Suitable walking frames?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Ann Mac, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Mil's diagnosis has been changed from mixed AZ & VaD to LBD and Parkinsons. For about 12 months (maybe more) before the diagnosis change, she had been developing 'Parkinsonisms' - shaking limbs (esp right hand/arm) and 'Parkinsons gait'. Very suddenly, over the last 2 weeks or so, her walking - which was deteriorating anyway - has got very, very much worse. Its what I've been told is 'typical' of parkinsons - slightly up on her toes, tending to 'tilt' her body forward, sometimes difficulty in getting moving, and quite fast tiny shuffling steps, looking like she is about to topple at any minute :( Remind her to take 'big steps, slow steps' and she will correct herself, slow down and pick up her feet - but only for a few minutes then its back to the shuffle. Oddly, using two banister rails, she still seems to be managing stairs with no problems - though we have already looked into stair lifts for her.

    In the last week she has managed to gash her leg quite badly (we didn't see how and she has been unable to tell us, but I think a fall or stumble is the most likely reason) and then again on Monday, I actually saw her fall and go crashing into the TV unit - thankfully, just one small skin tear and bruising, but still . . .

    So, we are thinking that its time to get her some sort of walking aid, a frame of some sort. Unfortunately, the whole process of requesting an assessment and getting any sort of advice/frame will take weeks and weeks - and we think that if we wait that long there is a good chance that she will end up with a serious injury from a fall. The staff at her day care centre are going to try her out with different frames over the next few days and we intend to buy her one next week, but I wondered if anyone can point us in the direction of what sort of frame is best for someone with Parkinsons? I have no idea if a wheeled model or one she has to lift with every step is better. Or if there is a particular type/style that is better for people who have Parkinsons? Or if there is a particular type we should avoid?

    Any advice/info would be really appareciated - thank you, in advance :) xxxx
     
  2. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    11,532
    West Midlands
    I know you don't want to wait for an OT assessment, but really they are the ones who know the exact correct frame to get.

    That said.... Thinking of the people in mums care home, the ones that walk in the way you are explaining your mum walks, they have a frame with wheels on the front. It's adjustable to suit height - that's where I feel you need the help, to make sure the frame is the correct height.

    Do you have a Red Cross centre near you, that rents out equipment, so you could try before you buy?

    xx


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  3. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Thanks 2jays - the thing is that from everything I've been able to find out the whole process is so long that I really think there is a good chance that she will have a fall that will leave her seriously injured while she is waiting :( I gave up on trying to get advice on the appropriate profiling bed for her for the same reason - 4 weeks after my initial enquiry I was still waiting for the 'department' we had been referred to, to even contact me to say she was on the waiting list for a visit/assessment. So I did my own research and just bought what she needed. They still hadn't contacted me by the time we took delivery of the bed we bought and when I phoned them to say we were sorted, the impression I got was that it's a route that a lot go down, after getting fed up of waiting! I'm hoping that by doing the same this time, I'll lower the risk of her falling badly. The local disability store tell me they have people trained to adjust the heights on frames, I just thought by posting here, people with experience could guide me towards the pro's/con's of the various types - OT's and the like don't always (it seems to me) understand all of the issues that you need to consider with dementia, sadly :(
     
  4. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,667
    Female
    Scotland
    The frame 2 jays describes is what my mother used. She had Parkinson's and severe arthritis. She had a plastic bag attached to the front for all her bits and pieces around the house which she liked to keep close eg tissues and purse. She also kept a hooked stick by her side, not for walking but for reaching, poking and grabbing. I am afraid it took quite a while to get the falls and rigidity under control.
     
  5. balloo

    balloo Registered User

    Sep 21, 2013
    227
    northamptonshire
    who needs an OT I had district nurse in to MIl as she was getting sore on her bottom she prescribed cream and also asked about getting mIL to move more I said if she went out she got tied easliey and then I was stook trying to get her back to the car she suggested a walker with wheels and a seat, she went back to DR and within a week we had one could try them
     
  6. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Thanks Marion - that's useful to know. Most of what I've now read elsewhere seems to suggest a wheeled frame - but its good to know what worked in reality for others with the condition :)

