Crawling on the floor

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Marinajane, May 16, 2018.

  1. Marinajane

    Marinajane Registered User

    Feb 25, 2018
    i get very distressed because my husband who is not mobile and is hoisted for everything manages to slide himself on to the floor ten or more times a day in his nursing home and it breaks my heart to go in and find him on the floor. He says it is an irresistible urge. He hasn’t hurt himself. The nursing home says he is choosing to do this and is aware of his choice and the risks. He may be bored and frustrated or it may be because it is the only thing in his control. A carer asked me how I feel about him staying down if it’s what he wants. They do get him up with the hoist but he is often down as soon as they leave him for a few minutes. They put a crash mattress and alarm mat by the bed at night. Has anyone else had this experience?
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    He's not causing himself or anyone else any harm, so why not allow him this choice?
  3. Malalie

    Malalie Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    When MIL was first diagnosed, during our initial rummaging around the internet to try and get ourselves informed, I do remember seeing a picture of a room in a care home that had been especially adapted because the PWD preferred to be on the floor. It had a mattress on the floor and padding like a giant cot bumper all around the walls and over the carpet, and the person was awake, but on the floor. It was quite an upsetting image at the time, as MIL was in an early stage then. Looked a bit like a padded cell for the lower three feet...

    I think I understand a little more now - in fact, on a few occasions that we found MIL on the floor in her own home, she hadn't fallen at all - just said "I felt like lying on the floor, I wanted to go to sleep on the floor..." Maybe it is a recognised behaviour, and the carer was just sounding you out about how you would feel if they just let him get on with it, and made adaptations. She/he must realise that it is a most upsetting thing for you to see.

    So I'm sorry Marina - no experience really, but at least it seems that it's not just your OH. (Wish I could find the image, but it seems to have disappeared!)
  4. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    My late mum, not mobile and hoisted, often used to slide herself onto the floor so it must be something to do with the dementia
  5. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    south-east London
    My husband often 'puts himself on the floor ' - in his case it is usually a result of frustration and I think it is about having some kind of choice when everything else is out of his control. It can look alarming but staff at the hospital unit where he is currently a patient will make things safe by keeping an eye on him and putting down a mattress. They also regularly ask him if he would like to get back up, and when he is ready, they help him.

    He is not the only one in the unit to do this - though with the others they seem to just feel happier on the floor rather than it being a sign of frustration.

    I sometimes wonder if it goes back to childhood. I certainly spent a lot of time sitting on the floor as a child and young teenager and was quite happy and comfortable with it - if adults were visiting you always gave up your armchair or seat to them. I also remember my mother enjoying nothing better than to stretch out on the floor in front of fire to watch telly on cold, wintry evenings until she was well into her 50s :)

    If truth be told, I also sit on the floor near the fire some wintry evenings and I'm in my 50s - like mother like daughter :)

    Maybe those who are choosing to put themselves on the floor are recreating a secure feeling from the past.
  6. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    It could be because of a blood pressure issue. Orthostatic or postural hypotension is common in dementia patients and when your blood pressure drops, you sometimes don't feel safe standing or even sitting. Your body wants to get down flat and low, so, the floor.

    It could be something else, of course, but I'd rule out a BP or medication issue.
  7. Norfolk Cherry

    Norfolk Cherry Registered User

    Feb 17, 2018
    In Japan, care homes are all set up with mattresses on the floor. Everyone sleeps, and sits on the floor! We both prefer to sit on big floor cushions leaning against the sofa to watch TV all night. I just think go along with what feels right to them so long as they are as safe as possible.
  8. Marinajane

    Marinajane Registered User

    Feb 25, 2018
    Thank you to everyone for these replies. It’s good not to feel alone.
  9. Hazara8

    Hazara8 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    There is always a reason behind 'dementia' behaviour and it is very, very varied. The key here is that as long as your husband is NOT in distress, then that 'need' is being fulfilled, albeit the case that you will find it both unfamiliar, perhaps not too dignified and so on, if it enables comfort for your husband, then it should not be seen as a problem. Whether boredom or depression or whatever, behavour always has an underlying reason. Where I work (Care Home) if someone is happier wearing their dressing gown for breakfast, then so be it. As long as there is no potential for any harm, then one respects 'dementia needs'. "Comfort" is the watchword.
  10. kindred

    kindred Registered User

    Apr 8, 2018
    Oh thank you, that is so nice. In the nursing home where my OH is, there are several people who slide to the floor however many times they are hoisted up and the staff often just make them comfortable where they are and do activities from there. There is also a lady who stands up and flops back into the chair over and over again. I have even written a song to sing when she does this and we turn it into fun. I so agree that comfort is the watchword. That is so lovely. Thank you.
  11. Hazara8

    Hazara8 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    And so is your response, which clearly stems from the level of 'care' which truly matters.

    One of the really meaningful compensations that one finds in spending a lot of time in the Care Home, is that of observing behaviour which quite clearly reflects a need for and so often finds expression, in what could be seen as inappropriate or even infantile - cuddly toys, or dolls. There was a time when these things were not encouraged, probably at the same time as Carers were encouraged to 'bring back' residents with dementia, into the present world. Thankfully, that has changed. Dementia world is deep, very deep and goes beyond even the most introspective analysis of brain and all of that entire neurological research - all of which is really superb in its own right and fascinating. But when you see someone genuinely in distress and I mean distress, owing to having lost a tissue on which was written a single word - a word so very important to that person - or someone else who finds absolute comfort in their 'dog', a wonderfully fashioned life-size dog, with soft 'fur' and sparkling glass eyes and who 'talks' to that dog just like it was alive - or someone who takes an item and hugs it throughout the day, like some surrogate comforter - then you do respect 'comfort' in that context. This is why Care is so very challenging, even for those who continuously practice their 'dementia' skills.

    The song you so thoughtfully wrote for the lady who flops into her chair, is an example of that 'care' and it matters, it matters a very great deal. So, you warrant respect and most certainly a very big 'thank you' for doing just that.
  12. kindred

    kindred Registered User

    Apr 8, 2018
    Oh thank you with all heart for what you said and for your so interesting post. I do agree about the observing behaviour. My goodness, it must have been awful when people were encouraged to bring back residents with dementia into the present world - I cannot even imagine how much stress that must have caused everyone.
    What moves me is how much the residents in OH's home respond to affection, cuddles, kisses, hugs. They light up with such expressions of joy. Yes, I know this is a cruel and horrible business but in good nursing homes there is such love and affection. Far more than I could, on my own, provide at home. Thank you so much.
  13. Tragicuglyducky

    Tragicuglyducky Registered User

    Apr 4, 2016
    Could this be a psychological thing? Have a go at chilling out on the floor. There’s something about being on the floor that makes me feel quite safe, like if I’m sat in a chair I feel like I’m on show and too visible but on the floor I’m below peoples normal eye line and feel like people can’t see me as much

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