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Persistent falls

JackiP

New member
Apr 10, 2021
8
0
Hi,
My mum has been in a care home since December and in that time has been mobile but very wobbly and falls 2-3 times per week.
I have twice had to take her to A and E, the last time on Friday evening where we got to spend 5 hours sitting around, getting increasingly warm. She had two sets of X-rays and a CT scan on her head. No breaks were found and she was sent home. I have just received another call from the home to say she has fallen again, this time only grazed and no need for the hospital, BUT, is there anything else that I could be doing to address this? I’m very worried she will break something and end up hospitalised and we know this is usually not a good thing for a dementia patient.
Has anyone been able to improve this situation?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
15,014
0
South coast
Hi @JackiP

Falls are incredibly difficult to manage. My OH is at home and will fall regularly too. We met up with our son and his family at the local park and OH fell twice while we were out. You can be stood right next to him and not be quick enough to prevent the fall. He is supposed to use a zimmer frame, but never does and mostly hangs onto the furniture and bounces off the walls.

The community physio gave him some exercises to improve his balance, but he has trouble following what he is supposed to do and I really dont think it has made any difference.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
5,400
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @JackiP

My aunt was given exercises, she went to a class at the community hospital, to improve her balance and it did improve things a lot for her. She was only in the very early stages of Vascular dementia and throughout her illness her symptoms were mainly physical. If your mum is unable to follow instructions I can’t see it working and even if she could I imagine she’d need someone to do the exercises with her.

My aunts improvement was temporary and, as @canary says, it is impossible to stop falls even if you’re stood right next to them.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
73,184
0
Kent
There are falls caused by tripping over any slightly raised surface and falls where the legs seem to give way.

It`s so important to make sure the surface is level and this is difficult when outdoors.

So many older people or people with dementia develop a `shuffle` which makes walking more hazardous.

My husband used to hold on to me when we were out and this resulted in severe back pain for me because I took so much of his body weight on the side he was holding on to.

I do think well fitting shoes are preferable to house slippers but even then, the shuffle is the biggest culprit.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
6,044
0
N Ireland
Hello @JackiP

It may be worth chatting with your GP.

@Bunpoots mentioned classes and in my region these are provided by the Falls Prevention Service of the local NHS Trust and are accessed via the GP. A couple of years ago my wife was falling on a regular basis and 12 weeks of classes were provided. These helped greatly, even though my wife has never been able to remember the exercises she was shown.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
64,458
0
70
Dundee
I took my husband to a falls class run by physios. Unfortunately his dementia was too advanced for him to understand how to do the exercises. I also felt that the physios were rather taken aback and didn’t have enough experience of working with someone with this level of dementia. I ended up exhausted trying to get Bill to do the exercises. He, on the other hand, totally enjoyed them as 60s music was played in the background and he sang and attempted to bop his way through the session. There was a look of relief on the physio’s face when, after the second session, I said it would be best if we stopped coming! I can see, however, that these exercises might be really helpful for someone who has a level of dementia that allows them to follow instructions.

Like @Grannie G I supported my husband when out walking and I think my current back problems have developed through this.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
3,768
0
Southampton
my husband had the physios out as his left side[dominant side] was made weaker by a TIA and he wobbled as he walked. they were giving him complicated instructions and would show him 3-4 different exercises to do. it didnt remember them all and it had to be stopped as his COPD was making him too breathless to continue
 

Buckles

Registered User
Oct 4, 2020
25
0
Just wondering if medication could be contributing? Antipsychotics like risperidone have Parkinson's like side-effects were you develop a shuffling gait with freezing (often in the freezing the person falls forward because the previous momentum propels them). Sedatives might also make someone more likely to fall through tiredness or disorientation.

Just a thought - and it may be the benefits outweight the risks. And of course, it could all be disease progression but worth asking the GP or dementia specialist.
 

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