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My mom has started - a few months ago now - tapping her foot almost all the time. It's like a person who's impatiently waiting for something, but she's not impatient when she's doing it. It's like a tick, and she never had any before. She stops if she's engrossed in something on TV, but not always - sometimes if she's talking or watching a show or something that should distract her from that, she keeps doing it. Is it a symptom?

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It sounds like something you should ask the doctor about. This isn't necessarily an Alzheimer's symptom, but repetitive ticks can be part of dementia. However, there could be another cause, as well. It's smart of you to notice these changes. Please do check it out medically.
Carol
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My mom hums and it is not any particular tune. The doctor said it was a part of the Alzheimer's. It was actually her humming that made me want her to see a neurologist. My mom has hummed off and on for a long time, but it started to happen far more often. Her regular doctor thought it might be frontal lobe dementia, but after a CT scan and seeing a neurologist, we learned it was Alzheimer's.
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My father (who has Alzheimer's) is doing the same thing. My mother brought it to my attention when I was home for the holidays. It's something new. It's interesting that your mother is doing the same thing.
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I did not notice this sort of tic or repetitive motion in my MIL until her dementia was well advanced, at the age of nearly 93, maybe three or four months before her death. For her, it wasn't foot tapping, but mostly drumming her fingers on the table at mealtimes. Up until then, I had never seen her do anything like that in the forty-plus years I had known her. For a few months nearly two years ago, she and her husband had been in assisted living on an unsecured floor initially, and then, after her husband's death, she was moved to the secured "memory care" floor for a couple of months until we moved her back to her house. I witnessed a lot of repetitive physical activity like foot tapping, finger drumming, tapping the table with spoons, etc. in several people while visiting there, especially on the secured floor. I wondered whether it was as much due to boredom and impatience as anything physical with the dementia. I've certainly done similar sorts of things at times when feeling peeved and impatient, especially when I have no alternative to just sitting. It feels like pent-up energy that has no appropriate outlet at such times.
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I didn't know humming and singing could be dementia related. My Mom whistles- well, like a breathy whistling- a lot! It drives my dad crazy. It did start around the time of her Alzheimer's diagnosis (which the doctor is saying may not be the right diagnosis). But I know her foot wiggling is her restless legs. I did see on line that repetitive tics with dementia is usually a frontal lobe thing. I wonder if my Mom's scans show any frontal lobe differences? I wish I could find out but have limited access to her medical info. So confusing.
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Yogi, I know what you mean. I have never been so glad to look like my dad (who's sharp as a tack, and only about 6 months younger than my mom), and I cling to the fact that I have all the same health issues that he has - that my mom doesn't - I'm glad to have arthritis and high blood pressure and thyroid issues (it's like I'm his female carbon copy) rather than resembling her physically. I feel awful thinking that way, but like you, I do NOT want to lose my mind. I'd rather be in a wheelchair and unable to move but still have my mind. She can't even watch TV or read to entertain herself, because she can't follow the plot or the thread of a story. That is no life. She's not unable to enjoy short things like quiz shows (she still kills on Jeopardy) and cooking shows or things like that, but anything with a plot, she's done. I can't imagine being "dumb" all of the sudden and confused over simple things. It's awful to watch, and I don't want to go down that path. I totally empathize with your paranoia!
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Seven13, Thanks for sharing! After reading some of those I am grateful all I have is humming. It was the humming that got my attention along with the denial.

So I am glad you shared, my mom likes Kleenex's but we have not gone to hoarding them she just uses them forever but she has always been this way.
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Foot tapping is related to Parkinson's
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My dad is 90 and has Alzheimer's and he has started drumming with his fingers and hands. Sometimes he taps his feet. He makes lots of non-verbal vocalizations as well as signs or hums the same few bars repeatedly.. I am not sure what all this means but perhaps it is a reinforcement that he is in the present... not sure, it used to bug the heck out of me but I have learned to tune much of it out.
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I mean sings! :)
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