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I am installing a stairs lift for my mother. She still comes up and down the stairs from her downstairs apartment but is wobbly on her feet. I am installing the lift now so it will be in place when she can no longer go up and down stairs on her own power. Can someone explain Sun Down confusion to me? Mom is almost 95, gets confused, comes upstairs at all hours of the night. The lift might make it even easier for her to wander at night. I can put a mag lock on the downstairs door but making her a prisoner doesn't solve anything. Any suggestions? Compromise, house rules or pleading don't help at this point.

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Absolutely do lots of research before you invest in a stair lift. My mom is 97 and doesn't have Alzheimers, but does have definite cognitive decline. Her old hot water pot went out (she makes coffee by heating water in it). I got a new one and she couldn't figure out the two buttons it took to operate it (one to turn it on and one to pop open the lid). So I'd never consider something as complicated as a stairlift- she'd never get it in a million years. I finally found the exact hot water pot she had and it took her a week to get back to using that. So any change for super seniors with cognitive decline is very difficult. For example, I tried to get my mom to just heat water in a mug in her microwave instead of having a separate pot, but that was a no-go.

Good luck.
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Do you mean you are putting the stair lift in a house where you live with her? Or is in a house where she lives alone? Either way, I'd reconsider and do a lot of research before I installed it. I'd check the guidelines of the device and see what they say about using it with dementia patients. Imo, it offers many risks.

First of all, someone with dementia may have no idea how risky using this devise is. She may attempt to get into it when you are not looking. And who is going to supervise her using it? I would consider how you are going to ensure that she stays in it as it moves. Will it accommodate two people at a time? What if she ties to jump out or leans out of it. I would no more have her use it than a young child as she may not appreciate the danger of jumping out, putting her arms out and getting the caught or hit on the wall or chair rail.

Also, due to cognitive decline she may be afraid of it and refuse to get into it. Then you may have invested money for an item that gets no use.

Also, as long as she is on the second floor, you will have to safeguard her leaving the second floor around the clock. She could still fall down the stairs trying to get onto the steps. You can try locks, gates, alarms, etc., but, they are not fail proof. Imo, it's safer to arrange for her to live on one first floor only and where she has no access to the stairs. I'd explore that.

There was another thread on this site about a year ago about this same question. It had a lot of responses. I'll try to find it and post the link here.
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Keilin, regarding the stair lift... has your Mom tried out on to see if she likes it? I would hate to see you go though this effort and expense if Mom refuses to us it, hopefully she will be brave to try it out :)

My Dad had "sundowners" which really surprised me as during the day he seemed pretty sharp for 95, but by 4pm or so, his mind was in a different era. I would get a call from him saying he won't be home after work as he was at a meeting and he missed the bus, so he will stay at a hotel, he already got a room. Well, that meant his mind was back in the 1940's which was the last time he took a bus to work, and the hotel was his senior living facility.

It took me time to wrap my brain around this and to finally learn to just agree with whatever he was saying. If I tried to correct him, that would only upset him and me. I found out quickly you can't argue with someone who has sundowning/dementia, their brain cannot understand.

Eventually the senior facility requested me to move Dad into the Assisted Living/Memory Care floor, and Dad was much safer there. He could wander at night on his floor but no stairs to worry about or him leaving the building on his own.
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