Hi all,

Dad has some form of dementia. Never formally diagnosed by a neurologist. He and Mom are in a wonderful, trustworthy AL facility.

Dad absolutely cannot walk or even be helpful with transfers during his waking hours. However, the staff will occasionally tell us that Dad "was found in the shower at 3 am", or "the staff found him wandering their room in the middle of the night several times. He was confused..."

He has NO leg or core strength whatsoever.

It was suggested that it is his dementia that keeps him from walking, but that at night he's likely in a twilight sleep or even sleep walking.

Is this really possible? The brain is such a wonderful and horrible thing, all at once.

He can walk. He just can't walk safely. He is a fall risk and at risk to wander off. When awake he remembers this or is reminded. At night he just goes where he wants with no one to supervise him. He must have a bed alarm. The facility should know that already. If he is in adult diapers at night he can even use a form of restraint to keep him in bed. This would be a loose vest with straps so he can roll onto his side and maybe sit up but can't get up out of bed. If they don't have these systems available this might not be an appropriate placement.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to DrBenshir

I read a medical book recently that described the left and right sides of the brain, where the RHS (among other things) develops skills and habits that can work without conscious thought. We all have them, for example to cook in our own kitchen knowing automatically where the correct saucepan is and how to do the many small things simply – compared with someone else’s kitchen where you have to think much more about what you are doing. Your hands can ‘know’ what to do. Perhaps this is partly why your father can walk automatically when he suspends conscious thought. It may be about balance and movements rather than just strength. Very interesting!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MargaretMcKen

OMGosh Mine did that too!!! Nobody could explain it! I thought maybe he was "sleepwalking" but they said his eyes were open and everything..he was alert and walked himself to the nurses' station!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Chemoangel1967

When I first went to stay with my mom she was using a walker because she had become very weak and unsteady, at night when she got up to go to the bathroom she never remembered to grab the walker, even when I left it so that she had to push it out of her way. I think that getting up in that half awake state uses a different part of the brain and combined with habit they forget that the can't walk. Even later when I had to use a lot of muscle to assist mom to stand and transfer to her wheelchair I couldn't trust that she couldn't get herself up out of bed when she was half asleep, I always had to have one ear listening. I've read on this forum of many whose love ones have no ability to walk - even some with broken hips - who continually fall because they just can't remember.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cwillie

Wow, that is odd. My father also has dementia and is in wheelchair. But l recall a day he said he wanted to go home and i said he needed to walk and he got up and shuffled his way around the room. Not very far and unsteady but he did it. Then quickly got back in the wheelchair.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Lorraine11

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