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Should mom be given a walker


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Old 12-14-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
sha6084
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Should mom be given a walker

Hello everyone, 6 mos ago my mama was given 6 mos to live, but she stabilized, from a seizure, and lack of potassium. She is now eating less and loosing weight, but pretty stable. Now she needs assistants standing from sitting, and she needs assistants sitting
and getting out of bed. My sisters want me to call for physical therapy to evaluate her for a walker. I say she does not need a walker, but needs to be assisted standing, sitting, and walking. I say she cannot be taught to use a walker, at this stage. My mama is 24 hour care. She can put on her slippers, thats all. I feed her and remind her to put the spoon in her mouth. She loves sweets. She still looks at magazines and circle words. She sits in a recliner I put in from of the window and takes care of her dolls. She went from not urinating during the day to to urinating whenever. I switched her to diapers, because she cannot get up to go when her bowels move. I suspect she is in cognitive for urine. She sleeps all night and now she sleeps a lot most days. But I think its now our time to assist her and watch her more closely walking. I suspect she will be bound to her chair soon. Her muscles are getting weak with arthritis.

 
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

sha, you are exactly right. Not only would the walker be useless because your mother can not "learn" to use it, but it would also be dangerous. It is a trip and fall hazard when used improperly. To "learn" how to use a walker (and there is a right and wrong way) Mom would have to be able to understand and remember the instructions she has been given. Obviously this is not going to happen. You are exactly right, you need to help her stand up, help her sit, and walk with her.

What you may want to get is a gait belt. You can get one at any medical supplier. It is a wide cloth belt that goes around the waist. It basically gives you a handle to help her rise and sit down, or to stabilize her when she is walking. A physical therapist can quickly show you how to use it.

You are having the right thoughts on this

Love, deb

 
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:49 PM   #3
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

Hello,

I am sorry to hear of your mothers condition, and may I respectfully offer you another opinion regarding her potential use of a walker.

While I understand your concern that providing her with a walker could create a situation that would be less safe than she is now, imaging that she could not learn to use the walker safely.

It does sound as if she should be under the watchful eye of an assistant anytime she needs to transfer from bed to chair or sitting to standing. I agree that a belt should be in place to provide extra support during her transfers, but to eliminate the use of a walker would not allow her to make use of her muscles to stand or walk with support.

Any time she can stand or walk under her own power, whether with a protective belt being held, or a walker being leaned upon, the better her muscles will remain, her circulation will be increased, and her confidence will be affirmed.

This is not to say that she should be left alone or unsupervised anytime she needs to sit, stand or walk, rather that she have the option of using a device like a walker to provide any extra support possible.

This has been my experience, and of course the final decision is what works best for you and your loved one. My best to you...

 
Old 12-15-2013, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

One thing you can do is to make sure the chair which she sits in is the proper height. If it is too low, which many are, it would be difficult for her to get up and down. It should also have substantial arms so there is somewhere for her to push up. the proper chair would eliminate any need for the walker. Leaning forward to use a walker to get up is too far away and too high for most. It pitches them forward in an unnatural position which is a fall risk. Most PT will teach a patient how to stand or sit using the appropriate chair and not the walker. You want a vertical lift out of a chair and not a forward pitch. We had to raise Dad's chair 5 inches to make it appropriate for him.

When walking, inappropriate use of the walker can make it more difficult rather than easier. Many will try to carry the walker or hold it in a way that it either scoots away from or is a trip hazard. Yes, I am a bit skiddish about a walker. Pops would benefit, it would make it easier for him! Instead he fell over the walker and ended up breaking his neck spending the next 9 months in a halo brace which lead to the strokes that were his demise. They sound so simple but in reality there is a lot to think about. I would never give anybody a walker that could not retain the knowledge to use the walker properly and have the necessary training to do so.

I to believe in using every ability they have as long as possible. Just do not depend on her to know how to use devices appropriately without constant supervision.

Love, deb

 
Old 12-16-2013, 12:20 AM   #5
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

I agreed with you that Mom does not need a walker. Your sister may be in denial or does not understand her dementia. It sounds like she is in pretty late stage and needs comfort care. If you are thinking of making her walk, forget about it. It is about making her feel good. If she feels bad walking, why make her walk the walker?
She would have to learn to use the walker and she would not be able to turn or operate the walker. She would need 2 persons next to her to watch her using the walker. Also, in very late stage, she would fall and break her hips. Using a walker could make her fall badly. A wheelchair is safer. If she sleeps a lot, it doesn't help to make her walk. It is way passed the therapy now. A therapy doesn't hurt and the person may say the same thing.

