My mother-law is in memory care facility and is a fall risk, but refuses to ask for help and has fallen at least twice.

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She has dementia..She fell last night and had to go to hospital. She had injured her hip about six months ago and was in a lot of pain. The doctor was waiting for a slight fracture to heal and was going to do a hip replacement, but her pain went away, so they decided to leave it alone. She has been doing physical therapy doing pretty good, until last name night's fall. Now that put all her progress back to step one. They put her on pain meds and sent her back to the center. She is wheelchair bound, but insists she can't wait for help to go to bathroom at night, even though she wears depends. So, she gets up and goes on her own. She has even been making her bed. We had her bed moved so it could be hooked up to the alarm to sound when she tries to get up, but she talked someone into moving it back. She said it was too noisy on that wall, even though it was only about 10 ft. away from the other wall. The plug is only on that wall, so for the alarm to work it has to be on that wall. She says she doesn't want to bother anyone for help. Our family can't take care of her at home, we own two businesses and my two brother-laws work out of town. My husband isn't the main poa, but has had to make all of the decisions and we don't know where to turn next. I think the center is understaffed as it is. There are only 45 or so residents, but at night there are only like 3 attendants. They gave her an alarm button to use if she needs help, but it is huge, and she says she doesn't understand how it works. You just push the red button down to turn it on, but she thinks it is a telephone. Any suggestions? Please.

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nancy2275: Unfortunately, it's very difficult for your dementia-ridden MIL to learn a new skill...yes, just as simple as pushing a red button to call for the nurse. It's huge for a reason, but that still won't assist a person with dementia. It's akin to teaching a normal-minded person trigonometry! These facilities are understaffed, but she should NOT be arising out of the wheelchair alone. "She doesn't want to bother anyone for help" is a typical elder's response, BUT.........SHE MUST!!
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Falling is a common and complex issue. You can try everything, but an all night sitter sounds like the best option. Of course, not everyone can afford to pay for that.

A bedside toilet sounds good too, but depending on the degree of dementia, it may not work. In my cousin's Memory Care facility, she nor most of those residents would realize what a bedside toilet is for. Plus, pulling down panties or Depends, getting up and down.....they are not capable of doing that. They don't have the ability to use their hands anymore and many aren't aware of their surroundings.

I know that with my cousin, who is double incontinent, doesn't really have the ability to plan a bathroom trip. She doesn't even realize when she's urinating, yet, she will get up during the night and try to walk. We guess she's going to the bathroom, but, it's almost like she's just up and walking. It's not the purposeful walk to the toilet that you might expect with a person who doesn't have dementia.
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My mother had dementia and was falling down in her house every week. Talk about a nightmare! When I finally got her on Medicaid and into a nursing home, it was such a burden lifted, it was 'over to them' to worry about! Well, she fell down in the nursing home. Got up in the middle of the night, 3 a.m. and walked down the hall toward the nurses station, fell before getting there. She had been there over a year and had never gotten up and walked around unsupervised before. She broke her hip, was taken to the hospital, they put a pin in it, and she was taken back 3 days later. Is doing fine, she will outlive me. I must say, I am amazed a poster here has a relative in a home AND is paying for an all night sitter. Must cost quite a bit to keep the dear 93 year old lady safe and sound.
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I don't have anyone in a facility but my Aunt is here with me. We have a bedside potty. Wouldn't that help? Maybe because she didn't have to walk to bathroom she won't fall?
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There are fall safety pads for beside the bed but get non skid. A toilet schedule. Problem with bedside commode is it may encourage her to get up by herself. Extension cord for alarm.
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Would they let her use a bedside toilet. I have one for my wife, at home, which she uses during the night if she needs to. She is considered a fall risk.
Don
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MsMadge I'm impressed you didn't drop your Starbucks. You go Girl!
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Yes falls are inevitable - I fell a couple of years ago at work in the plaza in the rain - my hip has hurt ever since - but I didn't drop my Starbucks

My mom has had at least a dozen bad falls - three right in front of me
She has broken ribs, shoulder, back, wrist , ankle and has hit her head so many times it's no wonder she's now demented - add a torn tendon in her foot and it's a wonder she can walk at all but she's a big strong Viking and has controlled diabetes so pees a lot and won't go in a diaper unless by accident -
of course peeing on the carpet on the way to the bathroom was not a problem - insisting she hadn't left the trail of spots it must have been water from her hands - but I digress

Of course her 20 something caregiver has fallen 3x this year too - once during her overnight shift at 2:30 am

FF - I wear progressive lens glasses - think trifocals - the first 2weeks I was afraid to walk anywhere and stairs - forget about it - long before the scandals came out, Bill Cosby had a fabulous tale about getting trifocals at age 50 and how a curb seemed like it was three feet high but I digress again

Sunny girl
I hear the Carolinas are beautiful but afraid a move across country isn't in the cards - I'm only allowing a tiny dose of seroquel which knocks her out within an hour only if she swallows it - she'll only take it by mouth for me and most nights they either out it in coffee or ice cream to give her but she's onto them and if she feels it in her mouth will spit it out - she's always been a light sleeper so if she goes 3 or 4 hours without waking it's a good night for her but add any stress - UTI - a cold - men coming into her room or a screaming roommate into the mix and she can wake up multiple times a night .....
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Granted, I suppose that looking in on the resident is a good thing, I just don't see how that helps prevent the resident from falling if they get up and are not able to walk. In Memory Care, it's unlikely that a resident is going to reason that they will wait for a person to come on their hourly check-in.
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When my Mom was in the nursing home I was told that they looked in on Mom every hour. When I was there visiting her they checked in religiously every hour. My Mom said that they did when they knew I was there but that they didn't when it was just her. I hated not believing my Mom but since there was really no way to check up on that I had to just hope that they were.

Either way my Mom managed to fall at least three times that I knew of. She was only there for a year before she died so three times in one year she had fallen. Which doesn't sound like a lot until you think of a woman in her nineties with fragile bones and all the complications that come with that.

I guess unless we stay there with them 24/7 there is nothing we can do except hope and trust that our seniors are being given proper care.
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