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losing ability to walk


Registered User
Apr 22, 2014
Thank goodness for Talking Point! I wonder has anyone had this experience: mum is 89, AD and in a care home. She was admitted to hosp with a suspected ulcer after a chest infection she got in the Home did not clear. Very poorly, she had no strength to get out of bed in the hosp, after a week she was discharged back to the Home and staff now need one person supporting her on either side in order to walk at all. Before the chest infection, she was walking fine. Her arms are also very weak, she cannot support herself using a walker. Should I push to get her assessed by a physiotherapist?


Registered User
Feb 27, 2014
I am afraid I have. My MIL fell and suffered a hip fracture. Following surgery on GA, her dementia got much worse and although the hip healed beautifully, she was not able to cooperate with the physios and never learned how to walk again.
I am sorry to sound so gloomy. It seems as if it is not just cognitive memory but also muscle memory which can be affected by dementia.
IMO you should try and get her physiotherapy asap and little but often is the key here. In other word, physiotherapy once or twice a week probably won't accomplish very much but 5 or 6 times a week might.


Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
West Hertfordshire
She might need a bit more time to regain her strength. It sounds as though the home are doing the right thing and encouraging her, abeit supported either side.


Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
My mum has lost her ability to walk at all due to muscle wastage (I think), didn't really connect it to the dementia before as she has had a broken hip and broke the same leg twice all on the left. She was struggling badly with a zimmer until she broke her arm on Mothers Day and has been in hospital since. She needs supported by two members of staff to transfer. Don't know whether the brain simply stops sending messages to the muscles? x


Registered User
Jul 30, 2014
I think muscle wastage happens surprisingly quickly in the elderly. My father was walking down the hospital corridors on his zimmer frame until he suffered a bout of gastro-enteritis after Christmas and was then unable to stand on his own or move himself around in bed - hoist needed to get him out and into a chair. Now he's got pneumonia but I don't suppose there's much more mobility he can lose during this bout!


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
Radcliffe on Trent
My mum had quite poor mobility because of arthritis but could at least shuffle around the house and get in/out of a car with help. She was already using a wheelchair for anything more than the shortest distance outside.

She had a fall and never managed to get mobile again, though both physios and carers tried very hard. In her case she just kept saying she was too frightened of falling to try, and the physios said there was no physical reason that she couldn't walk with a frame or wheeled walker as she had done previously. Of course eventually there was, as her muscles got weaker through lack of use and also she was not eating very well.

We were already thinking about care homes, but it was the complete loss of mobility that meant she could not remain at home alone any longer which brought that decision forward.

Everyone is different though, and I hope things may go better for your mum. I agree that regular exercise/practice is needed if things are to improve.

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