3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Perceptual Problems

Perceptual Problems

9) Practical advice for inattention or neglect 3 – outdoors

Going outdoors can be risky when there is a lot of movement, noise and distraction around the person. They maybe feeling less confident because they have been told they have a problem or over confident by not realising when there is a danger.

Moving people or cars can be difficult for the person to judge where they are in relation to whatever is coming towards them. Crossing the road becomes very difficult. Practice at quiet times, when fewer people are around. Try using a pedestrian crossing with the person, giving them a prompt or reminder if necessary to look for the signals and to check again. Listen for the sound on the crossing. Look for steps and kerbs.

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Some pavements can be cluttered with litter, dustbins etc. Street furniture can also be a problem – sign posts, cones at road works, benches, lamp posts, uneven pavements. As you are walking with the person you may need to remind them sensitively. “ Look for an obstacle on your left”. “Can you see it yet?” If they can’t see it stop and get them to scan around.

By standing or walking next to the person on their affected side you can encourage them to scan and look towards you and keep them safe from any obstacles before they trip. Try to be as natural as possible without drawing attention from the public around you and the person. This will help to put the person at ease and they will be able to concentrate on scanning rather than feeling they are being watched as they walk along.