I am an only child, caring from a distance. My mom (73, very tottery, lifelong depressive) is very prone to falls. Recently she fell in her apartment. She had her phone with her but didn't call for help for over 24 hours. Instead she rolled, scooched and struggled so that she was covered in scrapes and bruises. She seems proud of her injuries, mentioning them in every phone conversation. (I now speak to her both morning and evening to be sure she is ok.)

The day after this latest fall we sent her a video done by a very elderly man about how to get up from a fall. She watched it once, on her phone. I waited a couple of days, then asked her if she had watched it again. She hasn't.

I am finding myself really angry about this. I am not there to see, of course, how she spends her time, but she seems to be pretty capable of doing what she chooses, but not the things that would save her life when she falls again.

How do I cope? Is she neglecting herself, or am I overreacting?
I have called her home health care providers, her doctor, and the young friend who runs her errands. What else can I do? She was very unhappy the last time I called the sheriff in her area to check on her when she didn't answer her phone for 24+ hours.

Signed - at my wit's end

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Unless she is losing cognitive ability she is fully aware of what happened and was scared out of her wits, but she chose to endure the discomfort rather than call for help. I imagine she is pleased as punch with herself for managing to overcome her ordeal help and looks at all those bumps and scrapes as her "war wounds". She seems to be attempting to assert her independence and possibly resents your constant remonstration. Pick your battles carefully, perhaps a promise to keep the phone with her at all times or to investigate an alert pendent system is the best you can hope for at this time.
Helpful Answer (10)

Was your mother taken to the ER after that last fall? And they released her into her own care after?

You say your mother "isnt trying". Has anyone evaluated her in more than a cursory way for dementia? Like a full neuropsych workup?

Is she on meds for her depression? Do you have poa for health and finances?

I'm sorry to ask so many questions, but knowing this information will give us a better picture of the situation.
Helpful Answer (8)

MB, at the young age of 73, there has to be a reason why she is so totters as you call it. That is not very usual in someone so young. Perhaps it's the medications. I do agree that she needs an assessment of her balance and if she were in assisted living she could partake in exercise classes they offer. If all she does is sit all day, that is one reason for no leg strength. However, I agree with a precious person that you have to pick your battles. No need to feel any guilt as you've done nothing wrong. I would have to wonder if your mom is compensating for some cognitive deficits and trying to appear like she has everything handled. Her bravado and refusal of help indicates that. But you know her personality and I do not. She needs a cognitive evaluation for certain. It sounds to me if she needs this many people checking up on her she's not safe alone. You do need POA if you are the only child left. Also health care POA. Does she have an advanced directive. None of us want to ask these questions of our parents (believe me I know as I had to discuss a DNR with my dad) probably need to set up an appt. with an attorney and get these in place. I think you're attendance of a grief group is excellent and I'm sorry about your brother's death.
Helpful Answer (7)

You mention she is in a senior housing. Is there anyway that she could set up a way that one of the other residents would stop by her apartment to check on her. She could do the same for someone else. So your Mom could have "Sally" stop by on Tues and Thursday and your Mom could stop at "Sally's" apartment on Mon, Wed and Fri. That way they check up on each other.
I am impressed that your Mom watched a video on her phone, many would not know how to do that. (and I won't have a phone smarter than I am)
There are medic alert systems that will respond if there is no movement within a certain period of time, that might be an option.
Or a remote camera for you to monitor her. Place the camera in the kitchen or living room so you can monitor if she has been in the area. If you see no evidence that she has been around you could follow up with a well being check.
And the reason for her instability should be evaluated.
Helpful Answer (6)

Foster, she would be a LOT safer in Assisted Living, plus they manage meds and there are lots of activities and good company.
Helpful Answer (5)

I wouldn't chalk her poor ability up to not trying. It sounds like she's really struggling. I would try to have her assessed. Once the falls start, it's often a series of them and if they suffer a fracture.'s downhill.

I wonder if the reason she keeps mentioning her previous fall is that she has forgotten that she has already told you, so she thinks it's new news.

We have noticed that when seniors fall and delay calling anyone, even though they got up, it seems that they either forget to are not able to call. It's like they lose track of time.

Since you say that she is not able to care for herself is she falls, I'd take measures to get her some place where she can be taken care of, like AL. Even though she moved, it may still make sense to explore it. I hope it works out.
Helpful Answer (5)

Oh, MB, my heart goes out to you, trying to do this from afar!

About POA, it's about having the power to act in your mom's best interest, doesn't give you the ability to dictate where she lives--only guardianship would do that.

Suppose the next time she falls, she unconscious for a day or two in the hospital; bills have to be paid, decisions made about health care, etc. That's where you need financial and medical POA. something to mull over.

Mom certainly needs a cognitive evaluation and perhaps some fine tuning of her current psych meds.

Several years ago, an elderly friend who lived alone in an apartment building, well connected in the community, fell in her apartment. It was summer time, so lots of folks were away. She lay there for three days, until a neighbor noticed her newspapers piling up. the doorman CLAIMED that he'd seen her leave on a trip with a family member, but the neighbor persisted and called 911. She was alive, but spent several week in the hospital and then in rehab, eventually returning home with 24/7 aides.

My point is, please get as many local phone numbers as you can and give yours to the neighbors and friends. Encourage them to contact you.

And I hate to be suspicious, but please get POA before that nice young lady who is taking care of your mom out of the goodness of her heat does.
Helpful Answer (5)

MB, lots of very good advice in this thread. A couple points that are important I think:

The POA needs to be done. If mom can use a smart phone I would think she would be able to discuss this with you and agree to a POA. I am long distance and I was able to get a very broad POA about 4 years ago. As my parents declined I've had to take over all the bills and finances, oversee medical care and deal with many other issues. Without the POA this would all have been impossible. You need to lay this track soon.

I'm fortunate to be retired so I can jump in the car and go deal with whatever comes up. I know it's much harder for folks who are still working but sometimes it just has to be done. You can only do so much over the phone.

Whether you're long distance or living with elders stuff is still going to happen. Your mom can have a fall with you in the next room. I've tried hard through the years to get the house set up, grab bars, bed rail, potty seat, fix this and that etc.

I used to constantly worry that I wasn't doing enough, shoulda-coulda done this or that. I've now come to realize things for my folks are as good as I can make it. We won't prevent everything. People continue to age, have falls, dementia progresses, they need more care and looking after.

I'm more at peace with it all now. No guilt. I still worry but I don't obsess any longer like I used to.
Helpful Answer (5)

From your description, it sounds to me like she really needs to have either in the home health care coming in to help her or maybe a live-in caregiver. If all else fails's, definitely gain custody of her and put her into a facility. It sounds to me like she may not want to be a burden to anyone, so she tries to still do things for herself even if she shouldn't. I used to have an elderly friend who was always calling the EMT. It was already pretty frequent, but when it eventually became once and then twice daily, somehow the right people were able to gain control of the situation and get him into a nursing home. It wasn't fair to the rest of the public that he was taking help away from where it was really needed when most of the time he didn't need any help. Abuse of resources is exactly why I think something should be done to stop it. I'm glad that our local EMTs were able to finally get something done and crack down on the ongoing problem that one of the only worsened. Again, it's not fair to the rest of the public if one person is abusing the system and our resources, especially when someone else who really needs it must face delays in help arriving when is most needed.
Helpful Answer (4)

I strongly agree with Sunny, use a lawyer. It's not that expensive.

Also, if the language of the poa is written correctly you can use it to take care of her affairs and finances now as long as she agrees. Don't get a limited POA that gives you no power until she is declared legally incompetent.
Helpful Answer (3)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter