Mobility issues not as bad as it would seem

My mother who has vascular dementia and osteoarthritis needs help moving around and getting to the toilet (where she goes constantly). She shuffles her feet and can’t lift her legs and constantly complains about the pain, which I believe is genuine as it must be a painful condition and has painkillers for it. She refuses to exercise or do any walking that is not necessary other than getting to the toilet or bed, both of which are 10 paces from her armchair. She has to use a stick or walking frame to avoid falling over. However…when there is no one in the house we have observed via a webcam that she can get up and wander around downstairs with no stick or frame and forage through the kitchen cupboards until she has had enough and then make her way back to the armchair to await our return. Needless to say when we do return she suddenly can’t walk again and doesn’t believe what we observed her doing even if you show her. This is extremely frustrating as it would seem the mobility issues are not just mechanical but more mental as she believes she can’t walk and wants help all the time. Do we gently refuse helping her and try to make her move herself knowing that she is able to? We would like to keep her as mobile as possible and now that we know what she is capable of I’m not sure we are helping in coming to her aid all the time as she wants.

Hi maybe your mum thinks if I can walk unaided they won’t come round as much I’ve come to realise that old people are quite devious does your mum have other Carer’s come in or just family it’s hard to take a step back or to know what to do for the best I have arthritis and some days it’s so bad I use two crutches and other days I can manage by walking near the wall and holding on to door frames take care

She lives with us. She only walks around unaided when we are not around. When we are around we get the refusal to walk anywhere and the struggling and shuffling like she is going to fall. This is why I am not sure if we should be helping her as we know she is capable of much more but she makes us feel bad if we try and get her to walk

E, this makes me think of The Little Britain sketches! Do you know the ones I mean?

I would gradually fade the amount of mobility support you give her.

She is probably most stiff and in pain when she first gets up in the morning or has been in the same position for awhile. The stiffness will ease as she moves around. I would avoid challenging her about it, it’s likely to only make her deny it all the more.

Make sure you leave her for awhile every day, so she continues to have a walkabout.


Haha yes I know the one you mean and it is a bit like that. Thanks, I feel she should get less help but just feel a bit guilty doing it.

Dump the guilt, you are not,causing this, blame the dementia instead!