Any advice on safety gate for adult with PD

Hi. My name is Linda and I have a sister with PD. She lives independently, albeit near to daughter, son-in-law and their 2 boys. She has started experiencing dizzy spells (for which doc has changed her meds, so hopefully will help) but my concern is if she has one of these spells at the top of the stairs. I suggested she get a safety gate installed to prevent her from falling, but obviously it will have to be one she could operate herself. She moved to be near her daughter about 5 or 6 years ago but bungalows were well out of her price range. Does anyone know where we can get a suitable gate?

Hi Sister1,
We noticed it was your first post so we wanted to say welcome to our cherished community. We are happy to hear your sister has family nearby and that she is not without her independence. We do have a shop which offers loads of different living aids for PWP, and while I wasn’t able to locate any gates, per se, you may want to have a look and share the page with her when you can. Our community members may have some recommendations, and you are welcome to call our adviser team at 0808 800 0303 for assistance, as they have multiple ways to help, including local resources, and you needn’t be a PWP to call. There are multiple kinds of easily removable garden and child gates with varying difficulties as far as locking and unlocking, so we would also recommend an online perusal of ‘safety gates’ or ‘baby gates’ to have a look at what’s available near you.
Best wishes to you, your sister, and your family,
Mod Team

Thank you for your response. We will look online for safety gates but would still welcome any recommendations from anybody who has experience of a suitable gate. We will also have a browse through your shop items. Thanks again.

Hi, I can not recommend a safety gate but I just wondered if your sister has had an extra handrail installed on her staircase, our local council installed one free of charge for my husband. They also installed hand grips in various places in the house including in the shower. If your sister doesn’t already have these it would be worth looking into.

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Hi. Thank you for your advice. I will pass this on to my sister. So far she’s managing very well with the one stair rail. My main concern though is if she has a fall at top of stairs. Sometimes she falls due to a dizzy spell, or her legs just buckle from under her. On these occasions she has a chance to grab the banister. Unfortunately she sometimes acts out her vivid dreams, leaps out of bed and finds herself on the landing, having bumped her head. And recently she fell while sweeping garage floor, with no warning signs, no memory of falling. Ended up in A&E, head stapled, ECG, MRI, BP etc checked. Assume its progression of PD. Thanks again for advice, every little helps.

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Does your sister wear glass, my husband was sent to see a specialist and he now has prisms on his glasses and exercises to strengthen his eye muscles which seems to be helping with the dizzyness and the double vision.

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Yes, she wears glasses, but dizziness is due to low blood pressure.

Hello Sister1,

Unfortunately, I cannot comment to the stair gate either. It seems your sister could equally have an episode between the top and bottom stair.

I am in the same position as your sister and it is scary and unpredictable. I saw another thread on this forum about an alarm pendant to wear around the neck that could send an alert to notify of a fall. Since she might not carry a phone with her all the time, this might be good. I’m looking into getting one.

The second I feel any dizziness or leg instability, I crouch down to the ground until it passes. I learnt not to try to fight it and remain standing as that was not a contest I could win. There have been times I go up or down the stairs on my bottom step by step. My cats think it lots of fun. Outside of my home, I know I can barely get 10 steps in without going down so I use a wheelchair.

It’s not about being able to remain standing, it’s about not hurting yourself in a fall. Hence, I try to do a “controlled” fall. It is an absolutely horrific feeling when the dizziness hits.

Hopefully, the meds changes help. Best wishes, MAnnie

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An OT would be best person to approach. There is also a watch available which alerts a service, just as a call button pendant does, to a fall. I understand that you want to prevent a fall but that is almost impossible. Both the previously mentioned work anywhere in the house as stairs are not the only reason for a fall.

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Hello MAnnie,
Thanks for your advice. My sister does crouch down or sit if she feels a dizzy spell starting up. And she now ensures she closes her bedroom door at night so that she doesn’t run out of her room in her sleep. It means she collides with the door but that results in minor bruises as opposed to more severe injury if she fell down the stairs.
I’ve passed on your suggestion of a watch alarm.
Thanks again.

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Sorry, it was someone else who mentioned the watch, but an alarm worn on a pendant is also a good idea.

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Hi, I realise I have already commented twice on this but I have been buying a stairlift for myself, I don’t have parkinsons and my husband who has does not want a stairlift. I need one, the thing about them is you can leave them so that they block the top of the stairs and using it would to go up and down would possibly be safer than walking. They are not cheap of course.

My uncle, who has PD, had a similar situation. We found a great self-operable safety gate online.