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I am the sole care giver for my mother. She is 82 and 300 lbs in a wheelchair. I am 57 and 129 lbs. It is hard to push her around. My arm and lower back seem to be messed up from this. What can I do?


1. She will not push herself around


2. She will not lose weight


3. She will not look into getting a new wheelchair.


If my back goes out we are both in trouble. Any advice?

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I have to add, if she cannot push herself around, that makes one assume she cannot go to the kitchen on her own. That would make the caregiver the one who prepares her meals. Time to make her a diet. If she doesn't like her nightly salad dinner, I bet she will figure her way to the kitchen. ;)
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Reply to Cherrysoda
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Then depending on her insurance you might have to be the one to INSIST on a new/electric wheelchair or make the call yourself and just get the ball rolling while singing the praises of how super awesum great it will be FOR HER-and get her doc to second that. I just did this for my SO. The VA will be getting him one for FREE, and installing a lift on my vehicle FREE. But it takes time, at least in our case, 6-8 weeks. He can get out of his fold up one but Im the one who has to lift it in and out of the house and vehicles, or he will bang it into walls and shove it and damage things and this gets on my last nerve.

I ripped and tore some tendons in my foot in Oct and am STILL in Frankenboot and using a wheelchair myself and still dealing with swelling and already have a bad back and I am no spring chicken. And I am not short or small, that has nothing to do with dealing with someone who is weighty and stubborn.

Lay down the law, surely you have some sort of ins. that will cover her having better wheels. If not, craigslist, offer up etc. are good places to shop for used ones. If she refuses to move herself once given the power to do so (or if she has dementia) time to give her a choice. You will do as I say or you can look at the ALF/NH brochures and pick one out. Sometimes, I know this sounds harsh, as I am dealing with someone with dementia but still has some of his marbles, I have to treat him like a 2 year old. NO YOU CANNOT HAVE YOUR FAVORITE TOY TILL YOU.......whatever..then I unplug the TV or internet service. (his favorite toys and passtimes) Or refuse to go to the store. Usually works in a matter of hours and he comes back to me in a much better more submissive and passive and agreeable frame of mind. If she still has enough sense-and obviously likes food, without it being abuse you can say, nope, sorry, can't go to the kitchen for you, I'm busy and be firm no matter what sort of tantrum she throws, I have learned the art of saying NO or NOT RIGHT NOW, or just closing doors (I have a cam system in the house so I know what is still going on). Now no we dont want to starve anyone but its not abuse if you know she has had, say breakfast and you delay lunch by a few hours just to get her to move herself. (That is if there is no medical reason for her not being able to move her arms and chair around the home.)

I think, and this is my 3rd time as a caregiver, that the biggest most important factor in surviving care-giving with some semblance of sanity, is developing the ability to say NO, being selfish, not just grabbing, but DEMANDING your own ME time (even if it includes security cams/nanny cams) and if you cannot say NO, you can say NOT RIGHT NOW. Its amazing what happens to folks (IF THEY ARE ABLE BODIED to some degree and not Veggie minded or truly medically unable to even try to help) when you say NO and set limits and boundaries. If they want something bad enough, they will figure it out. And in my case, even dealing with moderate dementia in my partner, it works.
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Reply to Cherrysoda
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Aren't you doing more than just pushing her wheelchair? How does she get on and off the toilet, into and out of bed, etc?

I really like SuzieFriend's idea of going to your own doctor, and letting his "orders" be the reason you can't do this anymore.

You only asked about mobility issues, but would you share what the rest of caring for your mother is like for you? Could it be time (actually, past time) to look into placing her in a facility?
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Reply to CTTN55
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i would get her dr to tell her one of 2 things, or both! that for her size she needs 2 people to help with moving her, (some states its a law?... it was when i worked for the state as a caregiver)but might be different for family member-but, she doesn’t need to know that! i would talk to her dr without her knowing and before her next appt! (i’d be suprised if he hasn’t heard it before!) he can suggest elec wheelchair. i personally would also (i too am small) 118lbs-5ft. if she is adamant- go to your own doctor. he can write you a note! parents(mothers especially with daughters) want things proven(you’re hurting yourself more & more!)have him write it you cannot push ir lift over 25lbs for 6 weeks.(or whatever the two of you think) that wil give her time to get accustomed to new wheelchair or rolling herself! (be good for her too!)
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Reply to SuziesFriend
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BMT1011 Jan 18, 2019
Thank you! I had not considered this. We share the same Dr. And he is sympathetic.
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Good grief. I am so sorry for you. I am about 5 feet five inches, 125 pounds. My paralyzed Dad is around 130 pounds or so. I can't imagine trying to care for someone 300 pounds. THAT IS TOO HEAVY FOR YOU TO MANAGE!

Get this poor lady into a facility and continue to love and take care of her there with the facility's help. She is simply too large and heavy for you to manage for long without hurting yourself. If you do get hurt, what's your plan then?
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Is she mentally there?

If yes, you may have to draw some hard lines. Why parents think it is okay to injure their caregiving children is beyond me. Sometimes you just have to say, I'm not going to do this any more, you need to do xyz or the end result will be professional care in a facility. Don't threaten, just make your wellbeing part of the care plan. She has to take responsibility for her wellbeing as well.

If she has dementia then it is up to you to decide what your deal breakers are. Sometimes we just need to be realistic and come to terms with the fact that we can only do so much before we are not using good judgment to protect our own health. Nothing personal meant, we all go there.

Regardless, you need to set and enforce boundaries and take care of you. You matter just as much as her.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I like Daughter’s answer. Mom is going to stubborn herself right into a facility. My husband is over 300 lbs. as well. I have a Hoyer Lift and we got a power wheelchair a little over a year ago.

if Mom’s cognitive abilities are ok, I wouldnfor sure have a heart to heart sit down with her and lay it on the line.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Maybe a scooter. You can get wide wheelchairs but still hard to push a big person.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I guess you might have to do some things that will help you help her. Like you're not already probably doing enough, but, you need to look out for yourself and not allow yourself to get injured, etc.

Can you find a new wheelchair for her to be in that you can handle? Given her very high weight, perhaps an electric wheelchair or cart (if that's what they're called) is in order. Then, you don't need to push!

Have you seen a doctor and/or physical therapist re: your arm and back? I suggest getting it taken care of sooner rather than later.
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Reply to againx100
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You will undoubtedly be injured doing this. And when that happens you’ll certainly be no good for your mom. If you’re sure she’s not going to change, and I fully agree that she’s not as I have a dad who’s also not going to change at his age, then the only thing you can change is yourself. You’re going to have to look after yourself, let mom know you can’t do this any longer, and that she’s going to need a new plan. Is there dementia or is she capable of making decisions about what’s going to change?
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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