1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Jamjar

    Jamjar Registered User

    Sep 11, 2012
    4
    Shropshire
    My wife has both Alzheimers and poor sight. Lately when we try to leave the house she becomes quite distressed at the step down which is approximately 6 inches high. we have grab handles outside the door which she uses when we re-enter but simply won't hold them going out. I've started looking at ramps but they are aimed at wheelchair users. We do have a wheelchair and I could put her in it but if anyone has any ideas as to how to overcome the step down without using a wheelchair I'd be very interested.
     
  2. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    6,968
    Brixham Devon
    Hi Jamjar

    Spatial awareness/poor eyesight can be a problem. Do you think your Wife would be able to walk down a ramp? If so make sure it is made from non slip material. Does she have mobility issues when walking generally or is the problem purely with steps?

    Take care

    Lyn T
     
  3. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,182
    Female
    Chester
    I have a step up and down in my porch, which my mum has struggled with for some time (before diagnoses). I ensure she uses her stick as she comes in and leaves my house, not for support as on a good day she doesn't need it, but it gives her the feedback which her brain no longer can from her eyes. Her eyesight is OK but she has no perception of a change in level OR spatial awareness and so getting her to use the stick solves the 'problem'.

    Using the stick also provides the same ability to recognise the kerb when out.
     
  4. jeany123

    jeany123 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    19,049
    Durham
    Would painting the step white or another colour help, then she can see where the step ends and the path starts,


    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
     
  5. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    My late Mum used to take hugely exaggerated steps to get over the doorstep. I would wince at her putting her fingers in the door jamb to support herself:eek:

    Paint the doorstep a bright colour or use the black/yellow hazard tape on the edge or cover it with a non slip suface. anything to distinguish clearly might help.
     
  6. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,041
    I use a stick for the same reason jugglingmum describes. I have one with an anti shock sprung end which stops any jarring if I push down to hard.
     
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,583
    Kent
    I have problems with steps too and am eternally grateful to anyone who paints a yellow band on steps.

    Is your wife able to turn round and go backwards down the steps? It does make it easier but needs a fair amount of flexible mobility which might be asking a lot. If she can go down the steps in reverse, she may then find it easier to hold on to the grab rails.
     
  8. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,035
    Male
    North Manchester
    "Would painting the step white or another colour help, then she can see where the step ends and the path starts"

    In my experience, no, it would just emphasise a change with no indication of whether it was up or down, or maybe even a little fence to be stepped over. Painting just the edge would be even more confusing.
     
  9. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,035
    Male
    North Manchester
    "Is your wife able to turn round and go backwards down the steps?"

    My son in law suffered mobility problems after a prolonged stay in ITU, he was taught to turn round and go backwards down the last step on stairs. This was because most rails do not extend below the last step and reaching forward for a hand hold gives an additional sense of security even if going backwards.
     
  10. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,035
    Male
    North Manchester
    Reading back there are two distinct problems, impaired vision and spatial awareness with otherwise good vision.
     
  11. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,182
    Female
    Chester
    I agree with Nitram, colour contrast makes no difference to my mum, she still has no idea of change of level.
     
  12. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,041
    Ditto:)
     
  13. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,035
    Male
    North Manchester
    #13 nitram, Jul 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
    "...colour contrast makes no difference to my mum, she still has no idea of change of level."

    Colour change on the level can also be confusing.

    The grey mat that supermarkets put in front of things like grapes to prevent people slipping on any spillage used to cause my wife to just stop and demand to go round the mat. To her mind something was different. Is it a hole? Is it a step up? Best walk round it.
     
  14. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,583
    Kent
    My apologies. I didn`t make myself clear.

    The above was posted with regard to help for someone visually impaired.

    I understand it might not help someone with dementia .
     
  15. NanLorac

    NanLorac Registered User

    May 14, 2012
    686
    Female
    Scotland
    I have painted our steps for my husband. I got a bright yellow paint in our diy store for marking out car parking spaces. I used newspaper and tape to cover the rest of the steps and sprayed on two coats. 2015-07-13 19.11.38.jpg
     
  16. Jamjar

    Jamjar Registered User

    Sep 11, 2012
    4
    Shropshire
    Thanks everyone for suggestions. Am looking at ramp possibilities and hadn't considered using a stick but may try that though not needed in normal circumstances.
    My wife is mobile but she is quite hesitant although improves the longer the walk. Thought about painting but lines in, for example, car parks are seen as obstacles and I have to tell her each time that it is not a step so not sure that would work.
     
  17. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,182
    Female
    Chester
    My mum does have issues with arthritis in her knees, although she has forgotten this now!

    She is reluctant to use a stick, but I encourage it, as she tends to be a bit 'wobbly' without it. I think this is the dementia not the arthritis. She also can walk a lot faster with a stick.

    Oddly she avoids ramps as she says these are harder than steps. I think this is an arthritis issue with the slope being harder to move on than the flat bit in between the steps but who knows it might be dementia - I can't remember what she did before.
     

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