Is it typical for a dementia patient to walk and walk and not settle down?

Asked by

My mom was moved to memory care 2 months ago after suffering from her first UTI, at which point her ability to form any words at all is gone completely and she cannot carry on any kind of conversation. When I first arrive at her facility, she'll allow us to sit for several minutes, she'll try and tell me "things" in jibberish which I cannot understand. Then she insists on walking me around her facility, in circles for the rest of the time I'm there. I feel like I'm a little puppy dog, following after her owner. I realize every dementia patients shows different symptoms, but is this one of them. If so, how do I deal with it? It just seems crazy to me. Oh and btw, she refuses to leave the building at all. It'd be nice if I could get her out for a drive. But she won't hear of it.

Answers 1 to 10 of 55
Top Answer
I know that agitation comes with alz/dementia, and not able to express yourself would certainly be agitating wouldn't it? Or does she even know that you don't understand her? I would say that whatever she wants to do with you or for you, do it. If she wants to walk the halls in circles, link your arm in hers (if she'll let you) and walk around in circles. At least that's what I would do. I also think that she feels safest where she's at, and if she doesn't understand why/where you want to take her, she will probably not want to go.
I think this is common. If it occurs late afternoon or eve; it is sometimes referred to as "sundowners syndrome". For some reason; at this time of day, the person gets restless; makes less sense; and just wanders around in circles and can't seem to settle down and relax. Not much you can do but exercise patience with her and follow her around or link arms and "go with the flow". My friends have commented same about their elder Alzheimers or dementia parents.
I have heard this happens a lot. Many people with dementia cannot sit still. They sit for a minute, then have to walk. I know how uncomfortable you are with it, Chatykat. It bothers many people when their loved one goes through it. Some facilities sedate residents to try to still the constant walking. It can be a difficult situation if the walking goes on into the night.
It's pretty common. As long as she's not in distress, constant walking is much easier to handle than wandering. My friend's mom walked most of the day. The staff of her community found different things that would distract her (for example, she loved to sit in on meetings for some reason, so they included her when they could). But for the most part, staff members just took turns walking with her.
However, if she seems to be moving because she's constantly 'fretting', you might want to talk to her doctor. When medication is suggested, you shouldn't immediately think it's about making the resident easier to deal with, it's often about improving the quality of their lives. If you've ever seen someone suffer through high anxiety every waking hour because their family doesn't want them 'drugged', you'd agree that meds can be a blessing.
I still have my husband at home and he is in the late stages ofalzheimers. You can bet your boots that abt 3:00 every afternoon he will start his wandering. I have all the gates in the back yard locked so he cannot get out and this frustrats him so bad. He continually walks and walks from gate to gate. I just watch him to make sure he does not fall and hurt himself. Long abt 5:00 he is shaking the gates to get our front. Unfortunately this is part of the disease so I just let him wander. Hang in there and try to understand where she is coming from. It is a horrible horrible disease and not nearly enough resources are being applied to help find a cure. This is what we have to make sure happens. Good luck to you
My mom has done this for YEARS...she NEVER rests. She walks the halls at the NH non-stop, wearing the SOLES out of several pairs of shoes. Once, she was put into the hospital (in May) for her feet. NH never even called me that anything was wrong with her feet until she was in the hospital. They called to tell me that they put her in the hospital that day and I asked...for what???? They said her feet. Her feet have always been in PRISTINE condition as I care for her feet and toenails myself...buying her the "right" kind of good shoes, etc. I guess she was wearing another resident's shoes that were wayyyy too small and of course walking non-stop..even through meals..she cannot stay put long enough to eat two bites and she is up walking again. Anyway...when I went to see her at the hospital AFTER they called and said she was there, I couldn't believe her feet!!! BOTH were swollen three times the norm with BIG BLISTERs between all toes, on top AND bottom of her feet. AWFUL!!!! I've never seen anything like it before and just another example of the NH NOT paying any attention to my mom. She was in the hospital for a week on IV antibiotic then, sent back to NH with another month's worth of antibiotics. FINALLY got her feet back to normal but it was pure hell because she would NOT stop walking on them, even with the wheelchair. She would get out of the wheel chair to walk. If I hold on to her to hold her still, she WALKS IN a soldier. Reminds me, I have to buy her another pair of shoes today.
To teachergear1. That does not speak very highly of the NH you have her in. This is why I am trying so hard to keep my husband at home as long as I can. He is in stage 7 of alzheimers. Nothing he says makes sense. He has started to slouch in any chair he sits in and yesterday all he wanted to do was take he pants off, God help me if and when the day comes I have to put him in a NH. God Bless You.
favewlbur.....Trust me, I KNOW it doesn't say much about the NH, but this is the 5th one I've tried in 6 years...the others were MUCH WORSE. I am out of NH options. I've even contacted an attorney to sue the last NH for how badly they neglected her. Oh...the stories (TRUE) I could tell never ends.. NH are there for the money. They pay the aides who do most ALL of the work minimum wage and the admin gets big bucks for sitting in her office all day or not even there at all. Money is the root of all evil. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking of the neglect from all of the NHs I've tried. She has also lived with me each time I took her out of one that was neglecting her but she is SO hateful and mean to me and will NOT listen when I tell her not to get knives out or turn burners on, etc. I have to follow her all over the house all day long to keep her out of things, like a one year old. She gets VERY hateful because I'm HELPING her to stay safe..then the hitting starts again. I've never had ANY help from siblings AT ALL. Why do I feel obligated to keep caring for her when the others NEVER have? I'll never understand that. Mom used to take her clothes off too..when we'd be sitting in the front room (for maybe 2 min. before she started walking again). She'd get hateful and tell me she's taking it off anyway..and her bra. It was a constant battle and she has long, hard fingernails that hurt!! I can't keep her with me anymore. I can't even take care of myself with PTSD and Panic Disorder. My therapist told me NOT to take her back to live with me.
my Mom has always been somewhat hyperactive... now she has dementia, my Father is gone(he passed away 2 yrs ago) and she is LOST!... We had to get something to calm her down. She would literally call me 10 times a day like her hair was on fire!!! It has helped to a certain extent and she does seem somewhat better from that stand point. She still does not remember well and has alot of problems with reasoning... Most of the time she is fairly cheerful and does seem to be able to function pretty well! She does not live in her own home anymore that became a real problem. She is living in an indepedant senior housing complex... It is beautiful, there are activities and also she has one meal a day in the dining room. She does seem happy, as happy as she can be without my Father... I am not for snowing someone, or knocking them out with medicine but I do thing they have there place in the course of treatment
I am reading Q's & A's and am rather new with this dementia care. So could someone tell me what NH stands for?

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support