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  1. #1
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    Why do people with AD just pace up and down?

    Hi..


    Why do people with AD pace up and down and back again?

    My mom has just gone into a care home and my goodness...what an eye opener...I thought I knew what there was to know ..roughly..about this awful disease...WRONG...I dont..and dont think I ever will...

    The people in this home just constantly walk up and down and keep asking anyone whose passing where they should go...what they should do...they look so so sad and lost...

    My mom doesnt do that...yet anyhow...mom tends to just sit and stare into space...shes in a little world of her own...we have walked in and found her just standing in the lounge at the home..but not actually pacing...

    What causes this pacing with them...are they looking for their loved ones...their homes..what...I find it so so sad....
     

  2. #2
    Hi poppy

    I find it sad too. There are one or two in John's unit who pace, though most are beyond this.

    I don't think they are looking for anything (though who's to know?). There just seems to be a compulsion to keep moving, to the point of exhaustion. There is nothing anyone can do to stop them, the carer's encourage them to sit down, and two minutes later they're off again.

    Not everyone with dementia does this, and your mum may never do it, John never did.

    I agree though, it's awful to watch, particularly when someone just collapses on the floor from sheer exhaustion.


    Hazel
    Carer


    Don't grieve for what you have lost, rejoice for what you have had.
     

  3. #3
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    Hi Poppy,

    My Mum paces. She lives with me and I find that the pacing starts when she is feeling frightened. I know she doesn't know where she is and I feel that she is looking for something or someone she knows. Mum was always a busy person and for her it hasn't changed she is continually on the go pacing from one room to another. It's just part of her nature. Well that's how it feels for us though as we all know each sufferer is different.
     

  4. #4
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    Wink My hubby paces

    Yes, my hubby who is 65 paces all the time at the Home. The staff say they have never seen someone walk so much! He will literally get to the end of the corridor, meticulously and slowly open and close the corridor door (or play with the firebreak panel hammer!)then walk back to the other end, and so on and so forth.

    He used to walk up the hills every day before he got sick, so perhaps its his way of saying he wants to get out of there! Talk to me any time you want.
    Iron Sharpens Iron
     

  5. #5
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    Hi Poppy

    At my Nan's care home there are a lot of pacers, but the home has lots of nice long corridors.

    When I visited today, there was a new lady there and she was walking around, but she was quite vocal. She didn't know where she was. She said she had a home so didn't understand why she was there. She couldn't find the way out and no one was telling her the truth. She was looking for answers. Very sad to see someone in such turmoil

    Most of the residents that walk around seem content, they are trying to achieve something and at least they are getting some kind of exercise.

    One lady just likes to see what is happening and can't sit still for too long, another lady sometimes looks for someone to tell her the way to church, one lovely gentleman is making sure that there are no 'bits' left on the carpets. Sometimes the residents are just looking to see where the lounge is because they're just not sure!

    I guess they all pace for different reasons and it is difficult to see if someone is distressed. One lady at the home is a bit younger than everyone else and her mobility is excellent. She is angry about being left with what she thinks are lots of old people and wants to leave. She spends a lot of time looking for the door.

    On Christmas Day, I was sat in the lounge with everyone and she announced that apart from me and her, everyone else in the home was very old and she didn't belong. I wasn't sure to take it as compliment beacuse she knew I was a young one, or if she thought it could be possible that I was a resident too ! Either way, it made me smile. (Sorry - gone off topic!)

    My Nan doesn't pace, she wouldn't know where there was to go and she might lose her chair !!!

    x
     

  6. #6
    Hi Poppy,

    You might want to look at this factsheet by the Alzheimer's Society on Unusual behaviour, it has a section on restlessness and pacing:

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/factsheet/525

    Take care,
    Sandy
    Talking Point Member
     

  7. #7
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    Hi Poppy,have you ever seen any of the staff try to find out why all these people are pacing,or take them out for a walk.I realise that a few people with dementia will pace no matter how much distraction etc is offered but not as many as you are describing.Probably again I have read too many books.Take care.
     

  8. #8
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    Just realised its Sunday,maybe someone should have taken the lady to church.
     