    I wish, balloo, that it was that simple! It's DN's that I had to go through to try and sort a bed for Mil, they have the job of referring you to a team who deal with the provision of profiling beds - and as I said, it took so long I gave up :( Round here, people in residential care have to go through exactly the same process as those living at home, so at day care (which is situated in a residential EMI home), the staff there can give me a pretty good idea about what the procedures are when it comes to sourcing help and equipment. They were right about the bed - and pointed me in the direction of a reputable firm to use to buy one - and I think its a safe bet that they are right about the length of time it will take for me to access a frame for Mil going through the 'official' route - which for a frame is apparently through a referral to OT's and may include a physio assessment. I've been told it will take 'weeks, at best'. She is seeing a DN, tomorrow though, to have the gash in her leg checked, so I will ask - just in case :) x
     
  7. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    Ann one of the reasons given to me by the nursing home last year after mum broke her hip regarding her walker was that they were trying to have her use it as long as possible so that as her mobility decreased , later on, she would have a memory of using the walker.
    Would your MIL know to how to use one now ? I actually don't think mum would use a walker now if required. I don't know if she would remember to use it
     
  8. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,701
    Mil would need prompting to use it, Terry, and possibly repeated instruction - and we'd probably have to deal with a lot of objections, though I think that if we insisted she would mostly comply. Big issue is that she rarely realises her age these days, often thinking she is anwhere between the ages of 11 and 50, and therefore 'too young' in her eyes to need help walking. Even when she fell the last time, one of the things she said was that a woman of her age shouldn't be falling like that - her Mum would tell her off for being 'clumsy'. I find with Mil though, that often, pointing out potential 'dire' results of her not doing as she is advised, telling her something like 'If you fall again you might break a bone and that could be very serious at your age' (Obviously after reminding her how old she actually is), can make her chose to comply - if only till she 'forgets' again.

    The bit about encouraging the use of a walker now, hoping that some memory of how to will linger later, makes sense to me.
     
  9. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,287
    Cotswolds
    #9 Lindy50, Oct 28, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
    Mum was given a walking frame by the OT about six months ago. She would only use it when prompted, ie when I was there. When my brother visited, she hid it. It did seem to represent failure in her eyes, she really couldn't accept that she was safer with it.

    Now in the care home, mum uses the frame most of the time. She's prompted and reassured by the fact that almost everyone else does the same. But she still forgets about it within her room, when there are fewer or no reminders....

    It's the standard zimmer with two small wheels at the front, by the way. Her previous aid, a rollator with three bigger wheels, a seat and a bag, was brilliant two or three years ago, but would run away with her now. In fact we only ever really used it much outside.

    Ann, if you can, do get some advice from an OT or physio as to the height of the frame.

    PS Did I tell you that mum's frame now speaks to her....She says she wishes I was there when it happens, it's lovely.....:eek:

    All the best

    Lindy xx
     
  10. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    Lindy mum's pipes , birds and planes talk to mum and tell her the gossip
     
  11. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,287
    Cotswolds
    :confused: 'mum's pipes' ? :D

    Sadly mum seems unaware of birds or planes.....anything outside doesn't seem relevant to her any more....

    She does love the 'golden words' from the frame though :D x
     
  12. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    My Mum had the tri-wheeled rollator with bag ( perfect for holding the large amount of tissues, the hair comb, the spare cardiigan or slippers, tv zapper:eek::eek::rolleyes:)
    It was height adjustable and had lockable twin handle brakes on the handlebars. She had tried the one belonging to the lady opposite. We didn't involve the OTs in the choice, I ordered online from Amazon and it was about £70.
    But.....it did take up quite a lot of room in her bedroom unless folded together, and she could not secure it open on her own. I would have been concerned if she'd had to use it on the bedroom landing at home, because it was easy to mis-steer. I would have had to take it up and down stairs if she'd needed one before she went into the CH. ...... and it had a very large bag which....:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:!!

    The rollator did help Mum, but she had the advantage of nice straight long corridors in the home.

    Hope this helps. :D
     
  13. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    4,994
    Female
    Chester
    My mum has a frame provided by OT which has wheels on the front.

    The OT told me that their 'guidance' says that rollators (3 or 4 wheeled, with or without seats) aren't allowed as they have a brake which a person with dementia won't be capable of operating, so they couldn't recommend them or provide them (I had bought my mum one previously) although she did think that in early stage dementia they still are suitable. Also if they aren't opened out fully and 'clipped' into place that can cause issues as well. She said if I put it in car folded to make sure I unfold it and not let mum do it.

    Mum used her rollator in preference to her frame, but now uses her frame both in her flat and in the building (she has learnt to use it - think she feels unstable without it) BUT hates to use it outside as she doesn't like to look OLD (she does know she is old). I do have to say that she can manage with a stick most of the time, but at least she has learnt to use it now and OT told me learning to use it now would keep her mobile for longer.
     

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