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She is very fearful going down steps facing forward, but insists she want to go to a family gathering that requires her to go up a full 14 steps. Two people will be helping her, so I think she'll get up okay. Facing the descent is more scary, even with a person in front of her. I see no recommendations online for facing backwards or sitting on each step. Has anyone tried either?

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When I had a broken leg the "baby butt scoot" down the stairs worked pretty well (but I was younger then). Still probably safest option if one is alone or has a sudden attack of faintness/vertigo. It's difficult to fall if one is already sitting down - hardest part is standing up a the bottom.
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Pamelac, thank you for the update on how your Mom did with the stairs.... so happy everything went smoothly :)

Hmmm, never thought about going down sideways, I will have my Dad try that with his caregivers, and about using a gait belt.
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Mum took her time on each step, holding the rail with people on all sides of her. She had best success going down sideways so that the railing was in front of her. I got a sturdy Posey gait belt online that was especially helpful going downstairs. The material is like car seatbelt, but it's 4" wide and has 4 handles of the same material, which made it safer and easier for Mum. Thanks to all for the speedy and helpful ideas!
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Vstefans: My bad! Reading too fast!
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Garden: My bad...reading too fast!
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Yes, stair lifts can definitely be very expensive, and with the way people are hurting financially, so many times people just can't afford that kind of equipment. I've also noticed that most people aren't going to install a stair lift if they themselves aren't using it for themselves or someone in their own immediate household. Knowing the risks involved with stairs when you have certain physical problems is why sometimes you just have to avoid anything hazardous that could cause you an accident if your leg gives out. About the only places you're more likely to see accessible are most businesses because by law they have to be accessible, where as homes aren't necessarily under the same laws as businesses from what I've noticed. Landlords for instance must let you have something like a ramp, but I guess this is something you have to work out for yourself if you need certain reasonable accommodations. When dealing with private property, this is a whole different ballgame than an actual business. For some people with certain types of disabilities, stairs can definitely be a challenge, especially when dealing with private property situations. This is why I try to avoid certain situations as much as absolutely possible since I do know the risks involved according to my physical issues. Anytime you have a problem with your legs where something could give out and cause you to fall and get badly hurt, sometimes you have to do a self-evaluation and consider the situations at hand.
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In the US stair lift start at 10,000 any angles and the price skyrockets. I would always recommend trying before u buy as mentioned. And to OP how did the party go. Did she do stairs and if so what worked for her.
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Stair lifts are definitely expensive but definitely worth it.
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Not only the cost of the lift and the installation.... but also the cost of removing said lift and patching/painting the stairway when it is time to sell the home.

Also, before installing make sure the elder really really wants one of those lifts. If there is a showroom with a lift, let the elder try it. One wouldn't want to spend all that money and find the elder rode it once and never again, too scared to use it.
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Just a thought but over here we can buy second hand ones or refurbished ones for about 1/4 of the costs of new ones.

If you can't afford them there are some alternatives one particular one is a Transverse moving handrail for use on stairs. It is a mahogany stair rail, with concealed toothed rack below, and an aluminium yellow powder coated handle which slides up and down the rail. The handle locks in position when weight is applied to provide static support, when handle is raised slightly it disengages from the toothed rack and slides up and down the rail. The handle unit can be slid off the hand rail without tools when not required leaving the stair rail on the wall. Now these are definitely available in the UK - US not so sure but they might be called stair steady.
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Those stair lifts are expensive as all get out too. And not feasible with all types of construction.
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Llama, the OP would have been taking her mother to someone else's house, where the OP would have no legal authority to make any alterations at all to the house, including installation of a chair rail system.

