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

A fellow 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.

Expert Answer

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

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.