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75+ year old Mom with Dementia (diagnosed approx 5-6 years ago) experiencing weakness in the lower half of her body. Becoming increasingly difficult for her to walk for more than 10 feet without "resting" on a bench for a few minutes. Has or is anyone else experienced this with a loved one? I know Dementia is one of those "we don't know alot yet" diseases but I am also finding it difficult to gather much on "symptoms" other than behavioral and memory. If anyone has any suggestions of some good books or websites please let me know! Thank you!

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I'm not sure what is meant, by not finding info on lower body weakness, (granted this thread started over 4 years ago.), because I thought that the inability to walk is one of the trademarks of dementia as it goes to the final stage. If you go to the Alzheimers association website and look at the stages, it says that the disease causes loss of control of muscles, so that the person loses the ability to swallow and walk. We are not supposed to post links here, but, I will try to PM you a link Buckiiz05.

Also, in the MC unit, where my LO resides, there are very few residents, with advanced dementia, who are not in wheelchairs. As the muscle controls continues to decline, they then go to a gerichair or tilt chair, since they can no longer sit up, then they are bedbound. This recently has happened to my LO. The OT is coming this week to assess her for the right kind of chair. It's heartbreaking really. Seeing her this way, is really the toughest thing so far.
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I am just going through exactly the same with mum who was diagnosed 3 years ago with vd .her deterioration is so rapid every day she seems weaker and less able to do simple things e.g. feed /drink herself. Had anyone had support from admiral nurses... I was thinking of enquiring about what they offer support wise
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My mom has lost her ability to walk/stand. I have been extremely surprised by this because she was always very physically strong. I have often wondered about why she lost her ability to walk so soon after her diagnosis when so many people are "wandering" at a much later stage. She still has a strong grip but can hardly sit upright by herself. She leans to one side and sometimes to the other, sometimes going almost horizontally without some support. My mom had some small TIAs, don't know if that is related. A connection was drawn between incontinence and loss of ability to walk/stand and I had never thought about that before but it rings true. Unfortunately, mostly we are learning as we go and I don't have any suggestions to prevent this problem. It seems that the point about keeping our loved one moving as much as possible, for as long as possible seems smart. After my mom started needing help with walking she couldn't/wouldn't use a walker. The PT said that learning anything new with dementia was almost impossible. I just wanted to let you know that your loved one isn't the only one with this experience. I'm so glad that you are doing so much to try to help and I'm sure that your loved one appreciates all that you do! I have learned so much on this website and the support system is priceless to me.
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PS. to my above post: mom had been on Megace (1 tsp. every other day) for a few months to encourage her appetite. It did, and seemed to agree with her, but one possible side effect is stroke/mini-strokes. It may have lead to her inability to walk/stand, but we'll never know for sure. No sense in pursuing hospitalization with tests, poking & prodding when she isn't going to "get better". I know it may sound harsh, but she would NOT want any of that happening to her, and signed papers stating that many years ago.
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Debi, we can't post most links here, but I can tell you what I did. I googled two things -- "leg weakness Alzheimers," then "muscle weakness Alzheimers." There were quite a few things that turned up in the searches. I learned a good bit. I hadn't heard of contracture before. It was very good information to learn.
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JessieBelle - where did you read this information? I have been doing research also, it would be most helpful to read the article, etc. that you found this! Thankyou!
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My 92 year old mom with AD fell several times at home before she entered the nh. After several months, she gradually started "listing to starboard" when she was walking. Soon after, she needed one assist, then two, the one day I came to visit and she was in a wheelchair. It wasn't much longer that she couldn't walk or stand at all, and the staff needed to use a lift to move her. So therefore, she became incontinent...another sad thing in the long list of sad things in AD. We all suspected a TIA (s), but did no CT scans, etc. It was a fairly short period for all this decline; just a couple months. She is happily still with us, and generally knows us; laughs and smiles, and chatters...so far, so good! I've read & researched plenty, love AgingCare.com and other related web sites; and while there often are similarities, there's lots of unpredicability from person to person.
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That happens as the disease progresses and the brain just doesnt tell the legs what to do. Glad you got her checked out by a doctor. Strong medications can do it if you have put her on those, otherwise itsprob just her disease. I used to walk backwards pulling Moms hands to get her to walk. I did that for many many months, then my husband rolled the wheelchair behind her as I pulled her. Its important for them to move to avoid all kinds of things like sores, pneumonia, etc and just to keep the brain active. I would do your best as long as you can, we even did wheelchair to wheelchair to get her into small rooms. I now lift my Mom with a hoyer which works great, but I stand her holding onto a bar across from the toilet to quickly dry and dress her bottom half after bathing her on the toilet. Even standing a few seconds is so good to keep up, you'll need it down the road. Before my Mom used to stop walking and then started again a few times, we never know. Good luck.
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I read a bit and found that pain and muscle weakness are common with late stage Alzheimer's. Many become wheelchair-bound, so can also suffer problems that come with that -- greater weakening and contracture from holding knees and arms bent. It sounds like leg extensions are a better thing even if it makes transport more difficult.
