Mom refuses to even try to sit up much less resume walking again. Anyone ever hear of anything like this? - AgingCare.com

Mom refuses to even try to sit up much less resume walking again. Anyone ever hear of anything like this?

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Mom was just hospitalized for extreme lethargy. Tests revealed that her hemoglobin levels were very low and a stomach lining issue was revealed to be the culprit. She was treated and almost immediately her personality returned and she looked and sounded 10x better. After a few days she was discharged and sent to a short-term rehab facility to receive some therapy.

Now, despite no medical reason for it, she is claiming that she has "lost use of her legs" and refuses to even try to sit upright, even to eat. Today she even begged me to feed her, which I refused to do because there's no reason at all that she needs to be fed by someone else. When I try to raise her bed she carries on like it's torture even though it's a mere four or five inches.

I'm at my wit's end with this, as is everyone else. Again, there's no medical reason why she cannot sit up and at least try to move around, it appears that she just doesn't feel like it or fears the pain involved. I tried to explain that this will pass after some repeated movement (she was walking rather well just a few weeks ago and she hasn't suffered any sort of injury) but she just won't do it. I think she's totally blowing a real opportunity here and it's maddening to watch. I'm even beginning to become hesitant to visit her for long as I just can't stand to see her lying there like a lump trying to eat while lying down almost flat on her back.

Her mother died shortly after breaking her hip in a fall and I believe this is why she's totally terrified of moving. I've explained this to every single healthcare person she's worked with but it hasn't helped at all. I firmly believe she needs to be forced into a sitting position for a while just to prove to her it won't kill her but they either can't or won't do it, mainly because she wails in a total panic if anyone tries. I just can't get through to her and it's miserable. Anyone ever encounter a situation similar to this?

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Get the geriatric psychiatrist who pays visits this facility to see your mom asap. Not knowing anything about her age or other medical conditions, I'm going to venture to guess that there is something undiagnosed going on, perhaps dementia or mild cognitive decline (it sounds as though her reasoning ability has gone out the window), or an underlying personality disorder that causes her to find acting helpless serves a purpose.

She may benefit enormously from antidepressants. Please don't think of these or of antianxiety meds as sedatives. Her panic is a real response to her perception of reality.

I still would urge a careful examination of her hips and pelvis.
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It could be any number of things causing it. Both medical and mental. I would push the examination of her condition and even consult with a neurologist.

I will share a similar story that happened with my cousin. Back when she was running her own household, she stepped in a hole in the yard and fractured her foot. She had to wear a boot and keep weight off of it, but she was perfectly able to use her crutches or wheelchair, go to toilet, bathe, etc. The problem is that she refused. She insisted on wearing diapers and laying in bed. She resisted allowing the home assistance lady to bathe her, she resisted physical therapy, she would not allow me to change her sheets, etc. She said she was not able to get up or return to walking. She kept the boot on for way too long. I was alarmed and discussed it with her home health care team and they thought she was lazy and unmotivated. They thought tough love was in order.

Fast forward a year later and she was diagnosed with advanced dementia. That's what was causing her to have delusions about lots of things, including her ability to walk. I'm not saying that is what your mom has, but I would explore all possibilities.
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Please make sure that a doctor examines your mother thoroughly. My mom had an undetected hip fracture while in rehab. You don't have to fall to fracture your hip or pelvis if you're already frail and elderly.
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The thing to remember, imho, is that the dementia patient is not reasoning and is reacting "as if" something that we are unaware of. "As if" could mean the patient is back in a war zone, protecting her young, trying to escape a rapist, trying to flee a burning building. The brain is broken and the mind has made up a scenario to which the available adrenalin is applied. We drove my just - released from rehab mom to her lovely new AL residence. She started crying the minute we got in the car and grabbed the steering wheel from my husband on the highway. What was going on in her head? I'll never know. But it was clearly a very real threat she was facing.
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dmanbro I seem to be going through something similar with my husband, though in his case he really has no muscle left in his calves so he can't actually stand. However he is supposed to be doing exercises when lying down to strengthen and rebuild his muscles but since he has been home just seems to be getting weaker and weaker. His doc came to see him and gave him a pep talk and some anti depressants but now he feels nauseous on top of everything. Please, if your Mom can understand tell her that if she doesn't use her muscles they will waste away. And they do atrophy very quickly with bedrest, including the core muscles. Maybe put on some dance music she likes and get her to do some flexing of her legs and mini sit-ups in time to it?
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It sounds similar to what happened with my mom. I failed to notice she was gradually getting weaker and one day couldn't make it up the two steps into her home. You can't say she fell because I was right there and caught her, but I had to call all the neighbours to find help to get her back up. She seemed fine for about a week, but one day she just wouldn't/couldn't get out of bed. I was at my wits end, eventually took her to the ER where they found nothing. My diagnosis was "sometimes they just get tired". I suspect a TIA coupled with frailty and depression.
Your mom could be having some vascular issues due to her low hemoglobin as well. I told my mom I couldn't care for her unless she at least tried to help me by sitting up and walking. She has never fully recovered but she does walk with assistance, which made it possible to care for her at home. I advise you to be stern, sit her up and make her do as much to help herself as as she is able.
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My father-in-law was the poster child for problematic patients. Was often mean and surly. I told them to give it right back. This helped, I think he enjoyed the interaction and attention. But he was by no means their first problem pt. It really does take special people to do that work. My father-in-law was at a county nursing home. It may not have been a palace but staff were so patient and kind. The main problem is staff shortage definitely not the workers attitudes. This is part of their job. They have welcomed our in put and gave us real answers. Nurses weren't able to give their advice directly, but would respond to "what would you do if it was your grandfather in this position. When I came from the hospital to let them know that he had died there wasn't a dry eye in the house, it was sincere. We still get calls from them asking @ how we are and having a memorial service for a man who had no friends or family left. If you are unsure how to procede ask an rn or even a md."what would you do if this was your mom?
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This is a far reaching suggestion, I noticed that my Dad didn't like doing physical therapy, it was a struggle to get him motivated.... until one day a very attractive tall blonde appeared as his PT. Need I say more, Dad was on the road to recovery :)

Same happened with my Mom about 20 years ago.... to this day she still does her exercises on her own and says how Jason [her PT back then] recommended this or that.
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Ignore how you think you're being treated. I find that the minute I start caring about what the staff thinks about ME, I'm off track. This is not about who's right, it's about getting your mom's treatment on track.
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My daughter is one of "these folk" and they r aware of what is going on. She has had all types of patients and is able to deal with them all. Especially the harder ones. She claims her GF helped her learn how to handle them. They undertand that the elderly aren't happy with their lives. They have lost everything. Facilities are not allowed to make a resident do what they don't want to. My daughter tries to make them think they r making the decision. Like...Mr. R don't u think you'd be more comfortable sitting in the chair for a while.
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