Mom refuses to stop using heavy purse. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom refuses to stop using heavy purse. Any advice?

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My mother carries everything "but the kitchen sink" in her purse....2 sets of all her keys (in case she loses one set), a magnitized pick up "stick", loose change, 2 checkbooks, 2 wallets, her coupons, a tape measure, screwdrivers, etc. She has back and knee problems and her doctor has advised her to lighten the load by getting a smaller purse and only carrying what she absolutely needs.

Despite this, mom absolutely refuses to remove anything from her purse. Yet, she constantly complains how much she aches and how difficult it is to keep her purse strap on her shoulder while walking with her cane or how heavy the purse is when she tries to put it into a shopping cart.

She still drives and could leave the screwdrivers and some of the other things in her car but she won't do that either. She keeps insisting that she needs everything with her.

Is this dementia? Alzheimer's? Or, just stubborness?

I'm at my wits end!

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I carry a lot of stuff but have learned to leave my main big purse in the car and take a smaller bag in to work and just a cross body purse with the essentials when bike riding or shopping. I recommend having two bags, one on each shoulder, with a good broad strap that will stay up if you can't get out of pack mule mode though. The balanced load is a lot easier to carry - in fact, I'd rather have 15 lbs on each shoulder than 20 on one.

One other consideration - a heavy purse on the same side as a bad hip can actualy be very helpful to reduce force needed across that hip in stance phase.
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This might sound off the wall, but I have seen school children with backpacks that have wheels, sorta like very small suitcase that you pull behind you. Wonder if someone who insists on carrying everything in a large purse could use something like that?
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lovetoplay, sadly sometimes our elders have to hurt themselves before they get that wake up call that they need to change things.... [sigh].

Google "carrying heavy purses" and you will see an x-ray photo, click on that and click on the article, on how a person need to hold their body when using same. Maybe, just maybe, your Mom will take notice.
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Thanks for all your replies and ideas. I have asked her why she carries all the things she does and she always has a reply such as "I need them" or "Once I didn't have...."

I've tried to get her to leave some of the stuff in the car or at home. No dice!

I've also given her a nice key ring for her to put just a car key and her house key on it so she could leave the others at home. Again, no dice. She insists that she needs to keep all of the keys with her.

I even showed her how I keep just a spare car key in my wallet. Didn't do any good.

It is frustrating as she fights to keep the purse strap on her shoulder as well as walk with her cane (she walks hunched over because of leg surgery.)

I DO WORRY about her falling. But, anything I've said to her goes in one ear and out the other (no, she doesn't have hearing problems!)

When I take her shopping, I usually park right by the store's door and go in and bring a cart out to the car so that she can put her cane and purse in the cart. Then I hold the door for her so she can go into the store. After she's safely inside, I go park the car.

As for her driving, I haven't seen her drive (I live about 40 minutes away) but she just got her license renewed.

I'm frustrated because she won't take the doctor's advice, which would help her feel better.
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If she can't put a purse in her cart, can she drive a car safely? It does take some effort to turn around corners and park at the store.
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Try one of those fabric purses, you know the Vera Bradley type that are really light weight and pretty colors. Don't have to be the expensive ones. A lot of places sell knock offs. My mom complained of her shoulder hurting and her purse bothering her so I bought her a pretty Vera Bradley. She didn't like it for whatever reason. But she is hard to please so good luck to you.
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lovetoplay, I have some more thoughts on the heavy purse.... what are all the keys that your Mom needs to carry that she needs to also carry a second set? I would just carry an extra house key, and leave that second set safe and sound at home. If the purse is misplaced or stolen, she wouldn't have any keys at all.

As for the screwdrivers, that is a safety hazard.... yikes, if your Mom falls and she lands on her purse, one of those screwdrivers could come through the purse material and hurt her. Or does she plan to fix the car while out and about?

As for the a tape measurer, I assume it is one of those metal case ones? Buy her a cloth tape measurer, it weights an ounce or two.

One really doesn't need to carry two checkbooks. Carry one that is used the most often when out shopping.... as for the other one, she can take out a blank check and put that in her wallet. In fact, there are nice wallets that have a place to insert a checkbook, credit cards, Medicare card, etc. No need for 2 wallets. My gosh, if she had to dump out her purse, one would think she was pick pocking :P
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About the Swiss army knives & screwdrivers, not a good idea. More & more places have metal detectors set up and the alert will go up when mom goes through. She could be pulled over discretely or more likely will be loudly pulled aside and everything dumped out with items confiscated.

With Homeland Security concerns, all kinds of places now have detectors set up. Many places - like museums - have to have them in place to get insurance. One of my friends is a docet at a museum and they just cringe when seniors have field trips there as every 3rd one is carrying "contraband". Either they remove and place in a basket @ security or do not tour. No exceptions.

Do what you can to lessen her load and get her into a cross-body purse.
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I wonder if those big purses are just a habit going back when a woman has children and she needed to be a pack mule to carry all the things that a child might want, and everything hubby thought she might have room to carry [like his sunglasses, keys and his wallet].

I never had children so my shoulder purses are quite small... a good friend of mine, also childless, also uses a very small purse. I just weighed my purse on a postage scale, 1.75 pounds.

Over the years I tried to get my Mom to change to a shoulder purse as I noticed while she is trying to walk with a cane, she has issues carrying her purse plus anything else she needs to carry, like a sweater.... [sigh]. Oh well, it's her choice to juggle everything... like what do I know :P
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Dementia? No telling. It sounds like she is just ready for any and all emergencies, whether they happen on the road or in the grocery store. :) It probably keeps her anxiety down, so I would work with it. Two sets of keys is a good idea, since many of us know the distress that comes with locking our keys in the car. I always have two sets. When it comes to tools. Maybe a good gift would be a multiple-tool in one, like Swiss army knives. Or maybe having one of those little flashlights on a key ring. I don't know what to do about two checkbooks and two wallets. It would be nice to have enough money to need two of each.

If the weight is too much, maybe your mother would enjoy one of the rollators. You can put the purse in the compartment and roll on without any strain on your mother's frame.
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