Is it common for people with dementia to start leaning and falling to one side or another when they are sitting down? - AgingCare.com

Is it common for people with dementia to start leaning and falling to one side or another when they are sitting down?

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My mother had a medical procedure in February 2015 and since then has been living with us. It appears the procedure caused dementia to set in. She is 90 years old. She became so weak that she couldn't function at her home. In the past year she has become so weak that she can't hold her body weight up. We have to hold her in front of the toilet to pull her panties down and then the same when she is finished. She is in a wheelchair constantly since she can't support her weight. She is having currently having physical therapy and I have ordered a home therapy machine which I hope comes in soon. The last few days when she is sitting in her recliner her body starts drifting to one side until she is literally laying on the side of the chair or when eating dinner she has her face in her plate. I am currently feeding her in the evenings when this happens. Is this due to the dementia?

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I would continue to research it. My reading indicates that leaning is commonly found in people with dementia. Of course, it could be caused by other things.

Do the doctors she is seeing have experience with dementia patients? I am often surprised by the lack of knowledge I see with doctors who are not familiar with dementia. I have seen this lack of knowledge with Orthopadic doctors, ER doctors and surgeons. It seems that primary care doctors and dentists are more familiar with it. It can be frustrating.

You can locate some geri chairs on line. They are similar to a recliner, but are normally on wheels so you can move it from room to room. It leans back, so the person can relax in the chair. It normally has a tray in front of the person and this helps support their body so they don't slump forwards. I think it's covered by insurance, but you would need a prescription from the doctor for it.

Please post what you find out. I am very interested.
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Jeannegibbs - thank you - I have never heard of lewy body disorder and am now doing research on it. She had an MRI a year ago and is scheduled for another one. Do you know if changes would show on this regarding dementia and lewy body?
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In LBD this is called the "Lewy Lean."
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My aunt had the same problem of falling to one side and shuffling her feet. Her neurologist diagnosed hydrocephalus which causes fluid to accumulate around the brain. He inserted a shunt in her head to drain off the fluid and it corrected the symptoms she was having. She also had dementia and is now in a nursing home.
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Thank you for the suggestions pamstegma and sunnygirl1. I have never heard of a geri chair or a tilting wheelchair so I will look into that. She doesn't have vertigo but had TIA's in the past. As much fluid as I give her she isn't dehydrated. She had a MRI 1 month after the procedure and it showed dementia changes but no stroke. She had the beginnings of memory loss before the procedure. No doctor we have seen can explain what happened to cause this. We took her to the neurologist today and he did a carotid doppler and has her scheduled for another MRI so hopefully something will show, but truthfully, I don't expect it to show anything new.
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I'm not sure how you can determine what has caused this condition with your mom. I'd discuss it with her doctor. Did she have dementia before her medical procedure? I know that I see many dementia patients in the Memory Care facility where my cousin resides who are not able to support their body weight. Some are able to recline in a geri chair. It's like a recliner on wheels with a tray that helps support their body. It's tilted back so they won't fall forward. Still, later, they are bedbound only. What do the physical therapists say about it?
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A number of things can cause this besides anesthesia.
Stroke affecting one side of the body
TIA's or mini-strokes that do increasing damage over time.
Otoliths, crystals in the ear affecting balance.
Medications or medication interactions that cause vertigo
Dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.
Consider getting a tilting wheelchair with a headrest. The PT she is getting now will not restore balance, but it will prevent painful muscle contractions on the weakened side of the body.
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