Frequent falls and balancing problems

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Cecit11, May 26, 2016.

  1. Cecit11

    Cecit11 Registered User

    May 26, 2016
    Hi everyone,
    I am currently typing here in hopes of finding some advice (any advice at this point) in regards to my dads falling issue... In the last month he has fallen 3 times. This is new to us. I have run out of ideas... Any word of advice would be GREATLY appreciated.
    Things you ought to know...
    My dad is 65 years old
    He uses a cane to walk due to a bad hip (car accident)
    The man refuses to use ANYTHING ELSE! ( I bought him a new cane with the four leg thingy, a walker , and a WHEELCHAIR!)
    He is stubborn -_-
    Bought him slip resistant shoes...
    He is not on any meds that would make him drowsy
    Lives at an Assisted Living Facility
    I don't know what else to do... :'(
    I fear he will really hurt himself...
    Is his poor balance a sign of his condition getting worse? :/
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    Welcome to TP :)

    Have you had him checked by the GP? He could have an ear infection or low blood pressure.
  3. marsbar

    marsbar Registered User

    Aug 19, 2014
    falls clinic

    Well, I can certainly identify with the issues you raised. My mom was diagnosed with postural hypotension, this causes a fall in blood pressure when standing up from a sitting or laying position. She fell several times but escaped any serious physical damage till Monday, she fell in the early hours and broke her hip ! I would advise you get him checked out as soon as possible as my mother will now be immobile for a considerable time, I think this will cause her all sorts of anxiety as she will Have to use a zimmer / walking frame / stick now
  4. Rodelinda

    Rodelinda Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
    I echo marsbars comments. My mother also had postural hypotension and was falling several times a day - usually when getting up from sitting down (including on the loo). She was also becoming severely dehydrated and a spell in hospital sorted that and led to a review of her various medications for heart/vascular system/circulation and she is now on only a small dose of 1 therapeutic drug and has been fine for a year. Sounds as though the combination of her conditions and the interactions of the meds were causing her to fall. So possibly worth checking this out with the doctor.

    My mother also has very poor balance and refuses to use her frame simply relying on her stick. But she lives with us so it's relatively easy to simply get her the walking frame when she's particularly wobbly etc and give it to her and she will then use it for that journey and sometimes for others. This is much harder for you and I wonder whether anyone where your dad lives could just gently give him a different aid if they recognise the signs that he's likely to fall. It's all part of not wanting to accept the physical changes that go with dementia. Sorry I don't have any magic answers and hope talking to the medical staff where he lives might result in a meds review. Sue
  5. Padraig

    Padraig Registered User

    Dec 10, 2009
    Over the years of my late wife's Alzheimer's I've observed the erratic progress of her condition. The first signs of her loss of special became apparent when she leaned on me for support when out on our weekly visits to town. She slipped to the ground, I helped her up and sat her at a bus stop thinking she was tired. That put a finish to us walking about town, and began talking her straight for our weekly supermarket visit.

    Like most other changes, such as forgetting where she placed items, names of people and objects etc., they came in fits and starts till finally the functions were lost forever. One day she stood frozen on the top of the stairs afraid to descend. I went to her assistance and took her to the bedroom to rest and promised I would be up later, when I finished preparing lunch. Moments later she was stood next to me!

    It's a very scary world when you can't judge distances, heights. A small puddle can seem very large, such is the lack of special awareness. Like most things in life I chose to look after my wife on my own and in the process learned and experienced the long protracted loss of my wife to Alzheimer's. Her final fall resulted in her being admitted to hospital with a fractured arm. From there it was all down hill. A month later she came out of hospital she was wheelchair bound. That month was the worst experience, I came across of staff that were clueless about Alzheimer's.

    On reflection the loss of special awareness was a major turning point in her illness. However with the proper loving care she survived a further six years of thirteen years from diagnoses. Right up to the final month where I went I took her with me. Two weeks following our final visit to the supermarket she passed away.
    Sorry about the long post. There's so much I'd love to share about the many aspects of every day Alzheimer's life.
  6. Sarah KS

    Sarah KS Registered User

    May 25, 2016

    The first step I would think would be to speak to your Dad's GP - is (s)he someone you can talk to easily? They should be able to refer your Dad to a care of older peoples consultant who could assess your Dad. He could have what is called postural hypotension, which is a sudden drop in his blood pressure when he goes from sit to stand etc. They could help him with such a thing. They could also review his medications, as these could also be causing a loss of balance. The consultant could also (as could your GP) refer your Dad to a physio and OT, who could look at how your Dad is mobilising and advise and provide help. This may or may not be due to your Dad's diagnosis of Alzheimers disease and to get it checked would help either way. I hope you get your Dad the help he needs to prevent him hurting himself.
  7. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    Should you wrap in cotton wool?

