Who is responsible?

My mother fell five weeks ago and broke her shoulder.  This morning she fell again, but with no injury other than bruises.  Over the past three years , besides the broken shoulder, we have had two broken hips and a compression fracture, plus many bumps and bruises.  I jokingly said today, that I was going to sew velcro on to her chair and on to the bottom of her pants, to keep her stuck to the chair!  And of course, someone pointed out that this is “not allowed”  It is against the regulations for long-term care facilities and would also violate Mother’s rights.

What that means is, my mother has the “right” to do something that will negatively impact her health and well-being as well as create more pain and suffering for her and our entire family.   Interestingly, due to her dementia, she has been deemed  “incapacitated”, so that I, as her power of attorney, make all decisions for her.  SO…what if I made the decision that it is simply too dangerous to leave her free to get out of her chair or bed on a whim???  Why would that be “wrong”??  An intriguing question to ponder. (Yes, I know about bed and chair alarms. but she can get up quickly and fall, while the alarm is ringing!)

Two weeks ago, as I was helping Mother get in to her wheelchair, and I was giving her the usual cues “Back up, Mom. Wait until you feel the chair on the back of your legs, then put your hand down on the arm of the chair…. NO…wait…MOM! NO NOT YET! !” I grabbed her arm tightly as she nearly fell, by trying to sit before she was close enough to the chair to safely do so.

She immediately screamed at me, ” You are going to hurt me!”

“Mother, ” I said, quite frustrated, ” If my choice is to let you fall or grab you, I am going to grab you.  I did not mean to hurt you but you nearly fell!  We don’t want another broken bone.”

” No” she said, ” You are just mean to me. You say mean things to me all the time.”

I answered, “Well, Mom you say mean things to me, too!”

Mother quickly responded with, ” But I am not responsible for the things I say.”

That responsible thing is quite tricky, isn’t it?



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