Mother falls and can't get up, what can I do?

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My mother lives on her own a few states away and has been increasingly shaky on her feet for a few years. She walks often with a cane, sometimes a walker, sometimes not and grabbing on to things - all very inconsistently. She has fallen a number of times and either has been able to get up by pulling on things or calls a relative to help her get up. She refuses to go to the doctor after these falls or have any assessment of her mobility done. So far she's apparently got really good bones because no breaks yet. But one day there will be - it is inevitable. She will not listen to me AT ALL. I have literally begged her to discuss this with her doctor and get physical therapy - all I got was personally attacked, she thought of the most painful things to say to me. What can I do?

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How or why are the falls occurring? Has someone done a home assessment to review problem areas- rugs, lighting, trip hazards, etc? How about looking at problem areas and getting assistive products to reduce risk of falls/injury. Falls will happen but there are things that can done to reduce their number and severity.
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Eldermentor, I like the sound of the wrist monitor but at this point she would reject it out of hand. I do worry that if she falls on the cell phone the wrong way or it slips out of her pocket, what then? And like you say if she gets knocked out, no way could she call anyone. I have brought these concerns up to her and she's all pish posh about it.

Jeanne, I like the idea of a cell phone pouch she could wear, might make it a bit more secure than knocking about it a pocket. I'll float the idea! Thanks for the validation it is so hard to watch all this. Basically the only way she'll let me help her is to be there in person and do everything for her - without her having to ask - and she pretends I'm just doing stuff for her cause I want to not because she can't or needs it. Even if I were local to her we'd still have a huge problem.
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What can you do? Probably not much. Sigh. Carrying a cell phone around is a good start, if she does it. Not all of my clothing has pockets and I seldom wear a belt -- if I had a need to carry mine around with me at all times I'd need a little pouch for it on a strap that I would wear across my chest like a purse. How does Mom carry hers? Would she like a gift of a little pouch/purse? Does she have all the numbers she needs pre-programmed? Still, she'd have to be conscious and alert enough to use the cell, so an automatic alarm would be better. But you can only do what she'll let you do, so if she would accept a gift of a cell-phone pouch but won't here of the fall-alert, then the cell phone is better, if you see what I mean.

It is very, very hard to watch a loved one make what we consider to be bad decisions, but all you can do is what she will accept from you.
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Its not uncommon for our elders to grasp on tightly to every last ounce of independence they can. I think your mom knows you care about her and that your suggestions come from a loving place. Still, it won't stop her from fighting you...it's got to be scary for her to realize she's declining.

Re: the medical alert bracelets, if you do invest in one for her, be sure to get the kind that automatically alarms when the wearer falls. Too often I've seen cases of elderly people falling and either failing to push the button for help because they "didn't want to bother anyone", forgot what the bracelet was for, or god forbid, were unconscious after the fall and unable to press the button. They have bracelets that can sense a change in gravity when a person falls down and regardless of whether they remember to press for help, the change in gravity automatically signals for help.
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Thanks 3pinkroses (like your name) - I think as I come up against my mother's stubbornness it really hits my own issues. It's so hard to "let" her harm herself and make bad decisions. As long as she's technically competent and stubborn as a mule though it's the only option she leaves with me. I feel like such a terrible daughter sometimes but she won't let me be anything else. Your Irish grandma sounds like she had a lot of wisdom.
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Fairydust - It certainly is frustrating, I know - My mother used to fall all the time. She had balance issues and was aware of that and that she should be careful and use cane and then walker at all times. But she refused and my father said she was reckless by the way she would not adhere to doctor's orders.

Unfortunately, when they are this stubborn, there really is not much you can do. They are going to do what they want and if they break something; at least you know you had tried to help that not happen. Most likely, physical therapy would probably help quite a bit. It baffles me why they can be so stubborn, especially when they have to rely on other people to come over and help them get up. God helps those who help themselves - old Irish expression - my grandmother used this - she was from Ireland - did what she was told; and never ever fell, even at age of 93 when she passed away. She was my role model. God bless and take care.
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bumping this up....
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Thanks littletonway! My mother says she carries her cell phone in her pocket all the time. I don't know if she literally does but she has called after falling a few times for help. She won't even consider a medical alert necklace though....I've pointed out her cell phone could be damaged in the fall or she might forget it sometime. Sorry to hear your mother's stubborn too - I think it is hard for them an issue of pride maybe. Take care!
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Unfortunately, you can't make someone go to the doctor. How about a medical alarm necklace so she can call for assistant when "that" fall happens?

If she goes to the doctor for routine check ups due to another condition or meds, you could call or write her doctor and inform them of what has been going on.

I know it must be difficult being a distant caregiver, believe me it really isn't easier being close by. My Mother seems to get more hard headed the older she gets and has esp has to what the doctor will or will not be able to do...so why bother going..lol.

Good luck and God bless!
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