Loss of mobility

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Can anyone tell me how the loss of mobility occurred for their loved one? My mother is 69, has been diagnosed for 5 1/2 years and is now starting to look quite shaky on her legs.

She did have a fall a couple of weeks ago but my idiot aunt was the only witness & her observations & extrapolations can be dubious at best. It's hard to figure out whether it's the meds or the disease. The meds haven't changed for a few months now so I'm assuming the hesitancy and shakiness is part of the progression. My mother is also having lots of trouble getting out of a chair - looong process.

She has absolutely nothing wrong with her except the AD and a little elevated cholesterol.

What can I look ahead to? I realize it's different for every person but I'm trying to educate myself & gear up for what's next.

Thanks a lot,


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Joanne

with Jan, it seemed to be a combination of things, all dementia-related - loss of spatial awareness hence slow and deliberate movements with uncertainty, loss of confidence, loss of muscle strength due to diminishing diet, effect of medications from time to time even if not changed, effect of dementia on her eye coordination.

Culminated in hospital when she fell there and fractured her pelvis and thereafter it was all downhill. Just a case of even an assessment ward in a hospital not being able to give her the care I had when she was at home. Once out of my care on assessment she had no chance really, and after her fall, she deteriorated too much for me to take her back.

It would most likely have happened at some time anyway, but I'll curse the way it happened as long as I'm around.


Registered User
Sep 13, 2005
Pgh. Pa. USA

Joanne, I can only relate to you of my wife's experience. She is 66 years old and has been totally bedridden for over three years. Prior to that time, she could still walk with assistance, but started to fall down when walking. Her coordination and balance just practically disappeared and I finally had to get a hospital bed for her. These are just some of the more obvious signs when late AD sets in along with incontinence, trouble swallowing and requiring total care. Unfortunatly, there isn't much that can be done at this stage; but we can still show them our unconditional love. Best wishs - McK


Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
Mum has only been diagnosed for about 15 months (altho' signs there before that as with all our loved ones). First sign of mobility problems was a spectacular fall resulting in a broken hip. She has recovered mobility but we have noticed a gradual decline and over the past month an increased rate of decline. She insists on using her stick only (won't use the walking frame) but probably should be using the frame as another bad fall and broken hip seems imminent. Like your Mum Joanne, she doesn't have other health problems except for atrial fibrillation which is successfully controlled by a pace maker. As others have said, it seems to be part of the disease.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
McK! You're in Pittsburgh! So am I! (Well the North Hills) You could knock me over with feather (though it would probably have to be a pretty large feather)!



Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
Hi Joann,
My Mom started falling on walks and we were always concerned she would break something. She did fall and break her hand and it is a miracle it wasn't her hip. The doctor said her brain can't process what she see's and she has no depth perception so stepping up onto a stair or curb is really hard for her. In the nursing home they have paisley carpeting in the halls. When she first went into the NH she would hop over the paisley's and the head nurse told me that was very common for AD ( I think in her mind the paisleys were moving). For whatever reason, she is better about that now but has gotten very slow in her walking and can't negotiate stepping up without assistance. Most of the other ladies in her unit ( all AD) are wheel chair bound but can walk with the aid of the physical therapist. There is no set rule though as some that can walk, can't talk, and some that can't walk, can talk. Some are continent that are very progressed in their illness and some that are better off, aren't. Some I have never seen because they don't ever leave bed. Lately Mom has digressed, just yesterday the nurse told me that Mom will head off to the bathroom and when she goes on to check on her, she will sitting on her bed half naked. She (fortunately) hasn't wet the bed that way, but between one door and another, forgets where she is and why she is headed there. I also suspect that she wasn't sure who I am a couple of times. I'm trying to prepare myself for that inevitability.
I'm rambling. Take care,
ps, hello Pittsburg !


Registered User
Aug 3, 2006
Spatial Awareness

Hi Joann, Bruce has got it bang on. The first time I experienced this with my wife about 7 yrs ago was when she said in fear "I can't get down stairs." I took her hand and each leg at the thigh and we took one step at at time. One Sunday I couldn't coax her down and told her I had to get on with doing the lunch and just stay upstairs for a while. A short time later she was standing by be in the kitchen! I can well understand Bruce I have been down the same road which was all down hill once she she entered hospital with a broken arm. l feel sure Bruce, you'll understand when I was asked by a hospital Doctor on Monday "Do you want your wife to remain in hospital or to die at home?" "Home." Once she was removed from the machine, needle and tube removed I had her back home 4hrs later. So much has happened since Bank Holiday Friday. They say things come in threes and they did. May discribe later, so far fetched but by now nothing surprises me. I need a little nap while Jean sleeps. God bless Padraig


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Lancs, England
Patterned Carpets

Rummy's letter has made me think of my problem, Ron has started to try and pick the floral pattern off the carpet. He bends down from his chair and nearly scratches the pattern off. As it is not all the time I am loathe to buy a plain carpet as he is getting more and more incontinent and we also have a puppy who has the odd accident. My friend's Social Worker told her she should have a plain carpet but she's in the same boat as me.
I just wondered what other members have had this trouble.
Keep Smiling:


Registered User
Jun 24, 2004
I went on a course for dementia/alzheimers. We talked about changes in visual perception, including patterned carpets, where the patient could perhaps try to pick the flowers, or try and negotiate patterns, they could be seeing the pattern as an obstacle to step over or walk around. Also it was said that a dark carpet could like a void, especially when you cross the threshold from a light colour to a dark colour. We were shown some slides/pictures on a screen and you could understand it when it was explained to you.

Best wishes.



Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
West Sussex
Hello Joanne

Mum has had AD for about the same length of time as your mother, she is now 75.

Until fairly recently, she could literally run round the garden and was doing the twist with me last summer........ a fantastic day I will never forget.

Apart from AD, she only has slightly high blood pressure, controlled very well with medication, she has not even had a cold for at least three years......touch wood and whistle!!

However, over the last few weeks her walking has become slower and more hesitant, each step carefully taken, looking at her feet the whole time.

Along with her speech and understanding rapidly going, and her eating being more sporadic she is looking so much older than she did even 6 months ago. Even her voice has taken on that "little old lady" quality I remember in her mother.

What will happen next, I can't answer, but I will keep on expecting the unexpected!



Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
How it is at my home

Mum (87, diagnosed 3 months ago but has been 'on her way' for 2 - 3 yrs) is now getting a bit shaky on her legs (she sometimes says it herself, 'weak at the knees') and also I'm sure her eyesight is deteriorating quite fast, which would naturally shake her confidence a bit in getting around.

HOWEVER, don't automatically assume it's an irreversible development, because last week she was on some strong painkillers which made her wobbly, especially at night when she was half asleep anyway. Now she's off them she's back to her previous fairly-fit (for an 87 year old) self. Whilst she was wobbly, she fell over TWICE at 3 am (on successive nights) when she got up to go to the loo without putting the bedside light on 'so that she didn't wake me'. However, the sound of her falling into the wardrobe caused a lot more disturbance than that! (She leaned on the wardrobe door - unfortunately it's a sliding door!) Also she wet herself in the resultant kerfuffle, just to make sure we both woke up thoroughly!

As my Mum used to go to keep fit classes until 2 years ago, I'm asking her to show ME how to do her exercise programme "for my back" in the hope that we'll both keep going a bit longer! Use it or lose it.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Lynne, don't take offense but I giggled like mad about your mother "not wanting to wake you" & the ensuing mayhem!!! I can imagine it - my mother-in-law was just like that - didn't "want to be a bother" and caused a lot of trouble & hassle!!