• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Wife "freezes" going up stairs.


New member
Jul 12, 2018
My wife's semantic dementia has progressed to the point she cannot coordinate her leg movements or plan ahead. When going upstairs, even if I am helping her, she will freeze and refuse to go forward or drop down on all fours and try to crawl up. I have tried to get a stair lift fitted but the local supplier and installer have closed because of the virus. I am unable to physically lift her so I am desperate what to do. Are there any aids that would help on steps?
I am going to contact the OT tomorrow but they seem to be overwhelmed at present as is the GP.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Does she have symptoms of Parkinsons? Freezing in doorways and stairs is very common with Parkinsons.
One way to help is to sing something with a strong beat like Here we go Round the Mulbery Bush and I have seen Teepa Snow use When the Saints Go Marching In. Start singing as she is walking up to the stairs and keep singing as she is climbing them. The beat helps tap into their muscle memory.


Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
hi @Denison
maybe crawling up isn't such a bad idea, as long as your wife can do this safely without hurting herself

if going down is also tricky, try having your wife go backwards, with you going first ... it's a bit counterintuitive but can work, as long as your wife understands what to do ... best if there are handrails both sides

I know this isn't an ideal suggestion, but I am worried about you both falling
I'm guessing you are taking your wife up stairs to get to the bathroom and to go to bed ... and that she may have problems getting down the stairs too
is there any way you could repurpose a room upstairs into a sitting room so you both stay upstairs most of the time, whilst you yourself can pop downstairs to the kitchen and to do any chores
I appreciate this means maybe not going into the garden, if that is something you enjoy


New member
Jul 12, 2018
A big thank you for all your suggestions.
She does have hallucinations and was recently proscribed Risperidone in addition to her Donepezil. There are some elements of Parkinson's in her symptoms but my own belief is that it is FTD and I originally suggested this to our GP. Her cognitive abilities are now very impaired. She has now forgotten how to use the toilet.
I will relax a little with her crawling up the stairs, my problem is that she ends up on all fours at the top and cannot standup. She appears not to be able to organise her legs to do so and I am not strong enough to lift her, so that becomes a struggle. I have now arranged a temporary bed down stairs so she can sleep there,. I sleep on the sofa to keep an eye on her. In the morning, once she has fully woken, she can manage the stairs and use the bathroom etc. Its really good to be able to share this with you, and am very grateful for your ideas and support.

Recent Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Latest member
Margaret Ann