerbating what are right now minor problems. Has anyone else dealt with anything similar?

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I agree. Don’t do the things that are difficult for you. It doesn’t matter why.
Here is just a thought. Perhaps when you are with your mom, you are busy, busy, busy. Trying to do all that appears to be needed.
Try to just simply sit with her.
Breathe in and out. Hold her hand. Watch tv with her. Comb her hair. Put lotion on her feet or hands. Read to her. Make phone calls with her to friends or loved ones. Even if she can’t speak to them. Put them on speaker phone and talk about times gone by. Two or three min. That’s enough.
Your mom has caretakers. What she needs is a daughter. Don’t fuss about the diaper. Plenty of timr for that with the caretakers.
Maybe staying all day is hard on her and you. Maybe take a nap with her for part of the time you are there. S person with dementia has no idea why they do the things they do. That’s not important. What’s important is that you take care of yourself so you can continue to visit with her.
i suggest you read the book “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.
Enjoy the time you have left with your mom.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to 97yroldmom
LaBlueEyes Sep 22, 2018
Thank you for pointing out something that I hadn't realized - my discomfort with her dementia is causing me to try and cover with "busy" work. I'm going to try to spend more time visiting and less time doing. I'll also read the book you recommend. Thank you again!
Perhaps it doesn't matter whether this is deliberate. If you have back and shoulder problems, you shouldn't be doing it unless there is absolutely no alternative in an emergency. Just stop, for your own sake. And for hers - if you are injured, you may be able to do a lot less, including driving there to visit. Perhaps you will learn more about what is going on when you stop, but then again that probably doesn't matter either. Just stop.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MargaretMcKen

Maybe Mom doesn't want you to help. It's easier for some people to allow a stranger help before a family member. Mom is paying a lot to be at the AL. Let her aides take care of her. They get paid for doing it. I was glad this was a job I no longer had to do.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
LaBlueEyes Sep 22, 2018
Thank you for pointing this out. You guys have helped mye look at this in a new way. Instead of feeling annoyed that she won't help, I should accept that maybe it's just that she doesn't want that help to come from a family member.
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