Mom is supposed to be using her walker. She has such marked dementia she forgets it. Any ideas?

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She's just out of her wrist cast from her last fall. I found her today hanging on to the hallway handrail without her walker, about 30 normal paces from her room. She just left the walker in her room. Of course she is going to fall again and has very fragile bones. Any ideas on how to get her to remember her walker? She is in an ALF.

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When my mom was still getting around on her own she would sometimes physically move the walker out of her way and then continue on without it, frustrating and scary!
I have no good ideas for you, but perhaps if I bump this post up someone else can help?
My Dad was doing the same thing, ignoring the walker.... and my Mom would wall/furniture walk not wanting to use a walker or her cane inside their house.

Sadly my Mom not wanting to use a walker/cane became her downfall.... she fell in the kitchen and hit her head on the kitchen counter.... that was a month ago, she suffered major head trauma which accelerated dementia and she is now under hospice watch unable to walk or even stand. Sophe, feel free to use my Mom's condition to tell your Mom what could happen to her.

Oh, since my Mom's fall, my Dad is rarely without his walker. Sad that my Mom had to be his wake-up call.
Freqflyer, sorry to hear about your Mom's fall. Going to be much more difficult for her now. I'll definitely mention it to my Mom and make it dramatic. Sometimes when there is a strong emotional component to it she can remember a story or a scene from a story for a little while. We have already had one broken hip, two broken wrists, 3 broken ribs, all from falls. I can see where this is going, but I'm powerless to stop it. sigh
Wow, that is really concerning to read how many injuries Mom has had.

I did quite a bit of looking up statistics about falls with and without walkers when trying to convince my husband to use his. I was pretty amazed to learn the high number of falls that occur and result in ER visits WHILE USING A WALKER. Well, that was a shock! Any assistive device has to be used correctly to be effective, and even the elderly without dementia apparently have a hard time learning to use them correctly. Hmmm ... at home, maybe he was just as well off wall-and-furniture walking.

I just did a very quick look right now. If anything there is more evidence now that walkers can actually cause falls. More studies have been done. This is a hugely important topic, of course. It is going to receive more and more scrutiny, I am sure.

I am just pointing this out to help you let go of any responsibility or guilt you might carry. You really are powerless to control your mother's use of the walker. And even if you had the power, that would not necessarily be enough to prevent these awful injuries she sustains.

It is Sad. It is Scary. It is Not Your Fault. And it is not Mother's fault, either.

Dementia sucks.
Jeanne, T.h.a.n.k.s. for that note. Everything you say is very interesting.
I looked up research on falls and walkers; curiously, walker use is NOT associated with decreased falls. See the quote and reference here:

"The incidence of reported falls and recurrent falls was not different between device and non-device users, and the use of multiple devices or any one particular mobility device did not result in a greater incidence of falls or multiple falls than non-device users. Previous studies have shown evidence of greater risk of falling with mobility device use and walker use in particular;[11-15] these studies primarily looked within populations already using these devices without a comparison group of non-device users. The current study is reassuring in this regard. With adjustment for demographic factors, medical conditions, physical capacity, and fall history, the older adults who used mobility devices had similar incidence of reported falls as those who did not use mobility devices.

Mobility Device Use in Older Adults and Incidence of Falls and Worry About Falling: Findings from the 2011–2012 National Health and Aging Trends Study
Nancy M. Gell PhD, MPH1,*, Robert B. Wallace MD, MSc2, Andrea Z. LaCroix PhD3, Tracy M. Mroz PhD4 andKushang V. Patel PhD, MPH5
Article first published online: 6 MAY 2015
DOI: 10.1111/jgs.13393 The American Geriatrics Society
Jeanne raises some interesting points about walkers and their safety. After a second fractured leg, my father and I worked out a way to pad the walkers so that if he fell again the metal of the rungs wouldn't be an additional impact that might itself cause a fracture.

We got the black insulating foam used on pipes. It's circular, open on one side to wrap around pipes to insulate them from cold. Dad wrapped it around the legs and arms of the walker; although because of some of the welds, it can't completely cover the walker's limbs, but it does provide padding.

Eventually he stopped using it except for a few occasions, especially after we got a rollator which is far more stable, IF someone learns how to use the brakes and does so properly.

Personally, I'm not very impressed with walkers as I think they're flimsy and don't provide much stabilization. If I ever have to use one, I'm going to make an x brace to put below the top rung and the area above the knees to provide extra stability.

Rollators are a different story, but they have to be used properly.

Sophie, perhaps you can try a rollator; we got ours at a DME supplier and it was paid for entirely by Medicare. Dad tried his out to see how he liked it. Your mom could do that as well.

Rollators do have to be adjusted by height, just as walkers do. If they're not, they're not that helpful, especially if they cause someone to lean over as he/she moves inside the walker envelope.
Interesting stats, but I think you have to remember that the people who are using canes, walkers and rollators are generally people who are unsteady on their feet, therefore it only stands to reason that they will continue to fall even with the assistive device.
As for rollators, I used to think they were the greatest thing ever invented and couldn't understand why anyone would use an old style walker, until I tried to get my mom to use a rollator that is. It takes coordination and hand strength and to operate the brakes, as well as the mental capacity to understand. They are also usually harder to manoeuver in tight spaces like small bathrooms and between furniture. I still think they are great for more active seniors.
I am wondering if the stats on walker injuries separate the regular walkers that have the tennis balls on the back legs vs the rolling walker that has a seat and hand brakes.

My Dad has one of the rolling walkers, my gosh you'd think I had bought him a Shelby Mustang he was so happy with this thing.... he quickly learned how to use it, as I know the hand brakes does take coordination. And there was the problem of my Mom not wanting "that thing" inside the house so Dad kept it in the garage to use when he walked down the driveway to get the mail, the basket under the seat was handy to carry the mail back up to the house.

My Mom tried the rolling walker but she couldn't figure it out... reminded me back when my Mom tried to learn to ride my 3-speed bicycle with hand brakes, oops.

Dad's caregivers at home make sure he won't get out of his recliner without that walker being right in front of him. It helps him get up. But then again, he still has upper body strength that many of us women do not have.
freqflyer, there are stats on walkers and rollators and canes. This is a very serious topic and we can expect more research. But it is so ingrained in us to believe that walkers are "safer" that I'm not sure we'll stop believing it no matter what that research shows.

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