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Question
Posted by: Angie | 2010/06/12

dad lost confidence

my dad has been extremely ill. he was in a diabetic coma. Just before he lapsed into the coma at home, he tried to get to the toilet. He was too weak to make it and collapsed on the floor. He messed himself. A few days before that he slipped on the way to the bathroom and had a nasty fall. Since then he is too terrified to walk. Last week while I was helping him to the bathroom, he got so stressed out that he started hyperventilating. It was a few minutes before I could get through to him. I know he is strong enough to walk, but he does not know that. How can I help him get his confidence back? I will need to get a caregiver for him when I go back to work on monday because he cannot care for himself in anyway. He would rather wet the bed than go to the toilet. I have to change the bed about 4 time a day.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi there A,
I know from personal experience how awful this sort of situation is. Its understandable that your dad is scared to try to walk, for fear of falling again. A geriatrician's assessment might help, to be sure of how bad the situation is ( and, hopefully, isn't ) and how things are likely to progress. Depending on what happened a diabetic coma can include a degree of brain damage, which might just have made things that bit more difficult for him, and tipped the balance between confidence continence and occasional accidents.
The situation can be complex. He could be developing a degree of incontinence, and may fall because he realizes rather late that he needs the toiled, and tries to rush, leading to a fall. Scared of falling, he may postpone such visits as long as possible - leading to accidents. Think of possible aids - a commode or bedpan, for instance, to provide available toilet facility close to him without needing a walk - but having the helper encourage him to walk at other times, without urgency, to regain strength and confidence. There are adult nappies which can be quite effective, as well as absorbent pads he could sit or lie on, that can reduce the probelsm if he does have a spillage.

And of course the longer he feels unable to walk, the weaker he may become, and the less able to walk.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/06/12

Hi there A,
I know from personal experience how awful this sort of situation is. Its understandable that your dad is scared to try to walk, for fear of falling again. A geriatrician's assessment might help, to be sure of how bad the situation is ( and, hopefully, isn't ) and how things are likely to progress. Depending on what happened a diabetic coma can include a degree of brain damage, which might just have made things that bit more difficult for him, and tipped the balance between confidence continence and occasional accidents.
The situation can be complex. He could be developing a degree of incontinence, and may fall because he realizes rather late that he needs the toiled, and tries to rush, leading to a fall. Scared of falling, he may postpone such visits as long as possible - leading to accidents. Think of possible aids - a commode or bedpan, for instance, to provide available toilet facility close to him without needing a walk - but having the helper encourage him to walk at other times, without urgency, to regain strength and confidence. There are adult nappies which can be quite effective, as well as absorbent pads he could sit or lie on, that can reduce the probelsm if he does have a spillage.

And of course the longer he feels unable to walk, the weaker he may become, and the less able to walk.

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