New and need advice


Registered User
Jun 6, 2005
My m-i-l has dementia and has had to go in to a care home. She lives 250 miles away from us so visiting is difficult, my b-i-l was her carer before she went into the home. He struggled as he has epilepsy and other health problems and is not very good at communicating. We visited her over the weekend and although she was better than when we last saw her we are concerned that she seems to be so restless- constant wandering, pacing and rocking. Previously she was very active and enjoyed walking. The home don't seem to provide any activities for her to do- is this usual? There are a couple of TV's that she's not interested in but nothing else. Has anyone any ideas that I could suggest to the home or anything I could send her?
Thanks for any advice.


Registered User
Mar 12, 2007
How about music?
Old stuff that she will remember, and quite possibly 'sing' away too.
Take her favourite sweets/food/drink.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi aowensey,

When my mother was in her first NH, she too was restless. She walked up and down corridors, endlessly. Everytime I visited, she was walking the corridors. I asked why and was told `some of them are walkers`. She wasn`t the only one.

I later learnt it was a sign of boredom.

My mother didn`t rock herself, she just walked.

I would ask the home if more activities could be provided, to pass time and offer some stimulation. Whether or not it would work, I couldn`t say, but it could at least be tried.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
constant wandering, pacing and rocking
I found this just to be part of the condition. My wife Jan was like it at home, despite all the diversions I tried, and I have seen many others like it at the care home where she now lives.

Sometimes they also move furniture around constantly, tidy up constantly, move objects about, walk around in daisy chains of people all holding hands.

blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Welcome to TP

Like Brucie, I found that the pacing etc was part of my dad's condition, even before he went into a home. I hate the way TV is left on in so many homes - is it really for the staff more than the residents, as so few people with dementia seem to respond to it? Unfortunately the level of staffing and quality of training in many homes is so poor that the staff do not seem to engage with the residents and this is very sad. I would ask to see the named carer / nurse who is responsible for your m i l, or the one who relates best to her, and talk to them about her. Sometimes it helps if the staff can understand what the person was like before the dementia so that they can relate more to them as an individual. Perhaps playing some older songs/ music might be a connection eg. from the war or popular musicals. Giving the staff a photo album with special moments in your m i l's life (all labelled of course!) might be something they would sit down and look at with her. Everyone with dementia is an individual. The person you love is still there but their perception of life is so different you have to search for new ways to connect with them. I found when I visited dad it was helpful to keep to the same routines, looking at same photos, talkng about same things - he seemed to find the predictability soothing. When he became restless, I just gently took him by the arm and walked round the corridors or garden with him as he was happier keeping moving. Some of the medication he was on at different times reduced the pacing (which included hours at night too) but of course had other negative effects so there is no easy solution. I have never seen any explanation for this (has anyone else?) but many people with dementia seem to develop a very sweet tooth, so I alwasys found that taking chocolates and biscuits brought a magic smile!
Good luck - look for the small things that give a moment of pleasure.

Blue sea


Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
Brucie said:
I found this just to be part of the condition.
Sometimes they also move furniture around constantly, tidy up constantly, move objects about, .
Long before my mothr was identified as having AD she would do this. We would be half amused and half frustrated by her constantly "doing" things . When she was first in the home she wouldn't take part in the activities provided because she "had so much to do"!!!!!:rolleyes:

As the disease has progressed, this restlessness has lessened, but she will still sometimes wander around folding and unfolding objects, moving then replacing objects, all apparently because "it has to be done"!!

As far as activities are concerned, my Mum has every opportunity to take part in lots of different things, but simply refuses to do so. This is partly the AD I think, but largely that she has always been a "non-joiner" and a private person. We can't expect her to change the habits of a lifetime I guess. Nell