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Her reason is that people will talk about her. She is all about appearances and believes people will talk about her behind her back if she is seen with a cane. She refuses to take pain medication because she has never been sick and takes pride in never having to take medication. She has fallen twice and is in constant pain, but we can't convince her to do even simple things because of her fear that "someone might find out". Please! Help!

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Veronica, had to chuckle about the eyelash fluttering LOL.

When I am in a grocery store, I always seem to time it when the independent/assistant living buses are in front of the store. Well, so much for finding another shopper taller than I am :P

Oh, I tried using a cane one time while taking my parents shopping.... they never noticed.... [sigh].
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Freflyer it actually does work as long as you have the nerve to try and a decent grabber. I would not do it with spaghetti sauce in aisle 5 but it is safe for cereal etc.
Not haveing eyelashes to flutter these days I just stand on my tip toes reaching up helplessly and another shopper quickly comes to my rescue. Lowes sells a really good strong grabber for about $20.

Back to PamelaB's original question. I wonder if taking a cane and using it one self would encourage the elder. "Her Mom hold my cane while I use the grabber to get the spaghetti sauce off the top shelf"
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Is the refusal to use cane and take meds really about vanity or indication of dementia. I used to wonder about odd opinions and thoughts with my cousin, then later it became obvious it was dementia. She would not allow her cat to go under the bed for fear it would get hurt. She taped the bottom of furniture to prevent the cat from getting inside.....even small openings that no cat could enter. I thought it was odd that I had to explain to her that an adult cat could not enter into a space the size of a pea.
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Veronica, be still my heart, is that the return of common courtesy I have waited so long for?
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Nope, top shelves are for your favorite box or jug of cat litter that weight 25 lbs :)

The manufacturer of items that are at eye level pay a *location premium* to have their products placed at eye level.... of course, if I go in the grocery store for my parents, the items Mom likes are usually on the top shelf where I can barely reach it, or on the bottom shelf where if it is a heavy can of peaches, I have trouble standing back up.... [sigh].
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Top shelf is for things that don't get used or don't break when they come down, like little spice jars, or plastic wrap or paper towels. Spaghetti sauce at eye level.
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Veronica, I wonder how the long handled grabby thing would work getting a bottle of spaghetti sauce from a top shelf.... I have visions of hearing "clean up in Aisle 5" :P
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CM yes partly true but also a bad case of O/A already had one hip and knee replaced.

freqflyer do you have one of those long handled grabby things to reach high shelves?

Lately I have found people have been extraordinarily nice to me. I get doors held open, things reached off high shelves, an offer to put my things on the belt at the check out and one man stopped in the car park and lifted my containers of kitty litter into the car. Unbelievable and I don't even have to flutter my eyelashes!!!!!!
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Countrymouse, I found when I went grocery shopping with Mom her cane was very useful getting cereal boxes off the top shelves.... don't know why stores think everyone is six foot tall :P
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Occupational hazard, Veronica? I'm not sure I know any really good nurses whose backs are in great shape… :/ Get yourself a lovely massage - that would be another good investment!

FF, I used to persuade my mother to carry her cane by reminding her that she could poke people with it if they annoyed her, tee-hee.
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My sig other and I have for ourselves a regular walker and a cane for those times when one of us throws their back out. They come in so handy :)
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Found a rollator at a garage sale and thought it would be a good investment for the future. my back is too bad to even walk round Walmart without a shopping cart to lean on so that will be perfect when the time comes plus it has that little seat on it too.
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When I got my Dad one of those rolling walkers, you'd think I had bought him a Shelby Mustang, he was so delighted. Then he said why didn't he get one a year ago.... [sigh]. I couldn't convince him a year ago, but recently a physical therapist insisted he get one.
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I must admit this would shorten my temper. What am I saying? - this kind of thing has shortened my temper! The hearing aids were the big issue: "I don't like them, they make me look old." "Mother, you're 86. How should you look?"

It's hard to do, but you have to let her follow her own instincts. Seeing someone you love in pain is upsetting, but if she won't take the pain relief there's not a lot you can do about it. You just have to assume that if/when the pain is bad enough then she, like any other sentient creature, will seek relief from it; so ipso facto if she won't take the meds the pain can't be bad enough.

The 'someone might find out' mantra is not rational so there's no point in arguing with it. It's a portmanteau way of her saying that it hurts her pride to back down from her lifelong habits. Again, it has to be up to her. If she wants to go anywhere, she'll have to use her walker (I wouldn't push the cane idea - they tend to unbalance you and are not great for that reason. Pairs of walking poles are better, if she won't even look at a walker, or a little trolley with a handy shelf for her things). The only other thing you could perhaps try is a brisk, no-nonsense Physical Therapist who won't give her any option for, say, half an hour at a time but to get up and walk with walking aids. It might just break her in to them and make them less terrible to her.
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Itired, their life their decisions. Don't fret over it and don't force unless it is impacting others then is theey are violent or over anxious give them any way you can to calm them down. They may be at the stage where they are happier at home where it is quiet and peace too many people and noise confuse the elderly
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I echo the "what is it with this generation" query. FIL would not use the walker when he needed to for a while it was a constant battle. Now will not get a hearing aid because of what it looks like. GAH! He misses out on so much it is silly. Father also 87, same way, will not use the hearing aid either. Enough to make me nuts. AND he refuses meds- all of them! Seriously. Both with dementia, it is crazy making as they both miss so much of life.
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I read a very interesting article the other day about obsession with appearance and with what others will say. They called this a psychological disorder. It goes beyond the vanity most of us have about wanting to look our best.

