My MIL does not do her exercises right, but when PT comes she does them perfectly without issues. Is this normal?

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I believe she is being lazy. She doesn't like to walk, just wants to sit all day. PT thinks some of this is laziness. She's been to the doctor and there is nothing physically wrong.

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Peggy, it is pretty much normal. My Dad had a choice of living in Rehab for about 3 weeks for his physical therapy or having physical therapy at home. He choose [actually it was Mom who choose] that he live at home and have the PT come to the house. The only time Dad would do his exercises is if the therapist was a young pretty girl. Oh my gosh, Dad would be at his very best :)

Couple years later, Dad decided to try living in Rehab when he needed therapy again. What a huge difference that made. As the PT people were on-site every day of the week. And having a gym made it much more interesting for my Dad.

As we age it does become more difficult to exercise. I use to be a gym rat plus did all of my own yard work. Once I had to give my free time to help my parents, I hadn't stepped back into a gym at all, and hired someone to do the yard work for me. The mind set becomes so different.
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I know I just hate PT the few times I’ve done it! And I’m 64 years old. It’s part laziness, part that I’m just exhausted after I’m finished BUT I feel so much better if I force myself. The difference in the strength in my lower body is very noticeable to me.

So I can imagine someone my parents age doing the exercises has got to be quite a production! Out of curiosity I’d ask my LO if the excercises where making them feel better. I know I’m exhausted and sore after but after the rest day, there’s improvement!
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My dad is a very precarious walker, slow and unsteady. When he’s had PT he’s cooperated and done all asked of him, but he never follows up on his own. When asked he’ll say it’s a combination of reasons, fear of falling being number one. There’s also a lack of motivation, a feeling that “nothing helps anyway” and some self admitted laziness. He’s not receptive to trying PT anymore, though if his doctor pushed it I’m sure he would, he’s of the generation that if a doctor says it, it rules. But he’d prefer to sit and take frequent naps
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I would call it lack of motivation rather than laziness.
PT is just like any other form of exercise, and unless you are a gym rat most of us have a very hard time making ourselves get up and move as much as we know we should, even those of us who do go to the gym a few times a week are probably not following up with a rigorous work out on our off day. In stead of chastising your mother you can try to dangle the carrot of the goal she is working toward - example: "gee mom, if you are strong enough and can walk better we'll be able to go to the xxx this summer".
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Peggy, sometimes older folks just like a change in companionship, especially therapists who are skilled in bringing out the best in their patients. She could also enjoy the interaction, the response to pleasing someone outside the family, the attention, etc.

What other companionship does she have to stimulate her? MOW offers nominal interaction, but folks get to know the drivers and it can be a highlight in their day. Does she have any other social contacts?

I've noticed such a drastic difference between therapists who are compassionate and know how to coax out the best response from their patients vs. those who are more businesslike and less experienced in dealing with older folks.

Perhaps there is some aspect of laziness, or perhaps it's an effort for her to just do them alone. Do you do them with her? In my first experience with rehab PT followed by home PT, I did the exercises with my mother, matching my pace to hers but being a little slower so she could feel as though she was more skilled than I. Sometimes I played her favorite music beforehand to help create a positive mood. And sometimes I played more music afterwards to maintain that "warm and fuzzy" upbeat experience.
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