I'm worried about a man (62) at work who has always been healthy, but lately his speech is going. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

I'm worried about a man (62) at work who has always been healthy, but lately his speech is going. Any advice?

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He walks with a shuffle can't move his lips. He had always been healthy for the 20 years he has worked for me. Now over the past two years, he mumbles his words. His mouth hardly moves when he speaks and he seems a little bent over. He has always eaten very healthy food, exercised, practiced yoga, and never smoked or drank alcohol. His job includes public speaking and client consultations. I'm afraid he may be forced to retire. He is seeing a neurologist next month (the soonest he can get an appointment) He is in the states on a green card and has to go back home for medical care due to cost etc. He is from the UK. The other thing, he has trouble walking into his office which goes from tile in the hallway to carpet in his office with a crack between the carpet & tile. I had heard that this indicates Alzheimer's. Is this true or is it an old wives tale? His local doctor sent him to a neurologist and he is having speech therapy weekly here.

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This is so sad and puts you in a tough position as his employer. You sound very supportive.

I'm glad that he is seeing a neurologist. I was thinking it may be Parkinson's until you mention the problem with transition from tile to carpet. That sounds like Alzheimer';s ( a real part of the disease). People can have mixed dementias, as well.

Best case scenario would be if they found that some medication that he takes is giving him these symptoms, but your description sounds pretty convincing. He needs a neurologist to determine what is wrong.

Support him the best that you can. If there are other duties that you could give him temporarily (not demanding public speaking) that would be ideal.

Please update us when you can.
Carol
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The mumbling and shuffling could also indicate Parkinson's or ALS. Glad to hear that he has a neurologist appointment. The difference in the floor causing problems in walking through is not an old wive's tale. It is an indicator that there is processing difficulty in the brain. It can range from eyesight to brain injury to stroke, etc. Not restricted to Alz, but an indicator that something is going on.
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Was the onset of this sudden? I think I'd err in favor of going to an ER with these symptoms, which would get him in to see a neuro fast.
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I'd definitely accompany him to the ER ASAP. If that doesn't work, contact the neurologist he made the appointment with and beg to be squeezed in. In the meantime, document everything. CYA. If it's not in black and white, it never happened.
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There are other possibilities which include Parkinson's disease, a stroke and/or dementia. Two years for this condition to exist is outrageous, but then again he is a man...maybe he can get in on a cancellation or through the ER in the UK.
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As an employer the concern for his safety with a difficulty in walking should give you some leverage to voice your concern with him and ask that he be checked out by a ER physician just to be sure that something is not going on before he has an accident. You will be protecting yourself as well as him from a fall that could cause bigger issues.
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There are a few things that should be looked into right away. It may be normal pressure hydrocephalus. It is a condition that causes a shuffling gait that can look like the foot sticks to the floor every few steps. It also causes mental slowing and dementia-like symptoms. It can be fairly easily treated. I don't think that waiting for the neurologist is wise. He should be seen by someone right away.
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About the shuffle, a shuffling walk where they keep their feet on the floor is one of the hallmarks of lewy body dementia. Lewy is similar to,Parkinson's but both can be independent of each other. My late mom had lewy.

One issue with lewy is that they often have spatial disorientation and see areas with shadows. My mom would see flooring as having cobblestone pattern rather than the wooden flooring it was. Bamboo flooring or carpeting with textures were especially challenging. Do you know what " cookies" are in lighting for like film or Photography? They are big boards with patterns cut out to soften or intensify your light source. For those with lewy, it's like they are seeing area lit through a cookie. If you google cookies & lighting for film & photos, it will explain this better than I ever could.

Could he have a TIA or a series of TIA's? Transient ischemic attacks? Mom had those too. Fir her they built over time and would affect speech patterns for days afterwards.

If he has lewy, getting care in the UK will actually be better as UK has lots more research out on lewy. US tends to be all about Alz & the other dementias like lewy & frontal temporal get lost in the process.
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He should get to the ER NOW and not wait for the doctor appointment. Slurring of speech is indicative of a T.I.A. (transient ischemic attack) or a stroke. I wonder about his blood pressure, e.g. is he red faced? We had a man at work whose blood pressure was so out of control that his face was beet red and scary.
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But 62 years of age is pretty young, although not totally out of consideration, if indeed it were a TIA or stroke. Is he a fit man or obese?
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