Any advice moving my elderly mom with advanced Alzheimer's and mobility issues from bed to chair? - AgingCare.com

Any advice moving my elderly mom with advanced Alzheimer's and mobility issues from bed to chair?

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My mother, who is 86 and lives with us, has had her mobility dramatically decrease over the past 3-4 months. It got so bad at the end of October that she became homebound in her bedroom on the second floor with us down the hall in another bedroom, as I cannot get her to walk short distances. We have been "handling" things as well as we can, and started to develop a "routine" to deal with her limitations, as she could get out of bed and into a wheelchair, and she could stand up briefly in the bathroom. But things are getting worse. She is having more trouble getting out of bed and into the chair, and have trouble sitting up in toilet, even when gripping the sink and with a lot of lifting help. I am starting to get troubled at this point that maybe we are getting over our head in terms of care, and I am concerned I or my wife are going to hurt our backs, which is has been happening to me. When my mother gets confused, she decides to sit on the floor, and that makes it impossible to get her up. I am thinking of getting a Hoyer Lift, but I don't know if a person with such advanced Alzheimer's will handle this. I also was looking at a "Stand Assist Power Lift," which seemed more practical, but wouldn't be of any help when she decides to sit on the floor. (I am also not sure if I can get a Hoyer Lift into the house.) Any of you caring for advanced Alzheimer's Disease patients at home, how are you handling this? It is totally a different issue when they can't walk anymore. Please only looking from responses from those caregivers dealing with this type of issue. Thanks.

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There are chairs that look like recliners but work to assist in having the patient stand up. I forgot what they are called. I have seen them used with patients that have swelling in both legs and to stand up independently causes a lot of shortness of breath due to the exertion. A transfer board is another option- a piece of wood that can be wedged under the patient's buttocks and creates a surface to gently slide the patient from the bed to a chair.
The transfer belt discussed above is another good option.
Lifting her from the floor to a chair is very difficult to do. You will definitely eventually hurt yourself and would hate to see that happen.
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Jane - we just moved from a home with 15 stairs and after an incident, I found out that you can call 911 if there is a fall and ask for LIFT ASSISTANCE. The fire department will come out and help! They were wonderful!! Also, never try to lift your loved one if they are slipping to the floor. Just gently guide them to the ground, and call 911. Provide a pillow, blanket if necessary, and just wait for help. This information provided such peace of mind for me! Hope it helps someone else out there!
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My husband is in bed 100% other than when I can get him out and into a wheelchair. He is in late stage Alzheimer's. Incontinent, and needs assistance, eating and drinking. However, I do get him up and in the chair at least once a day. I was fortunate to have some very good home health therapists who recommended a safety pole. This pole is anchored from floor to ceiling with tension. It can be easily moved around if necessary. It has provided a safety method for my husband to grab on to when sitting on the edge of the bed. He then can lift himself to a standing position with my help. No more stress on my back! He is 185 lbs! Here is where I found it so you can see what it looks like. It has saved my back and more! This with an electric hospital bed has made a total difference in my caring for my husband. On Amazon Stander security pole transfer guarantee
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I commend you and your wife for all you have done and continue to do for your mother. I have seen these hoyer lifts used in facilities, frightening to watch, and to this day I remember the fear demonstrated. Like many dedicated caregivers I know we tend to investigate all options, not wanting to let go of our loved one, relinquishing the job of our caregiving we do so well and with the best of intentions. A hoyer lift is a serious responsibility, facilities do use backup personnel as a human checklist so to speak, there is a protocol that must be followed by rules and regulations. Think of your stress with this responsibility, you and your wife's health and your mom's, especially with her memory impairment. I have heard that change and any type of trauma is not the best for ALZ. As a caregiver to my brother with ALZ, yet ambulatory, I am starting to see fear in his eyes with the simple tasks, too many to mention, he once could handle alone. It's sad to know he can't and see his fear when at one time his attitude was a "can do, don't need anyone". I am sorry I don't have an answer. A question, when is our when, we all ask. God Bless
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jeffrey20832
How would you get your mother downstairs if a problem arises and she is homebound on the second floor?
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Jeffrey20832, I have been using a Patient Lift, of which Hoyer is a brand name, for over 5 years. Previous to the lift, I was lifting my wife 8 to 10 time per day for transfers from bed to chair, chair to potty, etc. As her ability to partially stand declined I took on more of her weight. I do have shoulder problems because of this daily routine. I agree with Sandra2424 and get an evaluation of your situation. Here are some things that you are probably wondering about. The lift has two widths, a wide one for fitting around chairs and a regular one for transporting through doors. I have used the lift for picking my wife up from the bed and once when she was on the floor. The sling is an important part of this transfer process. The ones provided by the insurance coverage was virtually not acceptable. I found one from Invacare and is a high back toileting sling which is nicely padded and has a waist belt for extra security. Since insurance wouldn't cover this sling I paid for it and it is worth every dollar spent on it. There are times when my wife is afraid of the lift when she is having an "off" day but most of the time she is okay with type of transfer. I use this lift with a portable potty which can be moved around. Most of our home has tile flooring while the bedroom has carpeting with no pile. Granted it is difficult to roll on but is done all the time with no major problems. When there is a chair to chair transfer it is best to raise the sling just enough to clear the chair and move to the other chair and adjust. If you raise the sling too high and transport you will create more body swing. Moving slowly will also decrease any body swing. Positioning the potty or wheelchair is a lot better than trying to move the lift into a chair. Locking your lift wheels is very important when doing the transfer to another chair or bed. Here's hoping things work out for you and your family.
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My parents used an Arjo Trixie Lift for my sister who had dementia and was paralyzed. The Trixie Lift was smaller and easier to maneuver.  There also was carpet in bedroom.  It was so much safer for my sister and us.  We never once had a problem transferring my sister from the bed to the wheelchair or back to her bed. It was easy to connect the sling. You raise up the sling and if see a problem you stop, lower the person and fix it. I think the lift could lowered to the ground also but we never needed to do that.  We only used the lift in the bedroom. I would rent a lift before buying one to see if it works out. You could try using the lift in bed without transferring your mother to see if see how she feels and if she gets scared. Just raise her a couple of inches off the bed and get her used to that before you try to do a full transfer.  The lift was expensive but worth every penny. We were able to keep my sister at home because of the lift.
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I am a physical therapist. I would recommend that you get a referral for home P.T. They can evaluate your situation, recommend assistive equipment, and instruct you to assist with transfers.
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A "Sit to Stand" would be a first step before a Hoyer.
A Sit to Stand works well, I used on with my Husband for about 2 years. As long as he could hold on and support his weight it was great.
You place a belt around the persons waist then hook the straps to the Sit to Stand. You then either pump a lever to raise the bars or push a button to electrically lift the supporting bars.
The persons feet are on a platform and the knees are up against a support. Once they are upright you can wheel them to bed, another chair or I used this as a way to change my husband. I would raise him up pull down his pants then strip off the soiled brief (tab type) then put on another and pull up the pants. Worked great until he was unable to support his weight and keep weight on his feet.

