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Topic Cane or Walker & Getting up out of a chair Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By MJ-Camano On 2010.07.09 12:15
Just a couple of questions, my husband has been able to get around on his own until the last week, he is unable to get up out of a chair without assistance and I think he really needs to start using a cane or walker. Is the cane or walker based on a personal preference? Does anyone have any ideas what we should start with? Also any ideas on getting out of a chair - it seems he has just forgotten how to do this natural thing - tries to push on the back of the chair(almost tipping it over) the more he tries to think of what to do, the worse it gets.....

By Emma On 2010.07.09 12:51
Does he have other mobility problems? If so I would probably go right to a walker but also get a cane. My husband uses both. The U-Step is the best walker if you go that route. It is made specifically for Parkinson's patients and Medicare, if he has it, will pay for most of it if you get a prescription from the doctor. We started with a cane, and I would strongly recommend the kind with the four prong base, they are much more stable than the straight one leg type. Another thing you might want to consider is a lift chair. Medicare will pay for part of that also. You won't have to try to lift him out and it will save your back. They look just like a regular recliner and are a great help. My husband is at the point now where he can't remember how to use the remote for his but I press the button for him and it's no problem. Interesting that you said your husband doesn't seem to remember how to get out of a chair. My husband doesn't remember how to sit down in one. I coach him ... get your butt right in front of the chair, bend your knees, start lowering your butt down, etc.
Good luck!

By Pearly4 On 2010.07.09 17:44
My mother needed assistance but never was able to manage the remote on a lift chair. My handy husband attached a T-bar to a piece of plywood -- it slid between the cushion and the chair, the bar would rotate to any position and height and just provided an "arm" when none was around -- worked well and we even built another for the bed. Prior to that when left alone she would slide to the floor, get up on hands and knees and use the chair/couch to support herself untl she could stand.

Later we found it just as simple and even easier to purchase the risers sold for raising the head of a bed - they sit under the legs of the bed and are about 4-6 inches high, raising a bed but we we used them under the couch legs and a chair. The additional height was all she needed and we were able to remove the support he built. After her death we replaced the couch but the new one doeasn't accommodate the risers -- I really miss them myself!

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.07.09 19:54
MJ, It's not always a case of forgetting how to do something. In some cases it is but not always. If I've noticed one thing about caregivers over the years it's many while wanting to know "all that may come" and insist it's to be prepared "down the line" they find themselves watching for "those signs" and while some action might be a sign of forgetting it may not be either and cause much un-needed concern.

At times we don't forget it is simply a case of not being able to get everything working to perform the action. The signals get short circuited and if we can't get these muscles working in unison well we're stuck. Like I was in the story below.

The night I got attacked and almost eaten by a folding chair. I was at that time still enjoying going to bingo. My back had been acting up so I had my brace on. Throughout the evening I was sliding down and then sitting up in my chair trying to get comfortable. As is My case when I sit for awhile my feet tend to turn inward bending at the ankle. But that's no problem most of the time. I move my legs a lot and at times my feet end up wrapped around the chair legs. (you know around the side with toes poking out between the legs). To shorten this story, bingo was done and I tried to rise.........the chair back had wedged down between my back and my back brace! Much to my dismay my feet were neatly tucked under and around the chair legs..........I couldn't stand, I couldn't get my legs free of the locks the chair legs had them in which would have made any Pro-wrestler proud! I'm stuck and now starting to panic! I tried flailing my arms and twisting my body which was held fast by the brace and wedged chair back! Finally I tried reaching down to unravel my feet........no good the brace wouldn't let me bend far enough! Sadly to say I tapped out and had to ask for help! Remarkably the only thing injured was my pride! Some times we just gotta laugh besides I'd rather be known as the goof who got stuck in the chair than the crybaby who was stuck! Take care, best of luck and hang in there .........remember if all else fails you can always try and goose um! (the heat must be getting to me lol)

By MJ-Camano On 2010.07.10 02:27
Thank you so much for the humor, it made my day!! Yes, I suppose he is not forgetting; but just can't get all the signals going at the same time. We will conquor this!! Thank you to others for you suggestions also....

By Emma On 2010.07.10 05:31
Lohengren, I love your sense of humor and you always give me something to think about. I say that my husband doesn't remember how to sit down because that's what he tells me. After reading your post I wonder if what's really happening is that he tries, his body doesn't do what he wants it to so he thinks he's doing it wrong, thus thinks he's not remembering the correct movements. Not that it matters I guess but it gives me another perspective. Thanks.

