Has anyone put a safety gate to prevent a dementia adult from going down stairs?

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, and it is not drilled into the wall? My husband has rarely been wandering but I have a fear that he will fall down the stairs when I am not with him. He goes slowly and carefully down them now but we are always with him. Any other ideas? I have thought about an alarm on his bedroom door when he would open it. If possible do not wall damage. Just starting to see what is available.

Answers 1 to 10 of 65
A lady I cleaned for had a half door installed across the basement stairway, she said her husband would stand there shaking and pulling it to try and get downstairs, so I would be apprehensive putting up anything that isn't very sturdy. I have read that sometimes a black mat placed in front of a doorway will keep them from crossing it because they perceive it to be a hole in the ground, I don't know anyone who has tried it though. There are probably some good ideas using technology... perhaps some type of motion sensor alarm when he approaches off limit areas?
Look for a Gatekeepers dealer near you, they make matching wood/paint/stain heavy duty gates that are high enough and strong enough to withstand an adult's weight.
We had a gate installed at the top of the stairs. It was anchored to the wall but was a difficult to open gate. It served its purpose and if had been for the long term would have had something sturdier installed. I was not confident that the gate would have held up to a fall for trying to force it open. Damage to the wall from mounting can be fixed and was the least of my concerns.
I wouldn't count on a gate to deter an adult. My late husband broke his fibia when he leapt over the guard rail of his hospital bed. He fractured his fibia, and Four months later he died of the fall that resulted from this incident. Try to find a sturdier solution,
Top Answer
If you think this is going to be long term a door can be installed and removed later. The other suggestion would be to move the bed downstairs so that he does not have to do them at all. Much safer and he will be used to the bed in a new location when it becomes more and more difficult for him to go up stairs or when he is no longer able to do stairs at all. Sooner or later all care and transferring will have to be done, bed to chair and stairs will become impossible. Save the money on the door and get a downstairs bathroom more accessible if you don't have an accessible bathroom now.
Grandma1954 -- You've offered a perfect and comprehensive solution with an eye to future adjustments that will be needed.

Just curious is 1954 the year you were born? My older son was born in 1955.
but grandma (and Arianne, I was born in 1958 but my parents, especially my dad, was older) what about outside stairs? they didn't have any inside ones - well, unless you count the ones in the utility room but they were wide and never a problem - but he fell down both outside ones; somehow we thought that after we started locking the outside doors - if, indeed, the last time, it was locked; was supposed to be but could have inadvertently not gotten done that one time and that's all it takes, but I was told that even if were, they can do things you wouldn't think they could, like your husband; my mom did something similar when she was in the hospital; thankfully she didn't fall - ? re that; did the hospital blame you; I was given fits by them over that - anyway the lock was small and we wouldn't have thought his arthritic fingers could have undone it, but I was told you never know, so anyway, would you have put something across an outside doorway like that?
Since I am in a one story house I pictured the OP's husband going down to the basement level, so when 1954 proposed moving him "downstairs" I thought that was very odd advice... LOL.
Depends on your mother's mental state. Would she try to climb over it? My mother did.
I considered putting up a gate at the head of the stairs so I could bring Mom for an overnight visit. Sis had a single story home with a dog gate with a door, to keep the dog out of the living room. Mom tried to climb over the gate, several times, she once even made it over, even though sis told her not to. She couldn't remember long enough to learn to open the gate first.
Knowing Mom could not follow instructions I never brought her home overnight the last few years. I knew she got up several times and I couldn't stay up all night to watch her. (Actually she didn't care at that point as for years before that she only paced when I brought her for a visit)
If he needs help with the stairs, it might be a short period of time before he becomes afraid of them or is unable to use them. In my husbands case it was 6 months. In addition to the gate solution, Look at other revisions you might need. At about $9,000 per month for memory care, it might be worth making other revisions to keep him at home.

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