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Any ideas?

Anti anxiety medication might help.
But this is common with some. I used to take my Husband to Day Care at a MC facility and there was a woman that just walked up and down the hall constantly.
As long as she is safe when walking/pacing I would not worry about it.
If it is not real hot or cold outside get her out to walk. (as long as it is safe. Make sure she had a Gait Belt on..actually she should have one on all the time...)
With dementia the brain fixates on something and that becomes a "thing"
Pacing, Spitting, Moaning, Counting, Humming, Ripping up paper, hoarding things...All part of a broken brain.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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You have not provided a lot of detail, but the constant pacing sounds like your parent has some form of dementia. Not everyone with dementia develops this kind of behavior, but it also isn't uncommon.

I didn't dig down into the links provided, but there is an overview here:
https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/anxiety-agitation

One suggestion is a thorough medical checkup, esp if some new behavior suddenly starts. As is often suggested in many threads on this forum, have that checkup include a test for UTI. Before you dismiss this, understand that when I started reading comments suggesting this, I was skeptical. That lasted until mom had her first UTI after moving to MC!!! She was impossible to deal with every afternoon to evening!! She HAD to get out! She HAD guests coming! She HAD to go home! She would set off every door alarm in the process! Because this happened on a Friday evening, we had no access to the doctor or medication until Monday. She had the test and we got Rx for antibiotics AND anti-anxiety. The second medication was the lowest dose, only given AS NEEDED and was just enough to take the edge off, not enough to "dope" her up. THAT was the goal and it worked! We were able to stop that med when the UTI cleared.

Since then the UTIs have manifested as night time bed wetting. So, beware, one and all, sudden changes in behavior CAN indicate a UTI. They don't get the normal symptoms like pain, or at least they aren't registered in their mind like it would for us. ANY sudden changes, esp in those with dementia, should be checked medically.

Have a checkup.
Test for UTI.
Consider anti-anxiety.
Research activities that might help with the need to be "busy."

In a reply to someone else, I described my mother's "OCD" behavior that went on at night, before bed, when she was still in her condo and only in the early stage of dementia. She worked her way up to nightly marathons which lasted over an hour, usually 1.5 hours! This ISN'T normal (but common with dementia nonetheless) and shouldn't be summarily dismissed. It can be exhausting for them, and they won't even know it. It can be exhausting for you as well.

Not that it is the same, but my oldest cat (currently 21.5, equivalent to 100 in people years!) developed a form of kitty dementia late last year. She sleeps a lot, but several times each day she would get into a state like this. Yowling. Agitated. Staring at a wall, a door, at nothing. Cycling from the floor to the bench to the table, to my computer table to my lap and round she goes, stumbling, falling, knocking things over! This would generally only last 10-15 minutes, but boy did it drive me up a wall!!!! For those who say ah, it's exercise or it's just pacing, leave it alone, believe me it DOES get annoying. Thankfully after a few months she passed through this "stage." The Alz link also mentions that sometimes this is also a phase which can pass. Meanwhile, you and your parent suffer....

When someone who doesn't have dementia chooses to do this pacing, primarily to stay active, get off their butts, get some limited exercise, that is fine. When someone is DRIVEN to this because of cognitive issues and it goes on and on, there should be some medical check and potential intervention.

For those who don't get it, this is like having that proverbial drip drip drip from the faucet or some other constant noise/activity that just repeats. It CAN get under your skin or in this case can also get in the way while trying to tackle every day tasks (or worse, get out and lost!)
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I agree with checking into if a med is appropriate. It might be nice for her to be able to relax instead of pacing all day. Tiring! And probably a little annoying to be around too, I would think.