    Please excuse perhaps a devils advocate approach. Dad fell at weekend when we were up in peak district. He had managed a short steep walk across field and I took my eyes off him when we were on a relatively level path. He fell. (son thinks he did not lift feet high enough to get up step). I was mortified, I knew we would need mountain rescue and the phone had no signal. Anyway he got up and said he was absolutely fine. He escaped with badly grazed knee and gorse scratches (we were only relatively short distance from car park on path to spectacular view). it was the fear of what nearly happened which was the worst.

    As he has just had a bone scan and tests for something else I know him to be in relatively good health - so rule out a physical cause.

    I did have a discussion with him afterwards about whether he should do 'dangerous' things. And he said he did want to go out and about and wasn't worried about falling over. I am well aware of the knock on impacts of a fall but I also think he has a right to do things that he likes.

    MIL doesn't have dementia and has fallen several times and broken bones. She has capacity and considered the risks and doesn't go out when its icy but otherwise continues her life as usual.

    Earlier on I got his feet checked by a chiropodist. Could a physio check his gait?Are there safe balancing exercises?

    I have wondered too about getting him to use a stick but at the moment he does have reflex 'save' reactions and puts his hands out so I think a stick might interfere with this. I m thinking about giving him a solid trolley to save him a bit. I asked him about using a wheeled walker like MIL and he point black refused. So be it.
  8. Princess t

    Princess t Registered User

    Mar 15, 2016
    My mom has fallen several times since Xmas, has two zimmers, walking stick, but most time refuses to use them, she seems to fall late at night, goes dizzy, then we think blacks out, she is very bad on feet all the time and shuffles around holding onto furnature . She's been checked out by doc but nothing found that might cause it.
  9. Lotto

    Lotto Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014

    Hello - I wonder if you can help? My mother has been falling backwards for months - and it is getting worse. I too wonder if she has postural hyptension. I have been unable to get the Doctor's to do anything about it although they have now referred us to a geriatrician. I am very worried as it is just her and I and it is making it very hard for us to do anything. Can you please let me know what therapeutic drugs your mother is on - that would be really helpful. Best wishes, Laura
  10. WORRIER123

    WORRIER123 Registered User

    Oct 1, 2015
    Dad falls a lot, this week 3 times in one night
    GP says it's vision and dementia end of
    It's not vision as he can see a crumb I can't
    Community care assessor has faced doctor to complain that falls is never just dementia is an underlying issue
  11. Lotto

    Lotto Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    Yes this is a frequent problem I come across - that GP's put everything down to the condition when of course there are other conditions that can impact and make the dementia worse.
  12. WORRIER123

    WORRIER123 Registered User

    Oct 1, 2015
    Get home. Carer cleaning a nasty head wound. Dad fell again
    Carer phone local DN they won't touch a head wound. I call 111 and explained last thing I want is A&E with dementia
    They agreed there is an underlying issue
    Now waiting for an out of hours doc to call
    Meanwhile dad being dad. Eating dozing etc
    He takes warfarin hence the concern
  13. Lotto

    Lotto Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    So sorry to hear this - I hope he is ok and the Dr gets to you quickly to tend to him.
  14. Optomistic

    Optomistic Registered User

    Jul 24, 2014
    Bad Fall

    My husband had a bad fall three weeks ago he doesnt know why it happened had been a bit unsteady before this. He fell flat on his face bust his nose and ribs also hurt his finger. The finger was x rayed and his blood pressure checked it was fine. I bought him a walking stick its really slowed him down. He has alzheimers but up to this happening walked slow but ok.
  15. WORRIER123

    WORRIER123 Registered User

    Oct 1, 2015
    Thank u GP called not coming out. If I am concerned call 999 else bandage up then call our GP tomorrow am to get a DN visit.
    Back to square 1 where I called earlier this evening to be told DN won't dress a head wound
    So I'm sleeping on the sofa while dad in bed in the same room
  16. Lotto

    Lotto Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    That is terrible - believe you me, I know how frustrating it is and the care that should be there is just not. I hope things are ok - and the GP saw it today and dressed the wound. Shocking that you were left like that.
  17. Lotto

    Lotto Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    What a shame - i hope he is ok. It's very scary when they start to fall like this - my mother very physically able up until this year when she has suffered a string of infections.
  18. WORRIER123

    WORRIER123 Registered User

    Oct 1, 2015
    The community matron came out at 4.30pm spent nearly 2 hours checking all sorts. She said a bit of a bump but the wound has sealed itself how we don't know. The falls are scary especially if the end up with wounds that need treatment. It doesn't stop dad wandering round the house though. Luckily he goes no further than the gate now

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