• How to help overcome fear of stairways in an 87-year-old with dementia?


    Question:

    Do you have tips for overcoming difficulty with stairways in an 87-year-old with dementia?


    Answer:

    First, it is important to make sure there are no eye problems affecting vision that can be easily corrected, such as refractive error or cataracts. Any other problems that could affect vision—like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration—should also be identified, as treatment can prevent further vision loss.

    People with dementia can have problems with the part of the brain that handles depth perception, making tasks like using stairs and recognizing objects difficult. While there is no effective treatment for this, there are specially trained occupational therapists who can perform home visits and make modifications such as marking stairs more clearly that might improve this person's confidence. I would recommend discussing this problem further with your eye care provider, who can diagnose any eye problems and help connect you with the appropriate resources.

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