Hi, I’m new to this forum. I currently care for my mum who is 74 years old and suffers from osteoporosis. She lives alone but I moved back here at the start of the lockdown as I couldn’t risk her being alone for a long time.
She had been receiving very basic care from a homecare provider but she was extremely reluctant to accept help and wouldn’t let them do much. It’s now cancelled due to the risk of COVID-19. She’s very proud but also very low on confidence now. She’ll allow me to help in some ways but has always struggled to reach out beyond that.
I feel helpless a lot of the time and worries about what happens when normal life resumes and I won’t be here as much.
Mum’s mobility is really restricted now. We walk around the garden together but it’s a struggle for her. She has a rise recliner chair that can help her get up when she uses it properly, which is not all of the time, and she has a stair lift which is a god send nowadays.
Her major issue is the toilet. We have a frame around it but it’s not fixed to the floor and can wobble a bit. I think it’s sturdy enough but she won’t use it so she perched above the toilet (rather than sitting on it) and holds the towel rail. It upsets me that it’s such a struggle for her. She gets terrified about going to the toilet now and it’s putting her off drinking enough water and I fear about the effects of that. I try to encourage her but I’m often fighting a losing battle. I offer to help but receiving personal care from her son seems to be a step too far for her. I’m heartbroken watching how stressed and upset she gets and desperate to make her life easier but I don’t know how. She can be stubborn to change and gets very down about her circumstances.
She is not completely incapacitated and doesn’t use a wheelchair, perhaps a blessing as the house doesn’t have enough space to move around in one. She is naturally messy and won’t allow me or anyone else to clear it up so it does create some basic hazards. She can move carefully and gradually but not enough for the life she wants.
I’m desperate to make life better for her. And when this lockdown ends I’m also desperate to maintain at least some of my own independence. I just feel lost and don’t know how to help.
Any general advice will be very gratefully received. And in particular any advice that will make her life easier at the toilet. Thank you.
My caree uses a toilet frame finds it really good no problems but you can get a grab rail to hold on to fitted near the toilet, I have seen ones on a hinge type bracket that fold back out of the way when not needed.
Any handyman, good diy person could fit a grab rail, the Council might be able to provide a trusted list of handymen who specialise in items like that.
But being afraid of drinking too much only make things worse, it simply concentrates the urine and can cause other issues, the body needs plenty of fluids to operate properly- 2 litres a day?
Drinking more would make things better, but people think more fluids in more going to the toilet, more fluids allow the bladder to operate properly.
I think your mum is afraid of getting old, afraid of losing their independence but unfortunately as we get old our mobility does get worse, its a fact of life.
One of my carees uses a walker, a frame with wheels on, has a seat as well so you can sit down on it if tired or dizzy suitable for in or out the house.
but if the house is cluttered then maybe not possible to use one.
Your mum has osteporosis and a messy house, a recipe for disaster, it only takes one bad trip or fall to break a bone and then weeks in hospital.
A very difficult situation your mum is stubborn to change but by changing, things can be made easier for her.
An O.T. may be able to help but maybe your mum doesn’t want people interfering, the O.T. would probably comment on the messiness of the house, a lot of trips and falls can be caused by clutter and mess.
I hated the average toilet frames available when I had my first knee replacement. Now I have a taller than average toilet pan. It looks completely normal, but the extra 2-3" makes such a different. The drop down wall mounted handles are also great.
Does mum qualify for the higher rate of PIP or not? If so you could use the money to pay for her adapted toilet seat. Start the process by talking with a occupational therapist who may decide to come and conduct a proper assessment first. If your local council social services occupational therapist cannot help you at all then you can find a independent one online on here https://rcotss-ip.org.uk.
The Disabled Living Foundation should also be able to answer all of your questions. Email them tomorrow or take a careful look at the advice guides on their website https://www.dlf.org.uk as well as look at the pictures. Best of wishes! You can also try out toilet aids at a specialist aids centre to see if you can find any that will meet her needs. This is a online self assessment tool worth using as well https://www.dlf.org.uk/content/asksara
If she ever uses a walking frame, get two. My wife had one for downstair use and when she went upstairs
in her stairlift there was a second one up there waiting for her.
Plenty of various designed disabled toilet seats if you google them.
Here are two…
We also hold a weekly care for cuppa session, its a chance to get together with other carers, to take a break whilst sharing information over a cup of tea or coffee. Our next session is on Tuesday 26th May at 3pm - please look at the attached link for more information and how to join.