Registered User
Nov 23, 2005
This is a really difficult one. Any advice appreciated.

Mum has severe dementia and has been in her care home for about 5 months. She is very unsteady on her feet but insists on getting up to walk around. She's had a series of falls and was taken to hospital earlier this week, needing 5 stitches in her head. This evening, the home called to tell me that she has fallen 5yes five, times today. They don't know what to do other than "keep an eye on her" which clealry hasn't worked so far. I know it must be difficult, we can't expect her to have 1:1 constant care and everyone, including mum's family and the home, is reluctant to restrain her in a wheelchair (they've done this before). This would possibley be even more dangerous - but we depend on the home to keep mum safe, and we feel she is extremely vulnerable.

Anyone out there with similar experience and/or ideas how to manage this very difficlult and potentially dangerous situation?



Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
Hi Nick

I've had a bit of this sort of dilemma with dad. He also likes to roam around the nursing home and feel free to go where he choses. He's had some falls in the past, but thankfully for some reason he seems to bounce, and hasn't done himself anymore serious damage than a few bruises.

On the whole I'm quite happy with dad's nh, he's been there just over 4 weeks. But they tend to try to keep people in the main TV lounge where they can keep an eye on them, so they don't have falls etc. And I've felt uncomfortable with that, especially since dad has got the sense that they're imprisoned there and will be challenged and stopped if they try to go anywhere else.

This isn't advice so much as observation and contemplation :confused:

1) several people in dad's nh are in what look like easily manoeverable armchairs as opposed to wheelchairs. People are taken around in them much like they might be in wheelchairs but they look rather more comfortable. They have some velcro on the arms, which is used to attach a board/lap table. I guess it's sort of similar to restraining in a wheelchair but rather more comfortable and perhaps a little less undignified.

2) obviously I don't want dad to fall and hurt himself. But I don't want him to feel he can't move and make the most of his remaining ability to get around by himself. It feels a bit of a scary thing to say, because like you, I want to protect my parent. But somewhere in my mind I'm making a sort of decision, and sharing it with staff there, that I'd rather he had some freedom to use his remaining abilities and do as he wishes than have him pinned down and observed. If that shortens his life, so be it. I'm thinking more about quality than quantity. I don't doubt that I'd feel awful if he'd ended up in A&E having stitches, and if/when anything does happen I'll feel bad and blame myself etc. But maybe it's something about priorities ....


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
Nick said:
This is a really difficult one. Any advice appreciated.
Hi Nick

It is an extremely difficult one and there are no easy answers unfortunately. I believe that, within reason, it would be wrong to confine anyone to a wheel chair while they are capable of walking. I believe it damages their quality of life and would imagine that pressure sores would be a danger also.

Before my mum went into residential care she had quite a number of falls and dizzy turns in the day care centre she attended. They called an ambulance each time and on most occasions she was admitted. The situation became nightmarish because most of the time she would recover from the falls or dizzy turns extremely quickly but the hospital would be loath to discharge her, partly because her home circumstances were far from ideal. Each time she was admitted became a groundhog day with the same questions, answers, suggestions etc.

Unfortunately her most recent fall in November last year resulted in a broken hip. This was operated on but now because of lack of physio she is confined to a wheel chair. I have been fighting for her to get physio which stopped when she left hospital 3 months ago but at the back of my mind there is always the thought that if she becomes mobile again she could fall and damage her hip again .....

She is now in a nursing home because she couldn't go back to the care home and I honestly think that the staff find it easier for the residents to be in wheel chairs for many reasons. However, that is very obviously not a reason to keep them in wheel chairs if they don't need to be.

I agree with Aine and would rather my mum was mobile with all the inherent risks. I believe it to be the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately the day may come when it is no longer an issue because the mobility may gradually deteriorate anyway, it's certainly not something I would wish to hasten.


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Hiya Nick,
I'm with the other two on this one. We decided that we would prefer mum to continue walking and risk her falling, than have her restrained or sedated. The illness has taken its course though and she is now unable to walk.

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