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My mother is 88 yo with a dementia. She walks very slow with an unusual gait. For three years she has been talking about something being wrong with the floor, that it feels like it's giving way under her when she walks. I hear the sounds of an old wooden floor when I walk, but have noticed nothing out of the ordinary. We had the floors supported in the middle of the rooms three years ago. It has been since that time that the problem with the floor comes up. She wants to have someone come in to do floor work and is very insistent. I realize that she is to the point of calling behind my back -- she does that sometimes.

My brothers, nephew, and I have told her that the floor is okay, but she forgets and won't believe me. I'm wondering could it be her ears or is it something else that causes the feeling. Has anyone else had problems with an elder feeling like the floor was moving under them when they walk?

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Jessebelle, trying really hard to put myself in the mind of a dementia patient, is it at all possible she is trying to say something else, even about something else?
Could she be saying she is slipping on the floors and then would only need rubber bottomed slippers?
A stroke patient often repeats a word replacing it with their own word, but that is not what they mean to say. Something similar could be going on with your mom, but I don't know about dementia. I do hope she feels reassured.
Could someone tell her she is right about the floors, but we are just going to live with them because we like old floors?
Maybe they just need waxing?
Just another perspective, but you know your Mom. You seem to have been very thorough with checking her gait on a video. Good job!
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Jessebelle, I believe Mom; and you did say the floor was old. Time to get a new floor or at least get the squeaks fixed?

Cwillie, are you okay? There you go again, testing our spelling skills!
(except to wash one).
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We gave her an out so she could save face. I mentioned the things talked about here last night -- depth perception and change of feeling in her feet -- made it feel like the floor was giving under her. She accepted it today. Maybe I can talk her into wearing some good shoes soon... or maybe I'm hoping for too much. She loves slippers.
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Could you tape him on your phone saying the floors are OK and play it for your mom whenever she forgets what he says. I'd try that. :)
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Wrong anatomy Jessie, how could a woman know anything about floors (except how to was one) ;P
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Jessie, now you have a solution - get your brother to drop by when your mother becomes concerned about something, have him test it and pronounce it safe. All is again well, or as well as it ever was.
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Today brought a surprise. My brother dropped by. Turns out my mother had called him to ask him to come check the floors for her. He has done this before. When he came today, he jumped and walked about a bit and said things seemed fine. She accepted it. I told him that she would probably forget what he said soon and start talking about the floors again. Today's Tuesday, Aug 11. Let's see how long my brother's reassurance lasts.

Isn't it strange that she'll believe him that the floor is okay, but she'll get mad at me for saying the same thing. I lack credibility, I guess. :(
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Jessie, add that the contractor said what your mother has been experiencing when walking is exactly what would be expected, and that there is nothing wrong with the floor.
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Jessie, I believe the issue with floating floors is that they're not nailed down to a subfloor, but are nailed or connected to each other. This can leave a small pocket of flexibility for those walking on the floors.

Windy, you're the expert on construction - can you help us out??

Stage floors for dance are floating floors; I'm sure the floors in grocery stores are not because they're so hard and inflexible.

Perhaps you could tell your mother that, in an effort to address her concerns, you checked with the contractor who did the floor support work a few years ago and learned that he used a special sub floor construction especially for her so that she wouldn't have to walk on hard floors, and could feel a little bit of "give" that makes it easier on older feet and legs.
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Thank you, Jeanne. After hearing about the floors for so long, I find myself pushing on them to see if it is ME missing something. What you wrote about suggesting that she is very sensitive to something makes sense. I'll have to figure out something she would believe. She is a doubting soul when it comes to me telling her things. I'll have to get my brother to tell her.

I wish there was some medication or something that would make it easier on her. I know it is a terrible feeling, but I don't know how to help.
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I read the question without seeing who it was from and thought, "Gee, this sounds like JessieBelle's mother!" Sorry to see you are still dealing with this.

It is the dementia. I know that doesn't help a lot. Would it help to have an inspection and a certificate that the floor is safe? Or would she just want another opinion? Since her phobia is not reasonable I guess we can't expect reason to persuade her.

