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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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My question is in regards to eldercare and when intervention

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Hello, My question is in regards ***** ***** and when intervention may be necessary to evaluate conditions and abillities. I am currently living in my parents home and acting as caretaker for my 84 year old mother. I am divorced and on disability so I have the time and have been able to meet her requests and needs for some time. Approx. 15 months ago she took a bad fall due to my grandson giving her a running hug. He is 3 and caught her off balance. Mom was hospitalized for a short period of time and spent about a week in a care facility for rehab in order to walk with a cane. She was getting around pretty good with my assistance, ie: I drove her car, opened doors, made meals, added safety devises around the house, in her bathroom and shower. She started to have problems with her hip about 4 weeks ago and I shared with her I felt it may be due to her leaning to one side while using the cane. I suggested using the walker around the house to help her walk upright and still strengthen her legs.
She flat refused do to dependency concerns and dismissed any further suggestions. About two weeks ago she walked into the front room and caught the cord on the shop vaccum cleaner. It was rolled up and placed on top of the appliance but had slipped to the floor next to it. She caught it with her foot and once again she fell on her left side. After X-Rays and an examination by her primary care Dr. she was told nothing was broken and to rest for several days & try to be walking again within 7 days. It has been 14 days and she is just now starting to walk while pushing her wheel chair. She is scheduled for physical therapy in two days but she has become very aggetated with me .
Even though I ask her repeatedly if she needs anything, food, bedding change, a ride
in somewhere, whatever she wished for I am met with a constant NO! I understand how she is tired of hurting and being in bed as much as she is, but any attempts to assist her
with mobility options or whatever might help her gain her strength back, she refuses due to not wanting to become dependent on these devices. I am within a few minutes at most to assist her with her needs and am with her when she attempts to walk with the wheel chair. Now she is angered because she walks with her chair without letting me know and feels she is having to do things alone without my help. I can not sit by her bedside 24 hrs daily and wait until she wants something and she has already had me fetching her whatever she dreams up or has a craving for whether it be food or intertainment. How and when do I seek additional assistance or evaluation concerning her condition? My sister is a nurse but her disabled son requires her full inclusion 24/7. I realize this and have not requested any help from her as it is difficult for her to do so. I am doing fine as far as being able to be a caretaker for my Mom and can provide whatever she needs or requests. Unfortunetly, I cannot force her to attempt alternate activities, as minimal as possible in an attempt to lift her spirits and attitude. I feel my being inept to assist her in her view will only become more of an issue. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, ***** *****

Hi Michael! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how difficult this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring person and you are doing an incredible job with your mom. It's truly remarkable the efforts you're putting in. She's extremely fortunate to have you there.

My concern is that she's not thinking in practical ways about her situation and how to make it the best it can be. She's very frustrated at not being able to do things that she was able to before with each succeeding setback she has. But instead of taking the steps to try to adjust and to maximize her mobility and abilities afterwards, she just stays frustrated and lets the frustration out on you. I'm sorry you have to bear that frustration and it's really very wonderful of you to take it as well as you do.

It is important, though, at this time that she accept some guidance as to how to improve her mobility and maximize her situation. That means from professionals, doctors and physical therapists, etc. And that will mean most likely having some aides come to her home to help her and to give you a break.

Please don't minimize the importance of you getting a break. You are a caregiver and it seems you're a full time caregiver. That's an incredible load you're taking on and you need to have aides coming in to help you get a breather on a more regular and consistent basis so that you can help her most effectively, okay?

Along with that, the doctors and therapists who will prescribe the home care assistance will help her with skills and will help you as well in how to help her. So that is an additional important advantage.

So, yes, this is the right time to get additional help involved in your mom's care. That is a good decision you're considering making and I encourage you to move forward with it.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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