These also aren't that easy to install. There was a good DIY Holmes Makes it Right episode in which Holmes, an experienced contractor, had to finish up an installation that wasn't properly done. It was not an easy, or cheap, project.
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Molly, no, that's not good enough. The OP should invest in a riding chair rail system!
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Yes, hopefully it wasn't really that big of an issue and hopefully she didn't fall. Come to think of it, I would think that if stairs were totally unavoidable, she could go down on her can. She'll get a little dirty but at least she'll be safe.
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pamelac, let us know how the family dinner party went and how your Mom did with the stairs in that house. Hopefully it wasn't a big issue :)
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Handrails are a must and 1 more physically-stronger person- is also recommended. Someone at 92 or anyone whose balance, joints, or overall health is compromised in anyway should never be on a stairwell unattended. We found that facing the handrail and holding onto it with both hands, made stepping up/down much easier. You step down "sideways." Of course, someone else is next to this person- just a few "steps away" -in the direction she/he is stepping in just in case she/he loses her balance or needs assistance.
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This is a one time dinner party.
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If financially possible, install a rail chair, one where the elder sits on the chair and rides up the steps.
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ramiller, remember the line everyone saying where it only takes once for something to happen? Actually, this is very true! All it takes is just one time for something to happen, and stairs is no place to be if a leg suddenly gives out. This is why I am a strong believer in prevention since all it takes is one time for an accident to happen when you have one or both legs that can suddenly buckle under you.
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Private she is just asking about a one time visit to relatives house for holiday. But thank you for you comments. I agree stairs can be a scary thing for many people.
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I have a problem like that myself where either of my names could easily give out or unlock. I have already collapsed more than once, and I actually try and avoid stairs as much as possible. Whenever I'm out and about in an area that requires stairs, I tried to up for the stair chair of the elevator instead. If this is not possible, I usually leave. If your situation happens to be in a residential setting such as an apartment building, you may want to get a downstairs apartment. If this is in a regular house, you may want to set up downstairs on the main floor. I know someone who did this because of her knees. She never went upstairs, And I don't want her because the last thing we need is a nasty injury caused by a leg unlocking or buckling under us. This is why I try my best to avoid stairs as much as absolutely possible, and I'll even go out of my way to make creative excuses to avoid stairs for this very reason. When you live alone, It's always wise to avoid hazards and stay well within in your personal limits when you discover where those limits are. It's well-known that prevention is key, and this is actually true.

Getting back to the house, another good option is to downsize to a smaller one story house with no steps. You will also find that there are places that will build you a ramp over your porch. When visiting people who have stairs, I try to avoid it as much as absolutely possible and have them come to me after explaining the situation. This is something you can try because it definitely works for me. If your loved one is open to hosting in her home, this would definitely be a big win for everyone. Anytime someone is afraid of falling down the stairs due to a problem with the lower extremities, this is a sure sign that they should probably just avoid the hazard all together, and that's where I firmly stand because you'll never find me in the ER with a stairs related injury, especially a head injury. Again, I am a firm believer are in prevention, even if prevention means complete avoidance. This is why am so glad that more or processes for incidences are becoming more accessible than ever before
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How about putting her on a chair with side handles and having two men carry her up and down. That's how my mother left the house the last time she was at home even though we had a stair lift. The paramedics carried her out in a chair that we had.
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Let her go down how ever she is able. What does it matter if she goes forward oe backward? I f she is ia able to go down the stairs let her...there is so little left to her let her pick the way up or down and rejoice in her ability to do the this. Blessings, Lindaz
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Absolutely use a gait belt!! If you've never used one you'll be amazed at how much help it is. I would also think coming down the stairs normally with people assisting on both sides of her would be safer than trying to go down backwards or on her butt.
You can get a gait belt on line at Walmart or probably at any pharmacy and they are under $20. I would recommend that anyone caring for an elder get one. Like I said you'll be amazed at how much help such a simple thing is!
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I don't have any trouble walking or going down stairs, but recently was going down carrying boxes and not being able to see the steps and felt insecure, so I tapped my heel against the back of each lower step to feel that my feet were aligned properly before setting down my foot. Don't know if that would be feasible for her or not. Just an idea.
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Have the good leg step down first; follow with the second. Stop on the stair and feel stable, than go for the next step. My 93 year old father followed this rule until we moved into an apartment with no steps. I have him living with me because falls are an issue with him.
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Facing backwards would be disasterous! Have someone stand on one side of her and one on the other holding onto her. Have her look out toward the horizon and keep reassuring her she is "safe". Isn't there a railing?
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According to Mums OT good leg to heaven bad leg to hell - it was something Mum could remember. BUT you do need hand rails both sides of the stairs for this to work. On the coming down side of things the carer need to come down facing the LO then if the loved one does start to overbalance a well placed hand will enable the carer either to stop the overbalance or to push them back on to their bottoms. either way they don't fall. If you choose this method you have to come down the stairs together just one stair apart or the pull of gravity will make that steadying hand impossible - you will both end up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. NOTE: this is NOT an approved method but it is just one that a very experienced nurse told me about and Mum feels happiest with. The RULE is to let them come down and if they fall they fall - sorry I can't do this hence me explaining the way I manage Mums safety
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After my mother suffered from a fractured femur, my father made "baby steps" for her from wood about 1" thick. I don't recall specifically what kind of wood.

The height was about half the step. Generally, one of us would hold onto her, sometimes with a gait belt and the other would move the baby step from one fixed step down to the next one.

What this did is temporarily reduce the height of the riser so she didn't have to step as far, putting less stress on her legs.
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I honestly couldnt recall from the hip classes but leading strong seemed to make sense - guess not, sorry! For fun (quiet night) I went to our steps to go down - just wanted to see what came naturally. Sure enough my leg with nerve damage started off on its own first!
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