In Alzheimer’s, shuffling normally happens at the later stage of disease progression. The term shuffling is typically used to refer to when a person with Alzheimer’s disease no longer lifts their feet up when they walk and instead shuffles when they move. They may also stoop more than they did previously. Several dangers may be associated with shuffling; caregivers and family members should ensure a senior has the appropriate support in place to cope in the more severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Major Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Per the CDC, early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory loss
  • Losing items
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty performing basic tasks
  • Decreased judgment
  • Confusion

As the disease progresses, it affects various functions and behaviors. Memory recall typically diminishes. Along with shuffling, late-stage Alzheimer’s may cause:

  • Increased confusion and agitation
  • Mobility and coordination issues
  • Drastic personality changes
  • Sleep pattern problems
  • Loss of appetite

How to Help a Senior Who Is Shuffling

Shuffling occurs when a person no longer has full control over their motor skills. Loss of control is a direct result of the disease affecting the area of the brain that’s responsible for coordination. Unfortunately, shuffling creates a greater risk of tripping or falling. Tips to help a senior who is in the shuffling stage of disease progression include:

  • Removing trip hazards, such as rugs and low coffee tables
  • Making sure the senior always wear appropriate footwear with grip capabilities
  • Holding a senior around the waist as they walk for support
  • Gently guiding a senior to walk in a sideways rocking motion to encourage then to lift the feet slightly
  • Installing anti-wander alert technology and automatic door and window locks
  • Encouraging light exercise and stretches and massaging a senior’s feet