By parkinit On 2010.07.10 16:10
Just a thought - there are commercial grab bars you can purchase as well. I bought one to aid my spouse once he is in an upright position to help him out of the bed. It swivels around so you can use it in a wider range of space (like to get from the bed to a nearby wheelchair). He has a grab bar attached to the side of the bed, but needed something to help him on up. we also have the lift recliner and he used it grudgingly at first, but now, he loves it.

By Lotsapies On 2010.07.10 19:10
Al I guess its a good thing you didn't have a B-I-N-G-O!! You may have gotten hurt.....
Thanks for the story
Sally

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.07.10 23:56
Lotsa, One thing I've found out through My life living with Parkinson's Disease, either firsthand or by talking and observing others, We have an acute ability to compound any trouble or situation we get ourselves into :). We can turn a simple problem into a fiasco quickly and quite easily. I'd give myself a pat on the back for this post but I'd probably get my arm stuck behind me somehow and have to go wake a neighbor to help me! Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

P.S. if you liked that story, in the commentary section (scroll down to the bottom) if you click on "You just never know, or a Parkinson's life!" you can read about a battle I had with my bed. I've got a few on there.

By karolinakitty On 2010.07.11 12:22
Al .. gotta say ... your battle with the bed is my all time favorite .... i see my guy doing things like that and i can't help but laugh, cause i think of the battle of the bed........

By chauert1 On 2010.07.19 09:17
I would suggest a walker as it offers more stability. Also, when walking make sure the feet are not right together as it helps the balance when placed a little apart. When trying to get up out of a chair or out of bed, once they are sitting up, have them rock back and forth just a little to get some momentum (not real hard). Also make sure the chair has arms to help them push up. Once standing, have them stand up for a brief moment so as to get them stable before walking.

We purchased one of those recliners that lift which also helps.

By rmshea On 2010.07.19 15:05
This is a question along the lines of chairs..MIL wants a glider chair like I have..she falls asleep in it here. But the ottoman glides back and forth as does the chair..I am terrified that if she's alone with a glider chair, she'll fall or not be able to get out as the chair is not locked or still. She thinks I'm out of my mind. Any feedback? the state of my mind notwithstanding..

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.07.19 16:00
MJ, as to your original post. Getting out of the chair, it sounds like He's getting the cart before the horse. Meaning He's got to lean forward before he tries to push with his arms and legs. Remaining sitting He's pushing backward, by leaning forward then he's exerting the pressure that will push upward. Try reminding him to lean forward, then ask or discuss what prompts will help him remember to lean to get up.
Cane or walker? I suppose it depends on the individual or their Doctor which to try. Many use walkers some canes. Stability with a cane is sometimes iffy, I use a cane I recently asked my neurologist about the four legged ones but he said he didn't recommend one in my case, walkers tend to enhance our poor posture of rounded shoulders and forward lean. As I said different Doctors different recommendations.

rm, If it were me I'd nix the glider chair. Really too unstable, if rising and the chair glides back then nothing is there if She doesn't make it up the first time. As getting up from sitting becomes a challenge we don't need a chair that can scoot away or moves making rising more of a chore or challenge for us. While these chairs can be relaxing or comfortable We patients don't need another thing that can turn upon us when least expected. That said, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes when you tell her no!

Take care, best of luck and hang there.

By gap2010 On 2010.07.20 21:37
I am new to this forum. My husband was diagnosed "officially" last Oct. has been off work since January of this year. Today he told me he fell asleep in his chair, when he woke up he could not get out of his chair for almost an hour. I was at work. How awful...any suggestions on what to do to help him when this happens? Will this become more regular of a thing to happen? Should I be at home with him more? He's only 49 years old and the neurologist suggests the DBS surgery. Thanks for advice.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.07.20 23:48
gap2010, Hi and welcome to the forum. Hard to tell what's going on, Is your Husband on medication yet? When it took a lot of time to get out of the chair, was it because he couldn't move? Or he had trouble getting everything working to move? Any other contributing conditions? What are his most disabling symptoms? The more that's known the more help we can be (of course we understand just finding Us and posting, there isn't a comfort zone, so people are leery of letting out too much information. We all understand that, as you get more comfortable here you'll find it easier).

DBS doesn't stop or cure this disease, I suggest researching thoroughly go online and visit sites not sponsored by metronic (the company that makes the implants) theirs will be slanted toward having the procedure. Look back in this forum for feedback on DBS some people swear by it others are not happy with results. It's a big step and there are those who's symptoms don't qualify. Frankly I'm surprised the Doctor suggested it this early in the disease. Symptoms progress and show at different times and I'd think the Doctor and hospital would want to make sure those symptoms aren't beginning before doing this surgery.

