Mom stops at lines in the floor. Anyone else experience this?

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Mom is barely walking. She uses a walker and looks at the floor. There is a large doorway we have to go through several times a day where carpet meets tile with a metal band over the seam. A couple of months ago she began lining the walker up with the strip before crossing. But it is getting harder and harder to cross. It is like a stop sign to her. The bathroom floor has a pattern of 4 inch squres and she wants to line up with every line. I am not sure how much longer she will even walk , it is harder and harder to get her to respond to cues. She cannot walk without looking at the floor. If she gets up and walks we are ok. But especially in the afternoons she has a lot of trouble sending the messages to her legs to get them to move. They become pillars pressing into the floor. If she was walking that stops at the strip. Once she gets past it it she can barely step it so interrupts the process.
I know our days of walking are numbered, but I dont want that strip to add to the problem . I tried a heavy rug that doesnt bunch to cross it, but she did the same thing at both sides of the rug which foubled the problem and was no help. The problem is also happening at doorways where different carpet colors meet.

Any suggestions? She cant look up and covering it is not working

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My mother will slow down at lines when we are outside. In her case I believe it is because her vision is poor and she in unsure of the depth of things on each side of the line. Inside the house she understands that everything is level. I am glad that she is cautious when she is outside.

lrhawkins, I assume that your mother has some cognitive or sensory impairment in addition to her mobility problems. My good thoughts are with you as you try to do the things that make her life better.
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There are products with a laser light that might help - one is the ustep/walker.htm. The other thought would be putting tape lines down that are more prominent that the crosswise lines so it would a visual cue for her to continue on a certain path.

Does she have Parkinson's? Would medication help?
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Have you tried bringing a physical therapist into your home? (Make sure the PT has worked with dementia clients previously) Watch how the therapist handles your Mom and then you can use the same terminology and approach. The memory care center where my Mom was had a wonderful PT come in. She knew exactly how to talk the clients through these things. Don't wait too long as her muscles will really weaken.

One time some cousins were visiting. I had Mom walk dow the hall with them. When she stopped walking, I used the military technique -- left, right, left. My cousins thought I was acting like a drill sargent. But the reality is, my Mom needed a cue as to what to do!
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Wearing bi-focals can cause an elder, or anyone for that matter, not to see the floor clearly when looking down... as they are looking through their reading part of the glasses, thus everything becomes blurry. My parents always stop at curbs and fish around with their foot to see how high or low the curb.
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I think you've answered your own question. She's using the lines as delineating marks for walking.

Have you ever seen elders in rehab doing the "step-over ladder rungs" exercises? They watch the floor all the time. Between aging, balance, mobility and other factors, they need more exterior factors to help them navigate and locate their feet. I think of it as kind of developing their own radar system.
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