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My mother is beginning to have difficulty with balance and has begun to shuffle when she walks. Is this common among those with dementia?

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Yes, my mother is in advanced Alzheimer's and is not yet bed-bound but is almost chair bound. She can stand briefly with assistance. I have had to find a commode wheelchair to use for her bathroom functions now.
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Yes from what I understand and have experienced with my mother, whom I am the caregiver and is turning 88 and who has vascular dementia; the decline in her walking over the last year and a half or so has really progressed. She use to be able to walk with little assistance from me, just hanging on to my arm, then it seemed last spring she started to use a cane, then it was the cane and holding on to my arm, then as the summer went on she became more unstable and she started using the walker..but could walk herself with the walker..but as the months went on she started having trouble navigating the walker and I had to guide her, even in the house just going to the bathroom. And yes..she was shuffling her feet..I had to tell her to pick up her feet. I would say by fall she was having a lot of trouble even walking with the walker and me guiding her. It was almost impossible to get her to her doctor with her walking with the walker, so I did get her a transport chair, which is such a big help. I still try to get her to walk with the walker, short distances and have her wear the geri-belt..which is such an excellent help especially on my back and shoulders when she gets unstable and wobbles. Also last fall she stopped getting up in the night to go to the bathroom..it was quite scarey at first because when I put her to bed and roll her over on her favorite side to sleep..she just stayed in that position until the morning when I got her up. She use to get up many times during the night..now she never does..which I guess is a blessing because she would fall. So after reading all the wonderful posts on here..and experiencing this first hand with my mom..and reading material about dementia..this is just an unfortunate natural progression of this disease. Good Luck to you all and god bless!
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yes this is very common. I have seen it with my mom who has vascular dementia and I understand it is common with Alzheimer's as well. This is a good time to encourage the use of a walker. If mom doesn't like it, suggest the rollator ones that have handle bars like a bike and a wonderful seat in case she gets tired when walking. Since those are a little sportier, sometimes a seasoned adult will be more likely to use one. Either way, when balance is a problem a fall can happen very easily.
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Sounds like Parkinson's. Medication will help for a while but it will continue to get worse. My mom has done very well for many years until just recently, now the dementia is very bad & she can't walk on her own at all.
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There is also a type of dementia called Lewy Body Dementia that includes Parkinson's-like motor symptoms with dementia. This type of dementia presents differently from Alzheimer's Disease in that personality changes and/or difficulties with motor skills often appear before memory problems become evident.
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Yes it is common. I copied this off the web, hope it is helpful:
Loss of mobility

Many people with dementia gradually lose their ability to walk and to perform everyday tasks unaided. One of the first signs of this is that they shuffle or walk unsteadily. They may also seem slow or clumsy and be more likely to bump into things, drop objects or fall. A stroke, arthritis or the effects of a fall may also affect a person's mobility.
Some people with dementia eventually become confined to a bed or chair. Those who are caring for the person should seek advice from a physiotherapist or community nurse on how to help the person to move without injuring the person or themselves.
An occupational therapist can give advice about equipment and adaptations to aid mobility.
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Hello abby33, mine is 87, almost 88 but does not have dementia that I know of (it has not been diagnosed by her family dr. but she does exhibit some pretty weird and strange behaviours).
She has had trouble with balance and has had several falls in the last ten years which she attributes to vertigo, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, dizziness, etc. In fact most of the times she denies she has fallen or the reason for it.
She has also adopted this "shuffling", of course it is not on display when any of her friends are around. She is quite capable walking in the mall, at the hairdresser's or up the street, but in our house, it is a constant noise of her slippers shuffling up the hallway. She will not pick up her feet.
Maybe it is a defence mechanism against a possible fall, who knows?
Mine uses a cane when she is going to be walking any distance but she will not use a walker because that to her is "demeaning".
I would start with her family dr. who can give her a couple of little tests to determine the range of her balance and stability, also do some blood tests etc. to see if anything is causing the lack of balance. Has she been diagnosed with dementia? You don't mention how old she is.
If she lives with you then you want to make sure there is nothing like scatter mats or other things around that she could trip or slip on. Is your home modified with night lights, grab bars in the bathroom and tub, and an elevated toilet seat? I did all this to make sure she would be secure but you cannot prevent every fall.
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