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In order to leave her house, she must do 4-5 steps. She refuses a ramp. She becomes so paniced that it takes 2-3 people to get her up or down the steps. This is preventing her from going to medical appoinments. Any suggestions?

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I agree.. I don't think it's stubbornness. Something neurological is causing this fear..
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Agree. Always be alert to any sudden change in behaviour and report it.
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Skelly, this goes way beyond stubbornness to neurological deficit. A sudden fear of stairs indicates serious malfunction that needs to be sorted out ASAP. Don't rationalize dementia out of the picture and call it stubbornness. Be honest with her MD and get proper testing done. You are in a state of denial if you think this is just normal aging.
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Thank you everyone, some really good suggestions here. She is afraid of falling (she hasn't tho) and c/o her knees giving way. All this just began within the last 3 weeks, before then she was doing all stairs fairly well, albeit with some assistance. I thought a ramp would help her as I can get her a wheel chair to use. No signs of dementia, just incredible stubborness. Also, she has been offered PT services in the home, again she gets adamant about not having people to the house. I would have to be there, as she would not let them in. Should I just go ahead and initiate services without her consent? What are peoples experiences with this tactic?
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If she had Lewy Body Dementia, this behavior would not be surprising. The loss of depth perception can make stairs and even doorway thresholds terrifying. I don't suppose she has any other signs of dementia, or you would have mentioned it ... ?
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She's not lost her sense of balance? Is it just the steps outside her house, or steps anywhere?
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Might physical therapy increase her confidence? It doesn't sound like she can't physically do the stairs, but for some reason she thinks she can't. If an objective outsider works with her and assures her that now she can do the stairs MAYBE that would help.

Since this doesn't seem to be a true physical limitation, are you sure a ramp would help?
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Get her an Rx for Ativan and give it one hour before you plan to leave. Be honest with her, it's either the ramp or a nursing home. Sooner or later you are going to need full guardianship to do ANYTHING.
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Afraid of the bath tub, my mother used to come downstairs to shower on her bum which wouldn't work too well going out in the street. Is it just a fear of falling? Getting on myself, I bought a small one floor house and I'm having the big jetted (doesn't work) tub replaced with a shower having a seat and hand rails.
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Does she say why the stairs cause her to freeze up? How is her eyesight? Does she have bad knees? Could she turn around and go down backwards, holding on to a railing and you holding on the other side? Another idea would be to get a companion chair and put her in it and you take her down the stairs if you're strong enough.
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Oh, been down that road already! I have had to call 911 twice, she freezes up and refuses to go down or back up the stairs. I am an experienced geriatric nurse (hospital setting) so I know how to ambulate patients but she is too much for 1 person. She is so stubborn she totally ignores me when I try to explain how dangerous this is for her. By the way, the ramp would be installed free with grant money but she needs to give financial info and have an Elder Care coord. come to the house which she has flat out said "NO". No matter what I suggest, she has some reason to not comply.
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She needs a ramp or possibly an additional rail that can be installed so that she can use both hands comfortably to hold on both handrails as she ascends or descends the stairs.

Suspect she doesn't want the ramp due to vanity? The only thing you can do is reinforce to her that ramp will enable her to stay independent and remain in her home. Emphasize that if she falls, or even twists her body, she could get a muscle pull or break something and end up in the hospital and extended rehab stay and ask her "is that what you want"?

Further, stop enabling her by having 2-3 people help her. One person helps her, the others wait in the car. If she can't manage, say "ok mom, we can't miss this appt...I'll just call 911 if you can't manage. Then get the phone out of your purse and pretend to dial; hopefully she'll stop you, you help her down and tell her you are arranging to get that ramp built ASAP.
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