Here I am again with a question for you dear ladies. We walk my mother-in-law everyday unless it's raining or truly too cold. (Sounds like a puppy!) Yesterday, she accompanied me to my doctor's appt, as she can't be left home alone. I handed her a magazine in the waiting room. Big mistake! She read an article about walking which said to start slowly and gradually build up. I didn't even want to walk yesterday, as I'm sick, but she had her coat on and was bound and determined to go alone. Of course, she can't do that, though she doesn't understand why not. So I got my coat on and out we went.
When she first came to live with us in October, the farthest she could go in the beginning was the neighbor's mailbox. We've gone a little farther everyday and now she walks for about 1/2 hour. Yesterday, she informed me that she had to stop at the neighbor's mailbox because the article said to build up slowly. I explained that we had already done that, that she has been building up slowly since she came to us, that she goes a lot farther than that already, blah blah blah. She was very incensed, but I managed to get her to the end of the block. She finally just turned around and didn't get a very good walk at all. Although I was happy to not be out there myself since I feel really yucky, my happiness isn't the point. She needs to walk if she's going to stay strong enough to stay with us. Once she can't get herself around by herself, I can't help her.
Sometimes I've gotten her to walk farther by distracting her with conversation. Sometimes not. But we now have this new issue of "The Article." She's very proud of herself for "deciding" to walk "so far", as far as the neighbor's house. I need her to walk like I know she's able. I'm hitting a brick wall with this. Any suggestions from you sweethearts?
Remember the first rule Planet Alzheimer?!?! Don't argue with her. If she has in her mind that she can only go to the mail box then so be it. If you can calmly distract her without causing distress to her do it. If not go back in the house with her and try it again later. Soon enough she will forget the article and it will be something different. She might walk to her old standards or she might refuse to do it at all.
You are trying to do what is good for your Mom but you have to remember that they rule the day. If short walks are all she is willing to do then so be it. You really don't know if she was just feeling as yucky as you were and didn't know how else to express it. Some days Mom goes to walk on her own and some days you can not pry her out of her chair. There is no way to know the why.
So my best advice is to do whatever she can without argument. Distract when you can but getting that stuck message out of her head is not for you to do. She will do that when she is ready. Such is life on Planet ALZ!
My MIL got to where all she did was lay in bed all day. The next thing you know, her legs kept falling from under her and she would act worse mentally. The doctor ordered PT for her for a couple months (whatever the insurance allowed). The PT told her to move the couch out of her room and the chair, so that she would watch tv somewhere else and be more mobile. Needless to say, she wouldn't move the couch and she started watching tv in a chair in her bedroom. The therapy got her on her feet again. of course we are all waiting for this to happen again since she loves laying around in that awful bed. When we come visit her, she wants us to be around her while she is in bed like a queen. I have a personal pet peeve staying in someone's bedroom or sitting on someone's bed.
Needless to say, walking and moving keeps her moving and more sane. You can't let them quit even if they want to because they will talk you into it.
Last edited by moderator2; 01-14-2009 at 10:14 AM.
Reason: remove the quote
deb, i agree with you. this is planet alz....we have to stop trying to keep them in our world. if the neighbours mailbox is it, then that is it. if you can't take sitting on someone's bed, then don't go. making them live in your world is beating your head against a wall. i know cause i still have the headache. if their behavoir is life threatening then step in, otherwise the path of least resistance is gonna keep YOU sane longer...i'm probably gonna get some flak for this way of thinking but....ultimately who's gonna remember how far you got them to walk or how you got them out of the bedroom? Did they really appreciate it?
Just go along with her.. if she thinks going to the neighbor's mailbox is what she needs to do, turn around and go back with her. In the course of the many years I cared for my Mom, I learned that I must always agree with her, and only try to change her mind if it is a matter of life or death. Let everything else go. Yes Mom, exactly, you are so right, what an interesting article, I am so glad you read it. Soon she will forget it. Enjoy the fresh air, whether a little or a lot. Get well soon!
I totally agree with you upatnite. I still hve the headache from trying to rationalize the irrational and try to keep Mom and Dad in my world. I finally learned to smile and nod. If Mom wants to walk, we walk. If she wants to go back to the room and sit, we sit. If she thinks that her rant in wellness produced results, I will take them cookies next time I go. If she repeats a story 50 times I smile and tell her how wonderful it is. Tomorrow the story will change. As long as she is not in one or her major melt downs.... I can take ANYTHING! And I have even learned to deal with them without going nuts.... because she is in AL and I don't have to do it all
Okay, I'm listening to you. I will just go along with her. Short or long or nonexistent, it will be what it will be. I'll let go of my desire for her good and realize that I simply can't change things. Her good (and mine!) is, I think, exactly what you're telling me.
I think you got it. We have our desires for them but what makes them happy is what is best. We push ourselves to be healthy through exercise, eating rights, and doing all those right things. We want others to do the same. They don't have the cognitive ability to know what is right in our world. They function on a momentary basis with what feels right to them in the moment. So yes, Mom could probably use a good walk but if that is not what she has in mind you only frustrated her and yourself by pushing her. Then you are both in a sour mood instead of both being happy with what is. It is the same thing as trying to make a baby wait for supper. WAAAAAAAA and you are both miserable