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We have experienced a similar thing with my Mother-in-law who has Alzheimers. She would complain about pain so we tried everything to find out what was causing the pain. With all the tests and exams she had done, there was nothing conclusive that would warrent the pain she said she was feeling. The Doctor put her on pain meds which seemed to help, at least it helped my Father-in-law to feel like something was being done. She still complains about pain once in a while even though she is on pain medication. We remain confused.
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Thank you to all for your answers and guidance. Mother's weakness seems to have come on in last few months. A thorough check up did not reveal anything to major. She is not dehydrated or wasn't at the time of the check up. It just seems that i can't get anyone to give me anything more than vague answers in the health profession. ALZ.org was not any better. We even attended a lecture/class on Alz and it was not much better. At least here I can get an idea of what others have or are experienced! Any and all will be welcome! Thank you again!
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Unfortunately, when we get older there are often multiple problems going on at the same time. I doubt that 'dementia' per se is the cause of his weakness, but other things that are common in old age might be. Things like Parkinsons, small silent strokes, PVD (peripheral vascular disease - meaning the circulation to the legs is bad so the muscles are not getting enough blood to nourish them well), cardiovascular problems which makes the heart not pump out blood well enough to keep the body functioning well, lung problems which are not letting in enough oxygen to give the body strength, reactions to medicines (has he had any recent new medicines that could be making him weaker - not just brand new, but even started within the last 3 months or so - sometimes it takes a certain amount of time to build up the chemicals in the body to react), recently not sleeping through the night which will wear the body out. As you can see, there are a large number of things that could be the culprit. He should have a thorough doctor exam to check all these things out to see if they can find the cause. Some things are 'fixable' and some are not. Sometimes it's as simple as the dementia causing them to just sit around all day, doing nothing, which saps their strength, causing them to be extremely out of shape. Like psteigman said above - the less you move, the less you are able to move - that is true at any age.
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You are incorrect. Doctors and researchers know a great deal about the different dementias. As the brain starts to lose the ability to make connections with the rest of the body, muscle function is one of the first to go. My 87 yr. old husband has started stumbling and will grab onto stationery objects to help him balance. This is the nature of the disease. Check out symptoms in alz.org which is the Alzheimer's Assoc. website, WebMD is another good source and read all you can about the functions of the brain. Make sure your mother's home is free from rugs which can contribute to falling, and just make sure she is helped when she walks if she is really having difficulty. Maybe a walker is in order. Check with her doctor and see if she/he will order one. Good luck!
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My father had mixed dementia and became very weak in his legs. He had a couple of problems that contributed to it. He had balance problems, so avoided walking. He also had peripheral vascular problems, so his legs were not perfused well with blood. This gave him much muscle pain. He was almost impossible to get to a doctor, so he went through more suffering than he needed. Dementia itself can cause mobility problems, but other factors -- related and unrelated -- can contribute to it. Talk to your mother's doctor about the problem to see if there is something that can help.
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Resting because of dizziness? Resting because out of breath? Are there cardiac issues? The doctor should be able to sort this out. The problem is, the less you move, the less you are able to move. It took me months to regain mobility after knee surgery even without dementia.
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My current client with Dementia is experiencing this right now. In fact, he was with his wife in the kitchen day before yesterday and just fell - seemed to collapse. I noticed, during my shift yesterday, that his weakness is increasing alarmingly. Two things, other than "just" Vascular Dementia, which I feel contribute, are his lack of hydration, and his refusal to do the PT exercises he's been given. The wife insists on being his care giver, and yet will not perform the duties of a good care giver. I have to just shake my head and walk away. BUT - yes; in my experience Dementia and weakness seem to go together.
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What does your doctor say about this? There can of course be another cause other than the dementia however, what is true of dementia as it progresses, is that there is enough brain damage to inhibit many natural functions, including things like swallowing, even walking. Outright muscle weakness may be coming from some other cause, and that cause may be able to be treated easily or not. If the doctor's best guess is that something complicated is going on, before I would ever entertain the idea of a major investment in the diagnostic process, I always tried to consider what the treatment would be IF some diagnosis was confirmed. If I wouldn't consider the treatment, I didn't bother with the diagnosis either. In this day off aggressive modern medicine, many people can be "saved" pass the time when they might have died of "natural causes". With and already declining dementia patient, one has to consider the quality of life in the process of attempting to prolong it.
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My dad was diagnosed around 3 years ago. He is also 75. During the "sundowner" stage he walked constantly. Like a caged animal. He would be exhausted at the end of the day. IT was almost as if it were completely involuntary. When he would stand still he would "march" in place. A sign of parkinson's we were told.
But a few weeks before Christmas dad stopped walking. Couldn't get the strength to even stand up. Now he is in a wheelchair all the time. Doesn't walk unless someone is holding him up from behind. In a way it is better because he was always falling, knocking things off...getting into things...just like a toddler. Mom can at least sit down beside him and they can rest together.
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