Mom in wheelchair with very swollen ankles that are tender to the touch. Staff doesn't seem to be worried, should I be?

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She has dementia and can no longer walk, they do get her up a few times a day to walk the halls, but other than that, she is pretty much in the wheelchair all day. Her ankles are very swollen and when I tried to rub them, she complained they hurt when I touched them. I asked the nurse and she said a Dr told her that was more "cosmetic" and I should not worry, but I am. I KNOW there is something wrong and I can't seem to get them to take me seriously. I have asked them to set up an appt with the visiting DR and give me his analysis of her situation and what can be done. What else to you suggest I do? I'm very worried - I know this is not "cosmetic". Thank you.

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Joylee, there are times when home care does not work out even with significant help - for example, many elders refuse care from anyone outside the family and there is not enough family to go around, or their needs are just too great. But you could start a separate discussion post with that question because it is not specific to the question of ankle swelling.

Not that many people post on here to tell us that home care is going just great, no problems at all! Not too many even post how wonderful various care facilities are either, unless it represents the relief of an unbearable burden for them after trying to make home care work for everyone.
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From observation through either your family or community or acquaintances, what is your opinion of willingness to keep disabled loved ones in their home versus putting them in a nursing home? Regarding expenses of the matter of caring for some one who can no longer care for themselves, why does it appear that individuals who need supplementation financially must be PUT in a care center, rather than have some in home care help and needed money for food and medical supplies to care for a loved one, supplied through government funding . It really is cheaper for the government to supply needed expense money to individuals to stay in their own home. Has anyone really noticed how much a care center seems to be obligated to charge per month FOR each resident if they are forced to be in care center? joylee
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contact the long term care ombudsman, there should be a poster on the wall in the facility with his/her name and phone number. Edema can be indicative of uncontrolled medical issues. Ask about a restorative program at the facility plus the aides should be able to get her up and walking several times per day. A foot stool or a rest in bed where her feet are up can also help with the edema. You have a right to be concerned and it never hurts to ask questions.
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Yeah, it may be nothing but "dependent edema" but several things should be ruled out - heart, low protein, and infection or DVT if also red or warm and tender more in the calf area.
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I would have her checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Anytime there is swelling in the legs or feet is a concern that requires medical examination.
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Sitting in a wheelchair makes it worse. The legs have to be elevated level with the heart. Left unattended, the legs can begin to ooze and are prone to infection. Keep her away from salt--get an MD order for no added salt.
Never accept third hand advice "the nurse said the doctor said...." PHOOEY. Talk to the MD directly and tell him when the last time she had a blood clot in her legs. Very important you do this and check the weight often.
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First, if your concerned, make an appointment with a doctor and if possible take her yourself. Her feet should be elevated. Edema is a symptom. She could be experiencing acute or beginning renal failure, heart related issues or such. Swelling should always be a concern. If the home has her in a chair all day, she needs to be repositioned EVERY TWO HOURS Max. Walking will help some, but again elevation. She may be getting a high sodium diet as well. The swelling shouldn't be causing pain.
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Do not allow them to put this off!! Listen to her lungs and make sure she is not accumulating fluid in her lungs. Check her weight, if she has gained weight suddenly she is retaining fluid and that is a bad thing, especially if she has an enlarged heart or CHF.
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