But if she's safe and not causing any harm, I guess it's really no worse than just sitting all day or whatever else she could be doing instead of pacing.
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O, how precious freedom is! irealize that more and more as I read this website. I am 86, healthy, strong, med free, and pain free. I live alone and love it. i do a lot of pacing every day and have for years.I pace when on the phone. i pace while quietly praying. I sometimes pace while thinking and planning. I pace while listening to the daily news.Thankfully there is usually nobody here to notice and or be worried about my frequent pacing. i have been unable to do any running nor intense exercise for more than 10 years. However, i never sit for long periods and i do pace around and or up and down a lot. It is very dangerously unhealthy for anyone, but especially for old people to sit a lot and or to stand still in one spot a lot. it is very healthy and wise to be on our feet moving as much as possible.Why is this person even noticing the pacing of others?Why is she not to busy with her own affairs to pay attention to such harmless activities?Love to all
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disgustedtoo Aug 30, 2020
I think there is a distinct difference between your pacing to help maintain some activity and not sit on your duff all day, which is commendable, and this parent. No details are provided, but it is likely she has some form of dementia, which is driving her to pace all day. If the parent lives with OP, then it would be VERY hard NOT to notice the pacing all day every day! Even if OP is busy with her own daily tasks, the pacing may get in her way if she is cleaning, etc.
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My mom has Alzheimer's and started pacing after her Gall Bladder surgery. She paced almost 24 hours a day and only took short naps. She was on Aricept at the time and her physician added Namenda. After a week or so the pacing stopped. Make sure your mom is seeing a Board Certified Geriatric physician. Your mom needs specializedcare. Good luck.
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Momsonlychild Aug 30, 2020
Can you tell me about Namenda? Is it taken at night? Thanks!
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Call her doc for prescription for anti anxiety meds. Have you tried taking her for a walk?
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shad250 Aug 27, 2020
"Arther Spooner" her?
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Pacing & constantly walking back & forth is usually accompanied by going outside, & getting lost. You will have to keep constant eye on her. A woman that was in the SNF when my mother was there walked constantly all day long. They had an ankle bracelet on her. Make sure you lock doors in such a way that she can’t figure out how to open... Just in case she does walk out & gets lost, keep ID on her at all times. Hugs 🤗
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How could any truly at all rational person think of pacing as abnormal like spitting,etc.? ?How could anyone think "It might be better than sitting"? P acing is a harmless safe stress reliever and a very safe way to exercise for those fortunate enough to be able to standup and walk.Why should anyone be annoyed at all by pacing?I do pace a lot. When my friends or relatives visit theyjoin me in it. My grandson laughed a lot at your article.He says you all should thank God if your loved ones can walk, pace, and be active.Also, walkers, etc. should beused only if direly needed because of bal ance problems or crippling, etc.In such cases, pacing would not be comfortable or enjoyable. Be glad if old peopl can pace and be glad if they want to do so.
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disgustedtoo Aug 30, 2020
Yes, it is better to stay active than not, but constant all day every day pacing is not very productive and the situation isn't a laughing matter for OP. I do not think OP's parent is just old and trying to get some exercise. Dementia can drive people to do repetitive activities all day long!

While our mother never has done this pacing since moving to MC, I do wish she HAD participated in the light exercise and walking that some residents did, generally walking after meals (as they regressed, this also diminished, as it was a conscious activity for them and they lost the ability and/or desire after a long time.) For mom, she preferred to sit and read the paper, magazines, etc. Sitting too long, she eventually has either lost the ability to stand/walk or just won't, perhaps out of muscle loss and fear of falling.

That said, when she was still in her condo, but in the early stages of dementia, we tried bringing in aides 1 hr/day to check her and if she took her meds. The plan was to increase help as needed, to allow her to stay in her place, as she wished, longer. It didn't last. But, my YB installed cameras at the door and downstairs, so we could monitor who was coming/going and to check her periodically (one could record anyone in/out the front door AND see the table where she sat most of the time.) At some point, she started a nightly "routine", which at first was only a few rounds and only a few nights. She would check the front door lock, look out the sidelights, check something in the kitchen (later found it was the dishwasher) and then out to the LR to check who knows what. This gradually became a nightly MARATHON, looping through these "checks" over and over, for up to an hour and a half! This is NOT normal and NOT just to get exercise. It would start 9-9:30pm, before she would prepare for bed.

I often refer to this as OCD behavior, but it is likely similar to sun-downing that some people with dementia get. Although sun-downing often happens late afternoon into the evening, it CAN happen any time of day. They can become agitated, impossible to work with, adamant there are others there, bad things happening or just perform this kind of repetitive behavior. It is NOT even close to normal and can't really be compared to your attempts to get some activity and reduce your time sitting. In your case it is likely a choice. For people with dementia, it ISN'T a choice, it is a drive from within that they cannot control.
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Maybe it's soothing to the person pacing.

It is good exercise and not hurting anyone.

Im sure if the person was occupied with something to entertain them, they wouldn't be pacing.

Let the persin pace and change your thinking about it.

After all, there are lots worse things the person could be doing.
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GiGi2U2 Aug 30, 2020
Easy to say when you're not watching. My son has mental issues and use to pace constantly. It can be uncomfortable for others in the home and outside of the home. Medication helped my son and hopefully medication will help Zwoman's Mom. God bless.
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Take her for long walks around the block. Let her enjoy some fresh air, the songs of birds and flowers.
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