My mom is an extreme fall risk. Ideally, she would sit and read, watch TV, look at magazines, do some scrapbooking and so on, and then let one of us know when she wants/needs something or needs to go to the bathroom.

No. She promises us that she will stay put (while we run out to check the mail or step outside for a minute to talk to a neighbor), and then the second we step out the door, she takes off. Off to wash the dishes (that I will be washing when I get back). Off to take all the books off the bookcase and dust them. Off to do any of a million things that she doesn't NEED to do.

I finally told her today that this is unacceptable, and it has to stop. It's one of two things: Either she is unable to remember that she promised to stay put, or she is willfully being defiant.

She has fallen at least eight times this week. All of these falls could have been prevented if she would just have asked one of us to help. I am at the end of my rope.

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I absolutely understand your frustration and concern. My mom a lot! But we all need a reason to get out of bed. Your mom likely needs to feel useful.

I firmly believe that we,. as caregivers, can take away an awful lot with our need to protect. I found that out with my dad, too. There were some risks in giving him more physical freedom but there were greater (in my mind) risks in forcing him into doing nothing so he didn't get hurt.

Gardenartist listed some excellent possibilities as far as physically supporting your mom while she does things. You might want to check with a physical therapist, as well. Your doctor or a social worker can help you find someone who might have more suggestions.Consider your mom's losses and the reasons why she doesn't want to just sit. Then try to find methods that satisfy both of you.

Take care,
Helpful Answer (0)

I'm going to try to offer a different and third perspective here.

Your ideal is "sit and read, watch TV, look at magazines"... "scrapbooking, and so on." Do you realize how boring that can be? With the exception of scrapbooking, it's all passive, not active, activity.

I understand and agree with your concern about her mobility as well as concern for her safety. But I think she's probably bored and needs something to provide some exercise, both physical and mental.

For example:

1. Bring a chair over to the bookcase, let her sit and dust the books.

2. Do the dishes, put them on the table, let her sort them and hand to you to put away.

3. Ask her to help with the laundry by folding clothes. Don't refold them if she doesn't fold them according to your standards.

4. Think creatively - what household chores need to be done that she can do sitting down? How else can she participate and be a viable member of the household?

5. Give her the opportunity to get out of the house and be with other people. Consider taking her to a senior center for activities, to a free concert for music, to a library for a book club meeting. Check with the local libraries' online list of events and ask her if she's interested in any. Then take her.

6. You can buy little home use exercise bikes; they're really just pedals on a base, similar to those used in rehab facilities except cheaper and less complicated. Set one on a table, use screw or spring clamps to anchor it and let her exercise her arms. Set it on the floor and she can exercise her legs.

7. Find things for her to do that stimulate, not suppress, her intelligence. Magazines can help, but they're still passive activities. Or have a discussion after she reads one, again, to stimulate her mind.

8. If she likes board games, play them with her. Or puzzles. Both of them stimulate mental activity, the puzzles address spatial conceptions.

9. In the meantime, ask one of her physicians about PT for balance and strengthening, either through home care or at a PT facility, where she'll get a wider range of exercise and also have a chance to socialize.

Perhaps she's defying you because the world you've prescribed for her is too limited. Perhaps she's bored. I would be.
Helpful Answer (13)

I have a slightly different take here and maybe this might be a solution. While I am probably young enough to be your moms daughter, her history sounds exactly like mine. I fall almost weekly. And, yes, I tend to do my "riskier maneuvers" when I am aline. For me, I think it has to do with coming to accept the loss of my mobility, and having a well intentioned, but not very practical way to protest the loss of my independance.its very difficult to develop a new way of being in the world, and having to adjust to so much loss...especially for a person who used to run not only a house, but a job. I used to do direct service work with all kinds of people, before my own body fell apart. Quite humbling to have a former client be the one to teach me the advantages of using equipment. For me, the best thing I did was go see a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor and get myself a power wheelchair evaluation for use in my home. Since I got that chair, I have only fallen once, and that was getting out of the pool. I dont consider myself confined to it. Its a tool. When I am able to, I wheel over to the bookshelf, and stand up to dust. I carry my laundry safely. I can cook without being afraid im going to drop something on the floor. My apartment was built in 1986, so its grandfathered in on the more recent changes on wheelchair accessibility, however, for my purposes it works just fine. I put some double hinged door hinges on the doors so they open flat against the wall, a threshold ramp that I got online for less than a hundred bucks, and a few simple things like hanging my clothes on a second hangar so they hang lower in the closet, taking doors of cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen, and voila. Its also nice to be able to roll down the street and get a few things at the store without having to worry about what would happen if I fell . My chair also comes apart (sort of) & I can get out and go to the fair or church ir the movies. I dont like the stigma, and had to get over the idea that I was sicker or somehow less than others because I needed this tool. It hs made my life so much better. And, my house is cleaner, too. Just a thought. If you decide to try it, be aware that medicare has definate timelines...and doctors are not always aware of these. So its a lot of callingto check. They also may reauire you to use a contracted provider...mine is hover round here in california. Hoverround is not allowed to call me, because they can get dinged badly for soliciting business so I called them almost daily to make sure my paperwork didnt get lost. The doc is required to refer to OT and PT both, for a wheelchair evaluation, specifically, and those appointments MUST be done in the same month. Keep a copy of those reports and your do tors notes and prescription, as wheelchair companies are notoriuous for losing things. Hover round kept losing mine, til they finally told me what my account number was and I wrote it on every page. Medicare provides them for use in the home, and I am lucky that my supplement covers the 20%, that medicare does not pay. Its a 13 month rent to own...saved me from many broken bones. I still exercise and do as much as I can to stay active. It definitely improved my quality of life. Now I use my "defiance" to do things I used to love. Like trim the roses.
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Does your mom have dementia? Has she been evaluated for dementia? That would be a pretty good answer for why she doesn't remember that she's not supposed to get up without assistance nearby.

What does she say when you ask her why she got up?

I think I'd get her into a geriatrics doctor soon.
Helpful Answer (5)

Yes, all good stuff, but does she have dementia? If so this has to be taken into account at all times and the necessary precautions and supervision must be provided.
Helpful Answer (5)

So, I think GA has some really suggestions. But I think you also need to get a handle on her cognitive issues. As in, does she fully understand the consequences of her falling so frequently? That you won't be able to care for her at home?
Helpful Answer (4)

Tinkster, I'm not trying to minimize the fall risk, but can a compromise be reached? Like using a walker?

Also, I like all of the suggestions here, but what if it is just being stubborn? I ask because my Dad did this after he got home from the hospital. He wasn't supposed to walk by himself and promised to wait or call, but never did. He would do as Tinkster's mother does, and wait until we went to get the mail, then get up a try to walk to the bathroom by himself. I think he truly didn't want to face the fact that he could not be an independent, self-propelled individual anymore.

If dementia isn't a factor, are there any suggestions for helping a person get to a place where they can acknowledge and cope with the fact that they shouldn't be walking around by themselves? How does one cope with a loss of independence?
Helpful Answer (3)

My first post was 1/2 of a two-pronged approach. This is the other half, making the house safer. I've posted a list of several steps that can be taken to either prevent or minimize the risk of falling.
Helpful Answer (2)

Babalou and Windy, you're right. Since no mention was made of it in the original post or Tinkster's profile, I assumed this wasn't a factor. If it was, it would certainly change everything.
Helpful Answer (2)

Wish I'd known she has MS when I responded. That makes a huge difference. Does she use a wheelchair? Has your house been "adapted" with grab bars, and other devices?
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