Follow
Share

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.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
CPS making bright, clear signs and carefully locating them so that your father "can't possibly fail" to see them and be prompted to use his walker can't hurt and it might help.

Mainly, though, I'm sorry to say, it will probably just help you know you've tried. Manage your expectations, won't you :)
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

So if they dont remember to use their walkers, would signs help? Im going to try it on my father. He's in AL and is falling at least every 3 weeks. Ive seen him hold on to things in his room instead of using the walker. He even used a cane and i had to remind him to use the walker..he claimed it was ok but the AL director said no, he's not.  We finally got a light weight walker thru the VA that he can use to "walk" with.. but waiting for delivery.  He'll need memory care soon :-(
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

From what I've read on this site, that "A" can stand for a lot of things.
Kind of makes me wish there was an Angie's List for those kinds of facilities.
Some place they can't pay for positive reviews.

I tried to use A Place for Mom, but once the lady found out we weren't looking for a luxury condo at $6-10K/month, I couldn't get a return phone call.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This topic makes me wonder what the A in ALF actually stands for. Sophe are you still reading? I'd love to know how long you estimate it must have taken your mother to get that considerable distance from her room, apparently unobserved and unaided. If the ALF is up for it, and your mother needs assistance with falls prevention, I'd suggest chair and bed alarm pads to let the staff know when she's off on her travels.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm thinking that if she doesn't remember to use a walker she won't remember not to get out of the wheelchair either. Once they reach a point where they physically can't get up without assistance life is so much simpler!
I have to comment about losing the ability to walk once they use the wheelchair... According to all the advice I've heard my mom should be totally bedbound by now from atrophied muscles because she is in bed 20 or more hours a day, but she isn't. I have kept her 2 wheel walker and we use it almost exclusively to get around within the house with me right there supporting and guiding her. There are days when she says she can't, but at my insistence we get up and go anyway, so far so good!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

if she absolutely won't use a walker for any reason and you can't fix it and afford to or have resources to have stand by assistance than a wheelchair is better than a broken hip or death from a fall. But a wheelchair too soon does absolutely create an issue with declining ability to support their own weight and get along without it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

She needs 24/7 Standby assistance to be 100% safe and even that is not foolproof. Make sure she has good shoes that tie and offer support, and that the walker is always nearby, (that it's fitted properly and she likes it as much as she can like it) and that you encourage her to always use it and make a big deal out of it when she does. But it's impossible to make sure she alw uses it if someone isnt' there 24/7. and make sure she has a fall pendant.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I should have also added that I absolutely DO NOT mean that all wheelchairs are evil, because they are NOT. I think it's more about the person's drive and personality. There were a great number of folks at the facility in wheelchairs who were very active, out and about, and had not given up one bit. I often wished I could give my mother's mobility to them since they'd make use of it.

One really cute lady had hers decorated with a MN Vikings car flag on a small pole, purple & yellow beads, and a purple & yellow fleece blanket. She was awesome. You could see her coming over the crowd with that flag waving up high.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If I had to guess, and that's what this is, I bet they don't like to order wheelchairs because once you sit down, you're probably not getting back up.

I know with my mom, once she got in a wheelchair she wouldn't even try to get up and move her legs. DVT anyone? The woman had already had blood clots and strokes. She could stand up. She could bear weight. She could bloody well walk, but the wheelchair was just so comfortable.

Mom had no inner desire to try anymore, so that was that. She stopped walking and then couldn't. This was just her personality normally.

She stopped going to PT and lost the ability to move her legs and bear weight.
She refused to try to stand up, and then wasn't able to if she wanted to.
At this point, she can't even scoot herself up in the bed or change positions. Her legs have atrophied and the muscle has wasted away.

Was the wheelchair 100% behind this degeneration? No, but it did not help her work on keeping mobility when that was still possible. It helped her get comfortable and have no reason to get up anymore.

That's a hole nobody can dig out of.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sunnygirl1, I'm surprised that more doctors don't suggest wheelchairs. My husband HATED his walker -- and why shouldn't he? He fell with it or without it. His doctor ordered a wheelchair for him and it gave him back his mobility -- he could easily scoot around the house, propelling it with his feet. Not one fall when using a wc -- vs a couple falls a day before that. I remember that he got it in October. By the end of November his spirits had lifted so much that he decided he would make his traditional fruit cakes after all. I pulled out cupboard drawers and placed big cutting boards on them to give him work surfaces he could reach from the wheel chair.

I really don't understand why this solution is suggested more often!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Sophe509, I don't know of a way to help the person stop falling or to use their walker, short of constant supervision. I realize that won't be possible in AL. The same thing happened to my loved one. She has dementia and poor balance. She fell so often and she suffered multiple bones. Eventually, she fractured her spine and soon after her hand. She then into a wheelchair and she hasn't fallen since. She can stand and get in and out of bed, but that's about it. She scoots herself along in the wheelchair and has much more mobility than when she walked slowly with poor balance.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Jeanne, T.h.a.n.k.s. for that note. Everything you say is very interesting.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter