Can Alzheimer's cause a person to forget how to walk?

13 answers | Last updated: Feb 20, 2014
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Q
An anonymous caregiver asked...
Is it possible for an Alzheimer's patient to forget how to walk? At times my Mom seems to forget what to do with her feet and other times she just walks normally.
 

Answers
Caring.com User - Joyce Simard
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A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She...
76% helpful
answered...

Yes, it is very possible that your mother has forgotten how to walk. Make an appointment with her physician so that medications or other treatable conditions that could cause this are eliminated. You might request a physical therapist evaluation. They can evaluate the risk of falling and might suggest assistive devices such as a walker. You also may consider having an occupational therapist come to your home to evaluate the environment for safety.

 

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Ruth S-Professional answered...

As stated previously, going to a dr. should be the first step. This may not be the case with your mother, but if her dementia is caused by Parkinson's Disease (PD), those with PD sometimes "freeze" and can't take the next step forward. There are some simple remedies to "freezing" that can be explored by researching reliable Parkinson's Disease organization websites.

 

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joyg answered...

My husband had and has the same problem, walking. At first they thought that he had Parkinsons on top of Alzheimer's. Now he has been digonosed with Lewybody dementia. It surfaces as a fast physical decline. We did use physicl therapists, evaluations, and meds, but nothing worked. He now can't walk, feed himself (hands can't grip), and can't roll over. He can move his arms and legs and still knows us and even people on the phone. However he can rarely form words or speak. Through all of this he is happy and content! I thank God each day for the things he can still do.

 

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A fellow caregiver answered...

One day my mother forget how to use her right hand as a grasping tool. She had no neurological disorder and could easily use a fork and spoon to feed herself. At one point things got worse, she began having dilussions and then one morning her right hand was stiff and closed. Nothing wrong physically but she had forgetton how to grasp with her right hand. It was painful to watch and it was a harbinger of much worse to come. I wish you the best. I know the agony of watching this disease progress.

 

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iowa born answered...

My mother has it also and does forget to walk sometimes other times can stand and walk others she takes off and getting clear out in the hall from her room. She has been in a care center for 2 1/2 years and has gone though many stages including assession and had to go to adult behavioral center for awhile. Doesn't use right arm any more and can't feed herself. Takes in jibberish most of the time but still seem to know us girls most of the time. Doesn't know my brother unless she hers him cough then she says Walt coughs like that. Still talks about her Mom and Dad and says they were there to see her yesterday and have been dead for of 60 years. Think Dad should come and see her hasn't been there for 3 days and he has been gone for 8 years. Sleeps most of the time and you just never know what you'll find. Some days cries uncontrollably and hard to get her to stop they have to give her meds to make her sleep then she wakes up she is better. Strange disease. Iowa Born

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I really do not know an answer but my mothers friend who has been bed-ridden for the last 5 years, yesterday woke up and wanted to walk to the kitchen. They put her on her wheel chair to go to the kitchen, then suddenly she realized she could not walk, it was nerve wracking they called 911 because she started sweating. No one has mentioned Alzheimer's but I think it maybe? What do you think? can someone give me some advice?

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I really do not know an answer but my mothers friend who has been bed-ridden for the last 5 years, yesterday woke up and wanted to walk to the kitchen. They put her on her wheel chair to go to the kitchen, then suddenly she realized she could not walk, it was nerve wracking they called 911 because she started sweating. No one has mentioned Alzheimer's but I think it maybe? What do you think? can someone give me some advice?

 

100% helpful
Leon P answered...

It appears to me that the suggestion that the duagnosis is Lewy Body Dementia is correct. I would suggest you visit the Lewy Body Association web site www.lbda.org for detailed information. Strict ALZ usually doesn't result in loss of motor skills, but there also can be more than one type of dementia present. My wife was the first diagnosed as having ALZ with Parkinson effects. 3yr later after a visit to the Univ of Washington ALZ research group she was rediagnosed as having Lewy Body dementia due to the combination of memory loss and early loss of motor cntrol skills.

 

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PoorMe answered...

Have you ruled out a stroke? My husband had Alzheimer's for about 4 years before his stroke. Since his stroke his walking has been affected. He struggles to walk and has a walker when he needs it. I asked him if it hurt to walk or if he has trouble getting his feet to move. He said getting his feet to move. It is interesting that at time he can give a very rational response.

 

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bknoll answered...

This information was copied from the below website. It is also another condition worth mentioning.

The symptoms of NORMAL PRESSURE HYDROCEPHALUS may mimic those of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, and other types of Dementia, making NPH more difficult to diagnose. Although Alzheimer's patients may eventually develop gait disturbance and incontinence, with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, gait disturbance tends to present first, then incontinence, and last, dementia. With Alzheimer's Disease, confusion and dementia are the first symptoms to appear, with other symptoms developing later in the progression of the disease. Similar symptoms may appear in Small Vessel Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Dementia With Lewy Bodies, or a number of other neurological conditions. Dementia and weakness in the arms and legs may also be caused by medication, vitamin deficiency (such as B12), or chemical imbalance.

Primarily NPH is seen in adults over 55 (the median age is said to be mid-70's), and they may have a variety of symptoms caused by more than one medical condition or disease. Any of the symptoms below may be caused by other medical and neurological conditions and may not indicate NPH, OR, a patient may have more than one neurological disorder. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is estimated to represent 5%-10% of all cases of dementia.

http://www.patsabin.com/nph.html ...... also this link is informative http://www.lifebridgehealth.org/Main/AdultOnsetNormalPressureHydrocephalus.aspx?cpsys_redirect=404

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Yes it is possible it happened to my father. He's back on his feet now with therapy. They can forget to eat...forget bathing...etc. that's why being dilligent is so important! My father lost 150 in his last home. I found out and drove to pick him up. He hadn't showered or had allowed his clothes off...wearing them all the time. Yet telling me he was fine. Finally..I got a call..got legal paperwork...and picked him up. Hes been with me 4 months now...has gained 40 lbs...has a shower every other day....new waredrobe that fits...and eats great. I couldnt be happier! He didn't even talk when he arrived.....now he's back to the dad who used to chat for hours. Its truly amazing what a little care and love can do. I don't think he would have made it...if I hadn't got that call!

 

 
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