The best advice I can give you right now is to run the not being able to get out of the chair by his Neurologist. Try to read up everything you can about Parkinson's Disease either online or request free booklets from the various organizations like the American Parkinson's Disease Association, The National Parkinson's Foundation, etc. Again welcome to the forum, keep posting and we'll help all we can. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By gap2010 On 2010.07.21 09:17
Lohengrin, Thanks for the response. Here is a little history on my husband. We think he has had Parkinson's for at least 7 years now, but just officially diagnosed until last year. Unofficially, the neurologist said he was pretty sure 3 years ago, but my husband did not tell me. He has been off work since January of this year and we are beginning the process of filing for SS Disability. Currently he is on Carbidopa/Levodopa and Mirapex ER along with 4 blood pressure medicines. He has tremors, stiffness, freezing, muscle spasms, vivid dreams, dizziness, and falls asleep during the day a lot. He has Coronary Artery Disease along with parkinsons. He has had encephalitis and meningitis both, has had 17 concussions in his lifetime that he remembers, and was exposed to many chemicals while serving as a Boatswain Mate in the Coast Guard. I believe this is why the neurologist is suggesting the DBS for him because the medicines don't seem to be helping like they should.

By Emma On 2010.07.21 13:22
gap2010, Welcome to the forum! You are in the right place and we're glad you found us. There is a great group of people posting here and nothing is off limits. We all help each other with advice, information and support.

Like Lohengrin said, it's hard to know why your husband had trouble getting out of the chair. I would suggest looking into lift chairs that will tip him up to almost a standing position and then he can just walk away. They also recline so even if he doesn't need it all the time it's still a good basic chair for him. You can buy them at furniture stores or medical supply stores. They look like a regular recliner.

Knowing when it's time to be at home with him more is tough. I retired 4+ years ago at the age of 55. It got to the point where my husband was calling me at work 10 or more times a day, having me dragged out of meetings for "emergencies" like he couldn't find his favorite baseball cap, and leaving incoherent messages on my answering machine. I decided that if he was that confused I needed to be home. Plus the stress of dealing with work and his Parkinson's was just wearing me down. It's a personal decision.

I don't know what to tell you about the DBS. Our neurologist sent us to a movement disorder clinic to be assessed for it but my husband turned out not to be a candidate because he has dementia. Apparently the surgery itself can cause dementia in some people so they won't do it on patients who already struggle with that symptom. I was glad that the decision was made for us, just thinking about it was stressful for both of us. . Do a lot of research and maybe get a second opinion. It's brain surgery so I wouldn't go into it blindly or lightly.

Good luck and stay with us!

By gap2010 On 2010.07.21 20:34
Emma, thank you for the reply, I truly appreciate insight and advice. We went to the neurologist today and he added another medicine, Azilect. So now he takes Sinemet, Mirapex ER (Max dose) and Azilect for parkinson's disease. We have also been referred to a neurosurgeon. We go next Thursday. big decision. came away from the appt with a heaviness and feeling of apprehension over the unknown. It is so good to have this forum. helps to feel not so alone.

By sannph On 2010.07.22 21:31
I'll be thinking of you as you see the neurosurgeon--there is so much to consider! My husband had DBS 4/09 at the age of 53. We weighed pro/con for quite awhile before making a decision. If you have questions or want more details I'll be glad to share our experience.
~Shirley

By gap2010 On 2010.07.22 21:33
Hi Shirley, I would love to know of your experience with the whole process and how things are going now. I would have emailed you personally but did not have it. mine is gpew2002@yahoo.com

thanks!
Gwen

By shakingpt On 2010.07.29 22:02
All great suggestions from everyone. Being a therapist my first concern would be utilizing proper mechanics to get up and then you may want to look strength. Is he getting weaker and needs an exercise program to get better.

By MJ-Camano On 2010.07.30 02:08
An update as I brought up this original question. The Dr sent my husband to physical therapy for recommendations on a walker, she was very surprised he was so confused... said it was good to start with the walker now before he gets much more confused. Also she is using the "tough love" approach and having him practice standing without using his hands 10 times every hour (during waking hours) She said it would give hiim a little exercise while watching TV. Surprisingly when we went for the 2nd appointment - he got up and down 30 times within about 15 minutes. Practice, practice, practice.

Now I'm having a problem with him sleeping too much - won't get out of bed till 11am, goes back to bed by 11:30 and sleeps till 5pm. At 5pm he seems to wake up and by 10pm is ready to go back to bed. Thus his awake time is about 5-6 hours a day - this has been his normal schedule for about a week.....


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