What should I be prepared for when my elderly goes from walking to being immobile?

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I'd like to hear from others about that transition time of when their elders could walk, to when they couldn't anymore.

Within the next few months or one-year my dad will likely be there - I'm probably environment, assistance, financially prepared, but not emotionally. To be frank, how long was the "bedridden" period? Does it just vary all over the place? I think I'm more prepared to for the day he passes, rather than the days, weeks, months, years (?) just before.

The docs seem wholly unprepared with advice or info about this, but I think other caregivers will have plenty to share. Thanks "in advance."

Answers 1 to 10 of 41
Top Answer
Please don't assume that because your dad can't walk, he's immobile. He can and should use a wheelchair to get around. My mom went through this transition in the past year due to bad knees. At 89 her doc won't even consider knee replacement; surgery and recovery are too difficult.

If your parent still has some leg strength and arm strength, a wheel chair is a good option. your dad should be able to get physical or occupational therapy-paid by medicare - to help him learn to "pull" with his feet, roll and turn with his hands. My mom goes slow but she still gets around under her own power. It's a small bit of independence but it helps keep her as active as possible and she feels good that she can get around to the table, toilet, etc. There is some added difficulty getting TO the toilet, sometimes she needs help but an aide and grab bars are always close by.

If your dad will be bedridden in your home, ask his doctor to prescribe a home health nurse for a week or two to help train YOU. you need to understand how & when to turn him, how to move him without hurting yourself, how to use a bedpan, how to bathe him. You should also be very aware of pressure (or bed) sores whether he's in a wheelchair or bedridden these can be quite painful and become septic and fetid.

It's very wise of you to seek advice from others. Doing something like this is hard work -physically and emotionally. Best of luck to you and your father.
know what you mean- i have same prob. mom unstable- falls- dizzy - i dont know wy -weak - due to always staying in pajamas evryday and sleeping till 4 or 5 when she lived in her house with my brother- nevr went to the store or anything for abut 4 yrs. she has been living with me.- she cant use a wheel chair or a walker cuz she does not have good use of her hands- has hard time even holding a spoon- alzhemiers- i dread the bedridden thing comin up too - she cant talk either- its sad- good luck to you too -
I agree with everything Lynn wrote. Especially the part about not being immobile.

One question: Is the inability to walk due to strength, muscle issues or something else? Is a walker a possible option. My mother used a walker for several years before needing a full time wheel chair. Also, a combination of a wheel chair and walker are possible.

If you father does move to a wheel chair, it is important he get out of it as much as possible. A "lift chair" can help with the transitions. A visiting nurse and/or PT is an excellent idea.

One thing I recommend if your father does require a wheel chair is to invest some time rearranging his closets, cabinets, etc., especially in the kitchen. Just moving staples, glasses and dishes to waste height can make all the difference in the world.

wf
SARCOPENIA - He's okay getting up from bed, going to his desk, going to the restroom, going to the living room recliner and back. It takes all manner of chicanery and trickery to get him to go outside for a "walk." It used to be easy just two months ago.

I've done some research, and it seems to be sarcopenia, the fancy term for losing muscle with age. It seems to accelerate rapidly above 80, which my dad is. The only counteracting forces is some resistance training, even just once a week, so we will try that.

Otherwise it seems that with age, the cells in the body don't process protein-to-muscle well, and there's not much to counteract that via diet, meds. Since he likes nuts anyway, we'll pretty much give him carde-blanch on peanuts to snack on to increase his protein intake.

If he were to be in a wheelchair, he wouldn't have the arm strength to move it around. We'd really have to have someone with him 24-7 then it seems. Right now, he "hugs" the walls as he walks around now, so we've arranged furniture as needed to clear his paths. Unfortunately I rent my place, otherwise I'd put up arm rails all around.

We've made a "snack" station that is a little above waist level for him to pour himself something to drink and to place snacks. It's right near his room..a bit of encouragement to get "up and out" and moving at least a little.

You know, babies at least get to transition smoothly from crawling to toddling, but at least in this respect, growing old -- doesn't seem to have as nice a transition.

I once saw on a TV special about taking care of elders in Japan, a community center had a walking-lap pool that was heated and with water at chest height and hand rails inside the pool with railed-stairs down from ground level. Has anyone ever seen such a great accommodation in the U.S? Or are we just so far behind?
Robert just read your post on the transition to immobility. My reaction upon reading your post and sharing was a deep sigh and a whole lot of understanding. You are a remarkable son, and far more prepared than you may think! I learned more from you than I could possibly share with you. Sounds like you are already in transition. Sometimes we just don't realize how strong we are because we feel so weak and emotionally vulnerable. Keep sharing and talking out loud and learning. It's the very best thing you are doing, both for your Dad, and yourself. Here I sit, cheering you on!
Yes, there are therapy pools in the US. My mother has used one for several years. Talk to your family physician. There is hopefully a spa or gym in your area that is associated with a hospital and that has this type of facility.

Also, you can look into a "hoveround" wheelchair that is electric. 24/7 care is a little intrusive at first, but after a while things settle into themselves.

Good luck,

wf
Goodluck.
My grandmother is 98 years old, just in the last few weeks unable to use her legs; my mom who is 67 and in decent physical health is her sole caregiver. I go to assist daily, mostly at night to help with getting her ready for bed as I work full time; I have been online doing a lot of searches looking for equipment or tools that can help my mom transition without hurting herself. There are nurses that comes out weekly to keep check on basic things like blood pressure and circulation and bathe her twice a week but it is the regular things like to the toilet and from bed to chair movments that I feel over time will wear my mom out.
Any suggestions?
Just because someone can no longer stand does not mean that it has to be difficult to transfer them. Balance Pivot transfer techniques reduce the transfer weight by 90% allowing a smaller caregiver to transfer a larger person without stress or strain. There are several excellent tools about the size of a laptop that can make this possible called a mrswivel.
My dad who is 79 went to bed doing fine and next day could not stand or sit up. He is in the hospital and the doctors have no answers. 2nd day in hospital started having trouble talking at times. Sometimes he doesn't make sense. He had flu shot a few days before. He didn't have a stroke
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One of our geriatric centers here has a walk-in pool that less mobile people can use. Sottele, your dad needs a good neuro exam, Guillain-Barre syndrome comes to mind. And that could be treatabl

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