Depth perception is impaired by dementia. That might impact how far she is expecting he foot to move and when it moves more or less than that amount it feels like the floor is receding or advancing. If you've ever climbed a flight of stairs where the final step was shorter or taller than all the others you may have had that experience yourself.

I'm trying to think how to "go along" with this to comfort her. If it were my husband I could have said, "That darn dementia fools with your depth perception sometimes. That's why the floor seems to move. I'm so sorry. It is not your fault, and the floor is safe. Do you want the wheelchair while you are feeling this way?" But I seem to remember that your Mom is not too keen on acknowledging her impairments.

How about something along the lines of this ... "Mom, I think I've finally found something on line to explain the floor problem. It is not about the floor at all! It is about a change in barometric pressure! Only very sensitive people can experience this. It is perfectly safe and normal, but it does feel very weird to those who can sense it. Usually it is women past 60 who are sensitive." Just some malarkey to help her feel special and convince her the floor doesn't need fixing.

Hugs to you, dear lady. If you ever figure out anything that helps, share!
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I watched the NPH gait video a while back. She doesn't have that. It is more like the videos for severe arthritis with a lot of age added in.
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She doesn't have the weird, shuffling gait of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), does she? That's the only thing I can think, other than just her brain is playing tricks on her. It only happens in her home? Does she ever go outside?
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I just looked up floating floor. No, it's not one of those. It's the old style hardwood floor.
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BTW, there are no cracks in the floor and she doesn't understand what a subfloor is or how the support beams are constructed.
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I'm not sure what a floating floor is. There is a crawlspace with supports for a subfloor and the floor. It is pretty solid since extra support beams were added three years ago. When we had the work done, she went through a long period of thinking the house was on stilts and cold air and bugs were coming up through the cracks in the floor. She had this in her mind even though you could see there was a firm foundation. It makes me wish we never had that work done, since the problems in her mind started when the flooring was made more secure.
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Am I correct in assuming that this is a floating floor? If so, that may be what she's sensing.
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BTW, her balance is good. Her vision is poor and her progress is slow. Her depth perception is poor. She is pretty firm on her feet, though.
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Babalou, the doctor hasn't said anything about her walk. None of them have. She has spinal stenosis, so is badly bent. She looks down when she walks and has a side to side transfer of weight. He feet are wide apart and her steps are small. She holds her left arm bent and held up behind her bowed back when she walks. I asked her last doctor to watch her walk, but it didn't go anywhere. Her doctors change every few months now in this unstable healthcare environment, so I have to keep up with which doctor said what when. (Wish she had one doctor like it was in the old days.)
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There aren't any changes. It's just a hardwood floor with a couple of large rugs in the living and bed rooms. She does have a blanket plus a quilt now on top of her bedroom rug. It's one of the things she does that I've given up on. When I ask her why she does that, she says because it feels good under her feet. Yes, it worries me. In fact, it is why her doctor and the geri psych nurse tried the antidepressants -- to see if they could treat the obsession with covering the floors.

You have a very good point about shoes. She wears old house shoes that I wouldn't wear. They give very poor foot support. Trying to talk her into wearing better shoes may work. I've not been successful with that in the past, but it's always worth another try. Thanks for bringing this up. (I just went back to her bedroom and suggested it to her. Fingers crossed it has some results.)
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What does her doc say about her unusual gait?
Does she look down while walking? Poor depth perception?
Neuropathy in her feet? Balance issues?
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JesseBelle, anything from your Mom's past as a child where there was an issue with a floor?

Any new carpeting and new padding? Sometimes too thick padding gives an uneasy feeling. Decades ago new home builders use to put in super thick padding in their model homes, but it made many of us walking on the carpet, and especially the stairs... oh my gosh, the stairs... I felt like I was going to fall.

Ok, shoes? Any removable insoles that make's one feel like they are walking on a cloud? Yikes, give me hard floors, please.
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