Is losing the ability to walk part of the Alzheimer's progression?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My 85 year old father has been diagnosed with moderate Alzheimers, probably stage 5. This week he started having difficulty walking. He will sway and stumble. I took him to the doctor and he did not have a stroke. Is losing the ability to walk associated with the Alzheimer's decline process? Is his brain just losing the knowledge to know how to walk? Can he regain the ablity to walk normal?

Expert Answer

Ladislav Volicer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as an international expert on advanced dementia care. He is a courtesy full professor at the School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, and visiting professor at the Third Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Twenty-five years ago, he established one of the first dementia special care units.

Unfortunately, losing the ability to walk independently is a very common consequence of progression of Alzheimer's disease. You might want to try some assistive devices but many patients are unable to use them. One device that may extend his ability to walk is Merry Walker - a walker with built in seat and a strap between legs that prevents falling. It is available from Merry Walker company at http://www.merrywalker.com/