My husband is the early-moderate stage of Parkinson's and Alzheimer/dementia. He has fallen several times (but not often or regularly.) He refuses to use a walker when we go out. I've tried humor, threats, bribes, logic but no go. Ideas/thoughts?

Find Care & Housing
My Husband, early in his dementia refused to use a walker.
I "convinced" him that using a walker would help ME. I loaded up the basket with a lot of the things that I would normally carry. Once he saw that he was helping me he used the walker without a problem.
After he broke his hip (slip and fall on black ice) I got him a much larger walker that he used without a problem as he was used to the smaller one.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Grandma1954

If he doesn't use a walker, he doesn't get to go out, period. You can't reason with a person who suffers from dementia/ALZ, however, so you tell him, if you want to go out, we bring the walker and you USE it, or we don't leave the house. All it takes is one fall to either kill him or permanently put him into a wheelchair, so this decision is set in stone and not subject to change.

Then you hire a caregiver to stay with DH while YOU go out. It's really all you can do as you make changes in life to accommodate disease and dementia.

Best of luck.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1

My mom refused to use a walker til her doctor sent a physical therapist to her house with a walker. We couldn't convince her. Only the authority of a doctor's order and a friendly, helpful PT got her to consider it.
I find the authority of a doctor's order is very helpful in many situations. Even if I just say the doctor ordered something it often works much better.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Shelley23

I had a friend who is gone now due to ALz. She needed a hip replacement for years before she got it. She used a crutch instead of a cane or walker. We thought she was once again trying to hang onto a vestige of long gone youth. Pretending she had a ski accident we assumed. She drove a little sports car with the crutch riding shotgun.
She finally did get the hip replacement and was walking pain free before she died. Never did use a cane. A walker for a few weeks during recovery.
My DH aunt used a cane very well for years. She would throw that cane in a grocery cart and spend hours in the grocery. She was on first name basis with the bakery and pharmacy and some of the checkers. Her mobility issues were due to the dementia. Her therapist explained to me at one point that her use of the cane was better for her at that stage of her decline. I was pushing for a walker. She did use a walker but years later. She is now bedfast.
Another aunt had Parkinson’s and later LBD. She would fall. It goes with the disease her daughter said. She never used a cane or walker or broke a bone. In the end stages the falls did seem to worsen the dementia.
I would suggest you have your DH evaluated by a good physical therapist. See if DH would benefit from therapy. Sometimes it is more dangerous for them to use a device if they are using it incorrectly. also keep a sharp eye on his socks, shoes and nails. One therapist had me change out aunts kitchen chairs as they had rollers. Seems only logical but we can be met with resistance on obvious things and some don’t seem worth the fight until a nonsensical professional points out the problems.
Another suggestion is Rock Steady boxing classes for Parkinson’s. These classes really helped my aunt. Google it.
Also consider looking into one of the emergency devices that DH can wear. When he falls, you call for help with the device. It saves time and your back. You don’t have much to explain as the service has it all there and can get into your home without your help if needed.
Have the therapist give you some pointers on how to manage a fall. This way you won’t be so anxious. You will have a plan when needed. You and he are in this for the long haul so get professional advice on his unique circumstances at this stage and pace yourself. The best support he has is you but not for heavy lifting.
Trying to convince someone with dementia is pretty much a waste of time.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to 97yroldmom

Revajane, since your hubby has early stages of dementia, try reverse psychology. Tell him that the walker wouldn't work since he can't figure it out, time to put it away. But wait before storing it somewhere, and see if he will try out the walker.

There are some people if you say they can't do something, they will do it. Worth a try.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to freqflyer

Your problem is the Dementia. There is no reasoning with a person suffering from Dementia. Maybe get his doctor to look him in the eye and say "you must use a walker". A cane does no good if both legs are effected. Canes and walkers are not used correctly either. A PT can show people how to use them correctly and make sure they are adjusted to a comfortable height. People are not suppose to bend over a walker. The walker is placed a little in front of them and they walk into it.

I was told by a man whose wife suffered from Parkinsons that when they fall they fall backwards. There is a special walker for those who suffer from Parkinson's. Its weighted in such a way to help with this.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29

Revajane, it could depend on what type of walker.

I bought my Dad a rolling walker that had 4 wheels, handbrakes, a comfortable seat and basket. Oh my gosh, you'd think I had bought him a Mustang. He went everywhere with that walker, full speed ahead, and I could see him comparing his walkers to other's walkers :)

My Mom, forgetaboutit, she refused to use anything but her cane. She said the walker would make her look old [she was in her late 90's]. Wish she would have used the walker as that cane caused her back to curve over frontward after years of use.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to freqflyer
ChoppedLiver Aug 7, 2022
Ha ha. My Mom had walker envy.

As we went places, she would point to the walkers that had seats and bags, and the colorful walkers. We actually tried a few, however she didn’t understand that you had to apply the brakes to not allow the walker to move.

Once we got a table for the walker and caps that allowed the walker to move more freely, she quit asking for a different walker.
See 1 more reply
My mother with dementia was never able to learn to use a walker. Reasoning does not work when people have dementia. They forget and can't look forward to consequences. Some people feel ashamed to use a walker. My husband has a walker with a seat. It is very convenient if he has to go to a place where there is no place to sit down. He doesn't use it all of the time, only if he'll need to have a place to sit down, or if the walking will be long distances. Would a cane help your husband? I've seen some seniors use 2 walking sticks. Eventually, when my mother with advanced dementia was falling frequently, she had to use a wheel chair. She was in a memory care facility by that time, and sometimes it took 2 people to transfer her from bed to the wheel chair if she wasn't assisting, even though she only weighed 90 lbs. Have a plan B for when your husband's health declines further.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to NancyIS

Is he able to maintain 'uprightness' with a cane, or canes? Mom did well with a cane until she broke her hip. The it was the walker, as she did not rehab well.

Now she is terrified to go a single step w/o her walker.

My YB drives her the 2 places she goes, and he insists that she have her walker, or she doesn't get to go.

Adapting to a walker, over a cane, say, is depressing to an elder with walking issues.

You have to be a little tough about it. Sadly. But do see if one or two canes will work for him. Just a thought.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Midkid58

Tell him you won't take him out unless he uses it or a wheelchair. If doesn't listen talk to psychiatrist for meds for dementia to make him more easy going.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to robin4gsltw

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter