Seeking suggestions

Hi all… I am looking for some suggestions for handling two things: stairs and brain fog.

I’m having increasing difficulty handling stairs, particularly going down them because it requires a shift in one’s balance. I do take them one at a time and rely heavily on the handrail. I have a set of stairs from my front door to the sidewalk, and my biggest complication has been getting down them with my rollator. I really don’t want to install a ramp (though that maybe where I’m headed) for several reasons: 1) nothing says disabled like a huge ramp, and 2) it would require a complete reconfiguration of the front of my house in order for the ramp to be installed up to code. I was wondering if anybody had any better suggestions?

The second thing I’m looking for some suggestions for is dealing with "brain fog ". When this happens I have extreme difficulty keeping what balance I still have, problems with visually focusing, and struggle with concentration. It usually lasts for several hours. A friend of mine told me that when it happens I have to stop trying to fight it and give myself allowance to experience it. He had a point, when I just gave in and accepted that I was going to be this way for a couple of hours, emotionally and psychologically I felt a little better. Again, I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions for how they’ve handled the brain fog.


:smirk: I’m well familiar with Brain Fog. And, as you say, I’ve found the best way of dealing with it is not to fight it… I’m thought to have some type of Episodic ataxia, symptoms worsen on a regular basis and Brain Fog seems to come and go at the same time :roll_eyes: It can last for days at a time, I’m usually zonked, but thankfully it does eventually lift :slightly_smiling_face: Unfortunately I don’t know of any medication that would be useful :smirk:

I also use a rollator :slightly_smiling_face: Luckily access to my house is flat apart from one step, which I can manage very carefully :slightly_smiling_face: I can see your reluctance to install a ramp, but taking safety and practicality into consideration, it may turn out to be the best option :thinking: Other than that, would installing additional handrails be of any help :thinking: It’s obviously going to need a great deal of thought whatever you do. Personally, I need to move house, and am finding my options are fairly limited, I did see one Bungalow with a ramp already installed, but it was snapped up quickly :smirk: xB

Fortunately, I don’t have experience with brain fog, so I have no input there. I have oodles of mobility issues, though, and have lots of experience with that. How many steps do you have? If it is only a couple, making the steps really wide can help since wide steps are more manageable with a rollator. I have that to my garage along with a hand rail, and it helps a lot. I don’t know where you live, but choose materials carefully for your climate to avoid slipping.

A thing where you sit and get taken down can help. They do exist for outside. I have a stair lift to my lower level and it helps, though you cannot carry things. The sit and scoot method is not too good looking, but it is safe. Your rollator could get tossed down steps. Its safety does not matter. Yours does.

The ramp may be your best option. Using a rollator all ready says “disabled” so a ramp will not be too much worse.

We ended up moving, for a bunch of reasons-not just me. If we moved again I would like minimal steps to outside, and an elevator if there are any flights of stairs to contend with.

If you are getting worse,consider future needs, too. Ramps will work best, I assume, for wheelchairs and scooters.

Good luck!

I’m going to assume that your symptoms are too bad yet and you are trying to pass.

With stairs, you need to be able to touch something as you go down. If you don’t have a railing, you need to install one so you can touch the railing or grab it when needed. Otherwise you will eventually stumble and sprain or break something.

I think brain fog is our way of knowing that we have to rest. I like to remember that the cerebellum is also affect when you drink- the events that happen when a person is drunk also happen with ataxia. Drunks black out and then pass out. If they didn’t, many more people would die from alcohol poisoning. If you’re nearing the passing out stage, by having cognitive issues, you need to call it a day and do something that requires little brainpower. I often watch a relaxing tv show and take a nap if I can.

Thank you to all for the feedback. Regarding the stairs, there are about 6 steps from my front porch to the street level. I was thinking of altering them to make them wider/longer. I have to contact my contractor to find out what can reasonably be done. I have a two level house, and have gained a whole new appreciation for the one level home!:smiley: Fortunately I did have rails installed for the outside stairs…I am glad I was proactive with that. The comment my use of a rollator pretty much announces I have a disability is correct. And though everyone in my block knows this, I’m still not ready for a full out ramp. I know my saftey is paramount…the falls I’ve experienced remind me of that. At some point, probably in the very near future, I’ll have to seriously consider either a ramp or a new house.

As for the brain fog…I guess all I can do is go with it. I have mentioned it several times to my doctor and he doesn’t respond. It does go away…eventually.

Stairs…Try to have an extra railing on the other side fitted. The balance issue is greatly addressed if you are balanced, going up or down…Cannot give any advice on a ramp…In front of the house-Still have a short railing on the left, as on the right there is no space…But it helps immensely. esp. when we come back from the shopping and my hubby opens up the heavy front door a very handy hook, can rest, as we live in a maisonette, house split into 2 flats, we managed to get the original staircase…I no longer step out backwards holding the frame…2 steps, 1 recently concereted into a full step…and one original.

Brain fog- had all my life, esp. when heavy allergy, could not have learned driving as my concentration non existent and sneezing…very shortsighted…and it was going up, till I finished after 2 years of uni.There is an increase, but much slower…But mostly these days it is in the winter, I got this special SAD lamp…as if a rag on my head, caused by the cloudy, overcast, very low cloud…Comes early February and it is as if pulled off my head…the lamp helps very much, it is a broad spectrum…

Mainly the main point is drinking COFFEE against foggy brain, that keeps me going…Who can drink it, who cannot because of the blood pressure or other…I take up to two cups, in extreme cases 3. really strong with milk…Ok I can hear you all shouting, BUT it gets me going.

I sometimes resort to going down stairs backwards. I use the handrail. Looks awkward, and takes time, but I’m more balanced. I get brain fog usually in the morning. A good breakfast usually lifts it for me.


I had similar stair issues and I have so many stairs. I purchased 2’’ diameter steel hand rails and mounted them on both sides of the stairs.
Decending stairs did get somewhat easier and much safer. The new rails should be longer than the ones your replacing and their diameter is determined be your hand size.
Going up or down the stairs while carrying weight is so hard. I chose to
put walking devices on different floors. It makes sense. My walker downstairs is sturdier and designed for a broad variety of walking surfaces. My upstairs needs are modest but I have lighter walkers there if I need them.

1 Like