Hugs,
Nina

 
Old 12-16-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

I respectfully retract my last comments if there is any chance of added injury to your mother. I also lost my mother to a broken neck from a fall, and anything in the world that can be done to avoid that possibility should be be first choice. So sorry your family is in this difficult situation.

 
Old 12-17-2013, 06:25 AM   #7
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

I agree with Deb. My experience with walkers is that there are basically 2 kinds, one that rolls which requires the person to have enough arm strength to squeeze the brakes; and one that doesn't, which requires the person to have enough arm strength to lift up the walker to move forward. My MIL did not have enough arm strength for either, and would forget to use the brakes also so the rolling walker would keep rolling after she had stopped, creating a dangerous situation. She fell multiple times with her walker, finally broke her hip.

Good luck....

 
Old 12-17-2013, 07:11 AM   #8
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Talking Re: Should mom be given a walker

Thanks everyone for your replies. I have a gait belt, I talked with the social worker and I am going to stop beating around the bush and go in the direction of comfort care and hospice. This way I won't have to worry about what to do for her and we can keep her safe and comfortable. Working with four Sisters is difficult. Everybody knows whats best without researching anything. Dementia is not easy on families. Love you Guys

 
Old 12-17-2013, 09:11 AM   #9
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

Sha, I feel your frustration with all the voices telling you want to do and each voice is on a different page. One doesn't want to be bothered, one in denial, one thinks they are helping, one may just be angry, and all are giving you demands that don't fit the situation with your Mom. All the while you are trying to keep your eyes on Mom and what is best for her while hearing and responding to all the chatter around you. I have sisters

You and your Mom will benefit from Hospice. I hope your Hospice team is as amazing as mine was. Their understanding, knowledge, and compassion was such a welcome relief. The social worker was so very helpful in keeping the family all on one page. The nurse was there whenever Mom needed her... along with her care giver, volunteer, and doctor. It sure made life easier for me to have all those professional opinions to fall back on

I do wish for the best for you all... and keep me updated

Love, deb

 
Old 12-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #10
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

My heart goes out to you and your mother; there are so many reasons that a walker isn't good for someone with AZ or dementia, let alone if the person also has arthritis and other issues. My MIL has dementia(getting toward late stages); she is al active person and needs 24/7 watching. Just before Thanksgiving she got ahead of her caretaker and reached for her walker, and either miss-judged where it was or it rolled as she grabbed. Regardless, the caretaker found her on the ground with a broken arm that the osteo doctor just confirmed isn't going to heal properly and she is not a candidate for surgery.

 
Old 01-02-2014, 11:05 PM   #11
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

Sha, I asked my husband's neurologist if I should get him a walker and he said "no" because, he wouldn't learn how to use it and the walker could roll out of control with him holding onto it causing injuries. Best wishes!

 
Old 01-03-2014, 07:16 AM   #12
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Re: Should mom be given a walker

Hello Sha...Just know that you are not alone. Most of us "baby boomers" are becoming the caretakers of our aging parents, especially with the onslaught of Alzheimers and Dementia. Please do not second guess your decision to move forward with hospice care.

As for siblings...I am the youngest of 6 @ 52. I've always had to be the one to SHOW UP and get things done. Thankfully I hold the POA with medical directives for my mom. It's given my siblings MUCH to ***** about, but was able to get my mom the care she needed when she fell, and needed full hip replacement in 2005. She fully recovered to walker-assisted mobility for 8+ years. At the onset of dementia, she was required to give up the walker (for her own safety). She is now in a wheelchair full time.

I am under the constant scrutiny of all 5 siblings who NEVER put boots on the ground for my mom, or even offer emotional support to me. However, I have NO REGRETS in my decision to place her in a living facility after her surgery. She has been well-taken care of in beautiful surroundings and provided many services and amenities that I simply could not have provided.

I am at PEACE with my decision. I pray that you can find that, too=)

Last edited by WhistleDixie; 01-03-2014 at 07:18 AM.

 
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