My mom is scared of us because she hates being helped to potty from bed to chair etc. What should we do? - AgingCare.com

My mom is scared of us because she hates being helped to potty from bed to chair etc. What should we do?

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My mother can no longer stand unassisted. We have her in a hospital bed with a bedside potty. Sometimes she can use her wheelie walker or other times we put her in the wheelchair but we try to keep her up and about as much as we can. Transferring her from bed to potty to chair etc seems to hurt her (everything hurts her, putting lotion on her leg hurts her, it could be the coldness or just the strangeness, but her knee jerk is "ow") so it's really hard to help her up from the potty, to dress her, to get her back into bed at night, etc. Today she's terrified of me, some days she's scared of my dad. We are getting home care starting next week but my dad is skeptical that they'll be any better at it than we are. I don't know what to expect. We haven't ruled out a nursing home but this is the situation we're in now because everything snowballed much quicker than we'd anticipated. Does anyone have suggestions or experience with this? The fear of us? The transfers themselves? She's even scared of riding in the wheelchair sometimes. (We're using techniques for standing and situating her in bed that the aide and nurse from hospice showed us.) I'm trying to do what's best for her, but I'm not sure what that is anymore, or how much longer I can spend everyday focused solely on her, especially when she's scared of me. Thanks for any input.

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If she has a history of fragile bones, such as hip or knee replacement, then she will definitely hurt. That will trigger fear as well as anxiety. You may be reluctant to deploy pain meds, but at this point she really needs them. Be sure she has an adjustable bed and the best foam mattress for it.
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I agree; also rule out ear infections or anything like that which could be making her feel as though she's falling... but I'm afraid that if her dementia is advanced, and if your doctor can't find any physical causes, you are looking for a needle in a haystack.

As I remember it, when your mother is taking against you for some reason the instinct is to stay out of her way as much as you can; but actually if possible do the opposite. Spend more time with her *not* doing anything to her - not transferring or washing or dressing etc. etc. Otherwise you do become the Bad Cop who only ever turns up to do something she doesn't like.

And, of course, don't take it personally. Whatever has got into her head, or whatever is hurting her, it isn't you or your dad. I'm sorry you're going through this, I know it's hard.
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Could the transfers be causing real pain? There was another poster here whose mother became fearful and combative and it was later discovered she had undetected spinal fractures, something that can happen spontaneously with osteoporosis. I would encourage you to urge her doctor to do a thorough physical check up to rule out any kind of undetected injury that may be causing her fear of being moved.
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