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My mother asked the doctor if his legs could be examined and if he could receive any physical therapy. The doctor looked at her like she was crazy.

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Wonderful comments from the community as always.

I'd agree that this is likely part of the dementia process, but I also agree with mar126 that every effort should be made to see if pain is the reason for inactivity rather than brain failure.

Pain is a complicated issue for elders with dementia since they often can't say what hurts and sometimes aren't even aware that pain is the issue. All we can do is our best, which in this case would mean to see if there seems to be a physical issue other than AD that is causing this change. If not, then the doctor is likely right in that this is part of the progression of the disease. Please keep us posted on how he is doing.
Carol
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Thanks everyone for your responses. My uncle was x-rayed hips to ankles and there is no physical reason he stopped walking. A visiting nurse will be coming to his home for physical therapy at least to try to preserve the range of motion in his legs. Despite the doctors reaction, my mother is satisified that she asked the question and now she is gradually coming to terms with the situation.
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Glad is right all the PT or whatever will not get someone walking again if they have dementia, they just don't know how, they have forgotten how to use thos muscles. how many totally paraysed veterans have you seen get to walk again unaided when their spinal cord has been severed. it ain't gonna happen Scott. It is being realistic not negative. If you understand what is happening you can make the best possible plans for your loved ones future. for example do you need to renovate the bathroom, build a ramp or buy a handicapped vehicle.
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Nick, has your mother read any of the materials on this website or elsewhere about Alzheimers ? If she hasn't someone needs to explain ( or perhaps re-explain) the progressive nature of the disease. One of the hardest things to let go of ( and one of the most important things to let go of) is the "fix-it" mentality that many of us bring to this table. Your mom needs to better understand how this is going to play out so that realistic plans can be made.
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My husband in his mid-seventies has vascular dementia and is slowly losing his mobility. I hadn't realized so completely that this is part of the process, so to speak. We do attend a fitness center for the elderly and work with a personal trainer to keep us functioning as much as we can. Sometimes I feel guilty because my favorite "chant" is Move! Our doctor even said that if he wasn't doing the fitness he would be in a wheelchair. I surely am getting a lot out of this site!
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Extragarlic, don't accept it without more evaluation. My husband started resisting sitting down about two months ago. He was fine walking but did not want to sit at the table to eat or sit on the toilet. Six months ago, the gerontologist said he was nearing the time for palliative care so I accepted the change. With warmer weather, I dressed him in shorts and noticed his knee was extremely swollen after walking. I feel really stupid that I didn't notice earlier as he probably injured it during a stumble. We are going to get it checked out and hopefully get physical therapy. I'm trying to keep him out of a nursing home as long as I can. I've found that my husband's family doctor is much more likely to prescribe physical therapy than the neurologist or gerontologist.
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I would think some therapy would be good just to keep the muscles from atrophing. (Spelling)
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There appear to be two schools of thought on this issue - one is that it loss of mobility is inevitable to due progress of AZ and the other is to maintain as much of your physical body as possible for as long as possible. I think most people would agree that the more sedentary you become, the faster your downhill progress will be physically and mentally. After my father's stroke, he got PT and became physically stronger than he was before. After we finished the program, he did not maintain the exercise schedule and now his legs are bothering him again. This question reminded me that I need to do just as your mother did and ask the doctor for more PT. That therapist can get him to do things that I can't.
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Scott, it is not negativity, it is the result of Alzheimer's disease and the brain slowly dying. As this process continues there is no way to predict what activity or function will go next. Alzheimer's is a wretched disease for each person a bit different while there are many aspects in common. There is not a cure for Alzheimer's disease nor is there a way to prevent it.
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My mom is walking now her lack of wanting to walk was linked to her taking Cipro500mg which caused weakness in her leggs.
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