  9. #9
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    Danny

    She goes every Sunday, her Grandson takes her.

    She is always reassured that he'll be picking her up at 6pm on Sunday. She looks forward to seeing her Grandson and going to Church. Maybe that's why she's always so keen to go!

    Polly
     

  10. #10
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    Sorry Polly,getting Polly and Poppy mixed up!Thanks for your reply.
     

  11. #11
    My husband has been given the name 'Billy Whizz' by the staff. For many years now he has paced up and down until he is exhausted. He did it when he lived at home, he does it now he is in care, he does it when he comes home for the afternoon. He does it until he is walking sideways like a crab because his back has given up. It is truely heartbreaking.

    xxTinaT
     

  12. #12
    Tina, thanks for posting that. That's the kind of pacing I was talking about, and what I assumed the original poster meant.

    It is not searching, or trying to find a way out, it is pacing because staying still is not an option. One lady paces until her legs collapse and she sits down on the floor with a bump. The staff are worried about her breaking hips, but there is literally nothing they can do to stop her. There's connection in her brain that makes her need to keep moving.

    I though this might be part of later stage dementia, but if Ken has been doing it for several years, this is clearly not the case.

    This form of pacing is not addressed in the factsheet Sandy indicated, and perhaps it should be.


    Hazel
    Carer


    Don't grieve for what you have lost, rejoice for what you have had.
     

  13. #13
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    Hope this helps

    i always like to think its a way of not giving up. i know when i dont feel too well and my heart is playing up Elaine shouts at me to sit down but if i am out i want to keep going and going , its my way of telling myself if i am still on the move then i know i`m ok. It would be nice to think that its the same no matter what disease, hope this helps, best wishes, Norrms and family xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    What do you mean i have Alzheimer`s? IVE BEEN DIETING FOR GODS SAKE !!
     

  14. #14
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    I don't think there is just one answer to this. There are different reasons for different people and for the same person at different times.

    My Mum used to pace around her own home and did so in the two years she lived with me. Now she is in the Care Home she does so less. She always had the feeling she "ought" to be doing something but could not remember what it was. The pacing was in part frustration and in part a feeling that keeping moving was doing "something". When I found "jobs" for her she was happy for a few minutes but unless I could work with her all the time she would lose concentration and wander off again, forgetting what she was doing.

    Sometimes the pacing was brought on by a feeling she ought to be somewhere else. This could lead to her wandering off outside if not watched. She did not know where she wanted to be or how to get there but, when questioned as to how she thought she would achieve her goal, she would say "If I keep going someone will tell me where I have to be". Of course, if someone did, she had forgotten this in a few seconds!

    Mum tends to sit more restfully these days but she does still pace. The staff in the home do their best to distract her by getting her involved in tasks like making her bed or setting the table but they cannot do it all the time. There are activities on offer and indeed they are encouraged to take part, but sometimes she and others reject these in favour of pacing.

    My personal feeling is that they are all seeking that time and place in their past where they felt safe and happy.Everytning "feels" wrong. They cannot understand that it is their mind which is causing this so they need to get back to the time and place where things felt "right". Sadly this is impossible and adds to their frustration.

    Keeping the mind occupied in a positive way seems to cut down the need to pace but I don't think it is possible to stop people completely. If it is a coping mechanism it might even be wrong to try to prevent it.
    Jan
     

  15. #15
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    Poppy,
    Having spent almost a year visiting my wife in a NH for up to 9 hours a day, I witnessed a lot of what some would consider strange behavior. One lady kept entering my wife's room trying to find her son and repeating a telephone number. I'll never forget Iris she was a lovely lady; her son never did come. A daughter visited once a month with her dog. Iris survived only six months.
    There was Bert who kept trying to find out if it was meal time and how to pay for his meals. I told him: "it's OK this is a holiday hotel and everything is free and the staff are here to look after you". So often I got mistaken for a staff member.
    I met Iris's daughter about a year or so later in a DIY store as I wheeled my wife around. I expressed my sorrow at the loss of her Mum and thought it a shame she failed to meet her son. Her answer:
    "He could not bare to see her see her in 'that' condition".
     

 

 

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