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lost ability to walk unaided


Registered User
Apr 22, 2014
Hi, I wish there was a users manual so you could see what was coming next! My 91 year old mother with later stage dementia has been in a good nursing home here in Ireland for nearly 2 years now. Recently she was hospitalised twice, the first time with pneumonia, then a week after discharge she was taken in again with a chest infection. The good news is that the nursing home have asked me if I would prefer "comfort care" to hospital if she is taken ill again. Comfort care just means keeping the person as comfortable as they can, includes I.V fluids and oxygen as necessary. If I had been given this choice before, it might have saved my mother from the stage she is now at. After being in bed for a week at a time in hospital, she has lost the muscles (or the know how) to walk unaided. One nurse either side of her has to support her. She can't hold up her own weight. Before hospital, she used to enjoy her walks around the Home. What have others found please? I feel she will soon be one of the ones who are in reclining chairs all day, wheeled in and out to be changed and for naps. I really found it quite upsetting when I found she could not walk any more. I know its a stage of dementia, I see the others in the recliners, but I am in denial of the stages of this illness..... thanks for listening.:confused:


Registered User
Jul 14, 2014
North East
Hi. The self same thing has happened to my Dad. He used to walk unaided but following a particularly nasty chest infection he can now no longer walk and requires 2 carers to transfer him. However he seems OK in himself and the funny thing is he doesn't even attempt to get up. It's as if he knows he can't. It is upsetting I agree. On a slightly positive note though, when he was walking he had a few falls which have now obviously resolved themselves. We were always fearful he would have a nasty fall and break something. We keep hoping his mobility will come back but it's been too long now. X


Registered User
Feb 9, 2016
Hi Topsy, I completely understand how you feel. My dad is also back in care home since January after hospital for serious pneumonia. I have also agreed he will remain in care home if he becomes unwell again. In the last month, dad has stopped walking. He rarely speaks now, although I know he is physically able too. He does have the odd day when he's a bit more like himself, but other days when he just stares at me. Very upsetting. I'm afraid, he's just becoming more frail. I fear maybe your mum is too. We can only hope they are comfortable, I guess. Take care. X

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Registered User
Aug 23, 2015
Pass the oar

Same boat here, paddling up the same stream.
Mother In Law (MIL) has for months now lost ability to walk, muscles are gone to doctor told us. She is sat in a chair, hoisted up and down and wheeled about for dinner and naps.
It's dam hard to witness. She randomly mumbles and maybe says the occasional recognisable word now, mostly in a dream world now. She's in a care home local to us.
She to has had hospital visits recently seizures, suspected broken hip (after a seizure fall).

Nothing wrong with being in denial I sometimes find its easily to mentally cope with it then. MIL is 63, symptoms since 2011.
Vascular dementia and Alzheimer's. All happening so fast in last few months decline has been rapid I think.
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Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
Hi topsy, I haven't come across your posts before. Seems the Irish are increasing on TP! :) I lost my husband - also to pneumonia (I will assume it's aspiration pneumonia your mum has been getting, if she is in later stages? caused by the loss of swallowing reflex?). William too was able to walk before his emergency hospital stay last Summer, albeit he had had a few falls. But a week in hospital, and he had lost his mobility. The thing is though - the pneumonia, (or any major infection) at that stage, and the trauma of being shifted out of their familiar environment, and the bustle of a hospital, and strangers around them, "doing things" to them - all these will take an enormous toll on a person at this late stage in the illness. It can accelerate the progression at any stage. So it's difficult to say whether the stay in bed in hospital was the cause of the immobility, or the entire infection + the hospital stay or just the infection + the progression of the illness, if you follow me?

When William went back to the nursing home from the hospital, I opted for him to not go to hospital again. He was no longer able to swallow, so another bout of pneumonia was inevitable - and in fact, he hadn't really recovered from the first bout, as he was still aspirating particles, even of saliva. He did spend his final two months in one of the big recliner chairs - but knowing how he had loved to walk, two of the staff got him up every hour or so and walked him around the home for a bit, until he became too weak. Personally, I would go with comfort care every time. I know I have said it before on TP, but I think there comes a point when we need to question whether, with medical interference, we are doing it for the person or for ourselves, because we aren't ready to let them go - and we have to ask, are we prolonging their lives or prolonging their deaths? With my husband, I felt it would just be prolonging his death to give him any more treatment. He was kept comfortable, in his own bed in the nursing home, cared for by people he knew and loved, and he died with dignity.

Best wishes - it's a dreadful time for you. xx