My husband and I have been taking care of my mom. She has mild (?) dementia. She has slowly done less and less for herself. It is almost like she likes the attention and is lazy. That sounds so awful. She is super thin and frail and the lack of movement has made it so walking unassisted is difficult.
The question is even though we have been tag teaming her to help her not fall. (Trying to be near, setting up ways she can call for us, etc) she continues to go to the bathroom without us. I say mom you are going to fall again. We are right here and it just doesn’t seem to sink in. Why are we rearranging our lives only to have her be like this? I don’t want her in a nursing home. I just want to know how to navigate this issue so she doesn’t fall and break something. She says she doesn’t want to bother us and we say we’d rather you have us help you than break something.
She is in the bathroom a lot because of IBS and has just started having to wear depends. She cries because she’s embarrassed but I need to help clean her up. I try and help her keep her privacy and dignity.
Thank you

Thank you for each and every reply. I am always comforted by your responses. Knowing that you each have the experience makes me apppreciate what you say. Also, I feel that you all understand that I am trying to do the best I can. It is so painful to watch such a smart woman lose herself mentally and physically. It is sad to miss my mom and she’s still here. May I take your advice and do better. Thank you, again.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Patticake2

All good suggestions here.

I just wanted to mention that when she says something like “ I didn’t want to bother you” I think that’s just a reflex statement. She really isn’t doing anything but following her impulse to get to the bathroom.

I would help her and try to get the IBS under control.

Don’t try to convince her to call you. She probably isn’t able to remember although every now and then she might surprise you.

My mom without dementia made the decision to get up and use a bedside commode right by her bed in a rehab. I was in the room. She just got up and down she went. It took several people to get her up but she wasn’t hurt. They put one of those alarms on her bed and it was so sensitive we couldn’t stand it. Very annoying each time she moved. She and I both wanted it off. She had learned her lesson. But she was able to make that decision (and sign a release).

Just reinforcing the statements made that falls can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to 97yroldmom

You can't prevent a fall. Even in LTC, they do what they legally can but...there are falls.

Mom has Dementia. first thing to go is their ability to reason. Being able to process what your saying. And comprehending. They become like toddlers. Only toddlers eventually learn. Mom won't. Her brain is dying. If you have the room, put a commode over the toilet. Gives her arms to help her up and keep her balance. There are splashguards u put in place of the bucket.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29

You could always try a pressure sensitive bed alarm/ sensor pad (s) for her bed and chair(s) so that you will hear the alarm sound and know when she is on the move.... but nothing helps prevent falls 100%, sadly. (Falls can happen even with someone assisting them... and one is 'assisted to the floor' as gently as possible. Bones in aged females are quite brittle oftentimes, and it doesn't take much to have something happen.)

Yes, it is an adjustment for a private person to accept any kind of personal cleaning help and I would say to my mom when I would help her in 'embarrassing situations' that, "You helped clean me up plenty of times in my life... now it is my turn to have the privilege to help you in return.... really." I would say that over and over again. She came to accept the help eventually and I would say that I was just her 'arms and legs' doing what she couldn't do for herself. I got mom a medical shower chair for her walk- in shower (she had a hand held shower spray wand to use) and installed grab bars and such for her to safely transfer. I would help her shower a few times a week like that for years.

Eventually my mom did fall again, losing her balance ( she didn't live with us...) and because of a broken arm at age 91, had to move from her condo to an resort -like assisted care and now to newly built memory care unit - and LOVES it. (Talk about getting lots of attention!!!) Not all 'nursing homes' are what they used to be like back in the day. There are many new, bright, wonderful places of care that are opening up left and right... it may be an option for you down the line.
Sounds like you and your husband are a wonderful caregivers for your mom.

Also, with early stages of dementia, there IS a marked decrease in what they can do for themselves... in all areas. It isn't so much as her being lazy, as it is perhaps that she doesn't quite remember what to do every time... due to how her mind is functioning now. She will slowly forget what was once normal for her to do.

It would be worthwhile to have her evaluated for what stage of dementia she is at. There are lots of things to do yet in the early stages (from medication to working on holding onto her mental cognitive capacities as much as she can, etc...) that are of no use in the later stages.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to RedBerryFarm

I’ve learned about falls that you can literally be right beside the person and the fall still happen. Many just aren’t preventable. Has she had a physical therapy assessment to see what can be done to help her mobility? Medicare will pay for in home PT with a doctors prescription. If she likes attention she’d enjoy having them come. PT may also have ideas for you on how to help and how not to help
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Daughterof1930

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