Time for a Wheelchair

Mom was stable for a long time. She gets such good care where she lives, and we were in an easy routine, and I felt like I didn’t have anything to write about in this blog. So I let it go…

Earlier this year, I came to the difficult decision that I won’t be able to take her back to Ohio to visit family anymore. The long flights are just too difficult for someone with incontinence and dementia; the potential for a bad situation that would make the flight miserable for everyone was just too high. I agonized over making that decision, knowing it would mean she will never see certain members of her family again in this life… but the time had come. My first priority in caring for her is to keep her safe and to keep her out of distressing situations.

Today I realized that we’ve reached another milestone. Her legs have become so weak, she could hardly make it from the door of the house to the car parked in the driveway, even with her walker. I took her to have brunch with her two granddaughters, my nieces, and parked directly across the street from the door to the restaurant. That short of a walk was too much for her, and she had to stop and sit on a bench in front of the restaurant. She’s gone from a slightly shuffling gate to dragging herself along, leaning so heavily on the walker that I kept my arm around her in case she toppled over. When we got back to her care home, she had barely taken two steps from the car before she told me she was afraid she was going to fall. I walked behind her, holding onto her hips with both hands, reassuring her that I wouldn’t let her fall… But she faltered at the single step up to the door of the facility, and I had to ring the bell for help. Mom was bent nearly double over the walker when the door opened, and the caregiver took one look at her and called for a wheelchair.

Once we’d gotten her comfortably settled in her recliner, I quietly thanked the caregiver and told her that I think I need to buy a wheelchair. She nodded and said gently, “It’s time.”

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7 thoughts on “Time for a Wheelchair

  1. Be sure to snazzy it up! Cup holder? Pin wheel? Silly bell or horn? Book holder? There’s got to a load of Pinterest/DIY ideas for wheelchairs.

    What is her favorite color? Maybe you could ‘pimp’ her ride by painting the
    tire rims with sparkly nail polish?

    You are giving her mobility again. Do
    it with some style & humor.

  2. It feels like such a big step, but when I felt it was time, my dad never objected the way I thought he would. It was clear that walking down the hospital isles to visit mom, or even going to his doctor when he was frail was easier for him and me with a borrowed wheelchair. I never bought one as the hospital always had many by the main entrance,and his assisted living had one I could borrow too. It was mainly when he was ailing,and not all the time, but it sure made a difference when the going got rough!

  3. Thanks for the update, although it is sad to see another diminishing faculty – it’s good that at least your mom’s living situation is good.
    You’ve written a wonderful blog here – I went back to read the whole account, and appreciate so much the time you took to craft each entry. I’m dealing with a spouse who has mid-stage dementia, and it helps me so much to hear how others have approached the physical, the practical and the emotional demands of caregiving. Thanks, again!

    • Thank you for taking time to comment, especially because it led me to your blog. I’ve bookmarked it to read later. It’s always helpful to hear how others are managing the crazy journey of dementia caregiving.

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