And a side note. When my husband would begin to slip off the edge of the bed or slide down in his chair I would help him safely to the floor or support him with pillows and cushions then I would call 911. They are trained to lift someone safely. As long as there is no transport there was no bill.
Do not be afraid to call them, do not be embarrassed to call them. This is what they are trained to do, this is their job.
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My husband who has FTD (frontal temporal dementia) age 61, is unsteady on his feet but is able to walk yet with help. I have a TRANSFER BELT that he must wear when going up and down stairs, and at times walking. Got it from AMAZON. It has loops that you can grab and hold on to him with. He was ill in Dec and unable to hardly stand for a couple wks so I had a rollaway bed for him to sleep on, on the first floor of our home. The transfer belt is work its wt in GOLD! When the time comes I will get a bedside commode and he will have to stay on the first floor, no more stairs. I have a walker that he holds on to, to sit on the toilet. I have been thinking of a bedside commode that has arms and can be put over the toilet (while he still walks), then when he can not, just transfer from bed to commode. I have a caregiver for him the hrs while I work. If walking is too dangerous, he will have to be bedridden and turned every 2 hrs or so to prevent bed sores. He has fallen and I use the transfer belt to get him up. I have put a chair near him and try to lift up so to sit on it enough then he gets the idea to stand. If I can not get him up my neighbors will help me get him up. I do not know about the power lift. Watch out not to hurt your back. I wear a abdominal binder/back brace when moving him. My husband weighs about 130 lb but is "dead weight". If she is so unsteady maybe she needs to be bed bound? Having a bedside commode or chair right by the bed to transfer on to if she can bear weight and transfer works. There is a transport wheel chair also that has 4 sm wheels not the 2 big ones on the back. With my husband I want him walking and moving around, sitting in the chair, etc to keep his strength up until this is not possible. I plan on keeping him at home with hospice in the future, no nursing home if possible. I am a RN so all that training helps for sure. Any physical therapist out there to suggest ways to get a patient up of the floor when fallen? God be with you, this is the hardest thing I have ever done.
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