When my brother was little my harried mother had a hard time getting him ready for school. (He was #5 of 7.) "I can't wear those socks! People will laugh at me!" "They are just brown boys socks, like other second graders wear. What would they laugh at?" "I can't wear them! I can't! People will laugh at me!" (As an adult my brother was diagnosed as bi-polar.)

I feel sorry for people with this disorder. It has a touch of narcissism in that they believe that other people actually notice or care about their appearance. And it only hurts themselves. I know a lady who had to give up driving and refused to use a mobility scooter because other people would know she had an infirmity. She could have gotten around her small town just fine with the scooter, but she gave up that opportunity. My husband leaped at the chance to have a scooter when he could no longer drive. He had the independence of going for a haircut or ice cream cone or to the library. I am SO glad he didn't have this vanity disorder or our lives would really have had a poorer quality.

I don't have any advice for you, PamelaB, except to assure you this is a recognized psychological disorder and it is in no way a reflection of your caregiving skills! I feel sorry for your mom and for you, too. I imagine Mom has missed out on lots of things in her life because of the need to keep up appearances.
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Have all these older cane refusers watch Downton Abbey on PBS when it returns and admire the way the dowager duchess manages her cane. I believe it has a silver head to it. I certainly use one when I may have to walk a long way and would love something fancier than the standard fare from the drug store. there are all kinds of carved pieces that can be found for the genlemen and I think it gives them quite a swagger. Far better than shuffling along holding onto railings. You never saw Charlie Chaplin without his cane. I bet the Queen and Prince Phillip use one when they are out stalking the gouse at Balmoral. I even saw pricess Anne using a very fancy one during a ceremony recently. I bet she is a candidate for a hip replacement.
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This probably won't help, but I want to let you know that you can buy custom-painted canes with beautiful flowers or other art work on them. I don't say that I think that having a cane that looks nice will change her mind, but a friend of mine had gotten such a can and was quite proud of it - she was the envy of her friends with plain canes.

If she's afraid that "someone might find out" you can assure her that you're not going to tell if she won't and she can keep her secret by just not telling them about the pain meds. I found this sometimes works with my mom and it sometimes doesn't.
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Captain, you are right that it would take a scary fall or two to convince old timers to use a walker. That is how I was finally able to get my Dad to use one.

Tomorrow I take Mom back to get her hearing aid to be fitted, she is so upset that she can't get one that goes inside the ear so that no one would know she is using a hearing aid... I don't know about you all, but rarely if ever do I look at people's ears to see if they a hearing aid.... [sigh]
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crack her across the shin bone about 3 licks in the same spot and she'll take any pain med she can get her hands on .
just kiddin ya . i think it takes a scary fall or two to convince old timers to use a walker . rehab a few months ago had my 90 yr old aunt doing great walking with a walker but she blacked out and fell once and went right back to her wheelchair . she might be demented but she isnt a dummy by any means .
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I feel for you. My mom wouldn't go downstairs today to sit outside because "I look so bad these days". She's 94 and everyone she knew in the independent living facility where she lives has died or moved out. So she doesn't know anyone (she eats in her room) and thinks other people care about what she looks like. Of course 99% of them look much worse than my mom, but she can't see that. And the rest don't give a rat's patout about how she looks anyway. I try to tell her that, but she won't listen or change. Sigh.
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What is it about that generation? My 90-year-old mother is obsessed with what the neighbors are doing, and imagines what they might be saying about her, when the reality is that the neighbors could not care less about her. As far as people she actually knows, they are all dead. Mom will not allow us to bring someone in to help with the housework because 60 years ago she knew a woman who had a housekeeper who gossiped. She won't permit someone from church to come sit with Mom & Dad so her caregiver can have time to grocery shop, run errands, or even have lunch with a friend. She's sure that whoever came over would go back and gossip about her to everyone else at church. Again, everyone she knew back when she was able to go to church is long gone, but she is so narcissistic that she really believes people have nothing better to do than gossip about her.

Like your mother, she won't listen to anything her new doc says. Her previous doctor retired because of Obamacare, and the practice hired a female doc who is around 50. I thought her old doc was a real quack, but she'd do anything he said, yet hates the new doc who seems very smart and is highly educated and respected.

As for walkers, we've tried to get her to agree to a new one with a basket and handbrakes, etc., but that would involve change, and she absolutely hates change.
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Mom didn't want to use a cane either. It's vanity, I think. I bought her a candy-striped one. She loved it and used it for a short time until she needed a walker. 'Course mom was always a fashionista.
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PamelaB, my Mom is the same way about *keeping up appearances*, she doesn't want anyone to even think that she is elderly.... guess one still has vanity even when they are in their 80th decade or 90th decade [like my Mom].

I don't think my Mom will ever change... whenever her geriatric doctor tells Mom a medical problem has to do with aging, later Mom will say *she [the doctor] doesn't know what she is talking about *.... [sigh]. How I wished my parents would have kept their previous doctor, as whatever he said was golden and Mom would follow his advice.... if he said to stand in a corner for an hour, she probably would do it.

I know Mom wasn't crazy about Dad using his brand new rolling walker which has hand brakes, basket and seat... Dad was tickled pink with his new walker as he was having issues using just a cane. Oh gosh, what will the neighbors say if they see her husband using a walker outside.... I bet their neighbors would be saying *it's about time* !!
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My MIL was the same way. After she fell by tripping over her own cane, she damaged her knee and shattered her shoulder. At that point the cane was replaced with a walker. She kicked up a fuss, but her MD, PT and OT supported the decision. As for the pain meds, we refused to run over there when she said she was in agony. We told her take the meds or call 911. She took the meds.
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