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Walking and stumbling

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
My dad, 92, mixed vascular and Alzheimers, still walks well or he did until recently. Last week I accompanied him on a walk of a little under a mile that proved to be too far. To begin with he was fine, but as he began to tire he became more unsteady. He has started to lean forward and stumble especially on a downward slope. It was a circular route back to home and after two-thirds of the distance I had to start holding on to him. At least twice I had to stop him falling down. I don't know if this stumbling when walking is old age or dementia or a bit of each. There is nothing wrong with his legs.

Obviously he should not walk so far but I want to encourage gentle exercise.
Have others had similar experiences? Would a walking stick help?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,427
0
South coast
My OH has similar problems walking. He had an OT assessment and was given a four wheeled rollator. It helps him balance well (a walking stick is not sufficient) and it has an integral seat so that he can take a rest when needed.
It looks exactly like this. We didnt have to pay for it.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
11,676
0
Southampton
mine wobbles and does stagger a bit. he cuts corners and the amount of times he almost stumbles in or outside. i think its a balance issue and the ot gave him a stick to balance up the weaker side. hes never used it due to male pride. he cant walk very far and has to seat down quite often.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,049
0
Kent
I think it`s a balance issue but also when tired, the shuffle comes into being and it`s so easy to stumble.

I have to be careful going downhill too. I don`t know if it`s a lack of flexibility but I even need to be careful where kerbs slope at crossings.

The Rollator sounds a good solution from @canary, especially if it helps your dad rest @MartinWL

My husband refused to use one but he was much steadier when pushing a shopping trolley at the supermarket.
 

Bakerst

Registered User
Mar 4, 2022
144
0
OH loves taking the dog out, but he will only go on very short walks now. We used to go on a circular one that took about half an hour, but he keeps saying he doesn't want to go that far now, I wondered if it was to do with his alzheimer's because he is quite fit otherwise, gets breathless, had chest xray etc nothing wrong. I'm thinking it is anxiety
 

Muttimuggle

Registered User
Dec 28, 2021
227
0
My dad, 92, mixed vascular and Alzheimers, still walks well or he did until recently. Last week I accompanied him on a walk of a little under a mile that proved to be too far. To begin with he was fine, but as he began to tire he became more unsteady. He has started to lean forward and stumble especially on a downward slope. It was a circular route back to home and after two-thirds of the distance I had to start holding on to him. At least twice I had to stop him falling down. I don't know if this stumbling when walking is old age or dementia or a bit of each. There is nothing wrong with his legs.

Obviously he should not walk so far but I want to encourage gentle exercise.
Have others had similar experiences? Would a walking stick help?
My mother was given a 4 wheel rollator by SS a couple of weeks ago as she kept falling to one side. Before that she had a 3 wheel rollator which she kept leaving the locking mechanism off, rendering her unsafe. She is not using either again(yet?).
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,727
0
Suffolk
OH hated his rollator but was always surprised to find he could sit on it!
I’ve used it a few times recently but I find it runs away with me which is not easy to deal with. I haven’t got dementia but extensive arthritis.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
2,456
0
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
I am a fit a 80 year old caregiver and walk for over 3 miles almost every day and at least one mile with my partner who has Alzheimer’s disease. I have found that I too stumble when walking on tarmac surfaces as much as my partner does. I put it down to my mind can’t determine the inevitable roller coaster surface that tarmac creates . As only alternative is broken and very uneven paved surfaces stumbling is now a way of life I fear.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,305
0
Chester
I only worked this out with hindsight but my mum struggled with spatial awareness. Once I got her to use a stick her walking speed increased considerably. She lurched about as she walked but was okish on flat even surfaces. Any deviation in surface and she struggled. With the stick kerbs, slopes, small steps suddenly were no longer an issue. I had assumed it was balance but realised it was actually spacial awareness the way she responded to the stick.

There was no way at that stage I'd have got her to use a rollator as they were for old frail people. (She was 83 at this stage)

Once in her sheltered extra care flat where there were lots of people using rollators she was happy to use one and commented how it made her fit in with everyone else.

If your dad will use a rollator that's the best option. If he won't using a stick is better than nothing.

There's a high chance he won't use either when you aren't there anyway.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,190
0
High Peak
Does he go out on his own @MartinWL , or just when you are with him? That would be my concern. You can (sensibly) shorten his walks with you but he won't shorten his own walks.

I do think that a few stumbles and wobbles in the elderly is to be expected and your dad is 92... Nothing works as well as it did when we were younger :) Dementia will obviously make things worse because the brain is compromised too which affects so many things - balance and spatial awareness but also our ability to do things (like walking) automatically.

In effect, everything is conspiring to trip your father up - his age and his illness.

Sticks, rollators, scooters etc, might offer some help but would he use them?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,427
0
South coast
does it hurt their back if they have to stoop over it or can it been height adjusted?
Yes, they can be height adjusted. OH is very tall, so the rollator is at the highest level - the OT did it when she brought it. She also watched him walk with it to make sure he could use it properly.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
Does he go out on his own @MartinWL , or just when you are with him? That would be my concern. You can (sensibly) shorten his walks with you but he won't shorten his own walks.

I do think that a few stumbles and wobbles in the elderly is to be expected and your dad is 92... Nothing works as well as it did when we were younger :) Dementia will obviously make things worse because the brain is compromised too which affects so many things - balance and spatial awareness but also our ability to do things (like walking) automatically.

In effect, everything is conspiring to trip your father up - his age and his illness.

Sticks, rollators, scooters etc, might offer some help but would he use them?
No he doesn't go out very far on his own at all, maybe 300 yards to the village hall. I try to encourage gentle exercise. I think it might be worth trying a stick, maybe a rollator in time.
 

GillP

Registered User
Aug 11, 2021
1,412
0
My husband struggled to use a rollator because he lacks focus. He looks everywhere and this resulted in a spectacular fall when he got his foot caught near wheel. I fell as I tried to stop him!
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
6,321
0
Nottinghamshire
My dad got on well with his rollator - although he never accepted it was his and always asked where we had to return it to! His was exactly like the one @canary 's OH has but in blue.

He had a stick for several years before due to having a bad knee but his walking speed improved with the rollator. I think it's worth a try.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,190
0
High Peak
No he doesn't go out very far on his own at all, maybe 300 yards to the village hall. I try to encourage gentle exercise. I think it might be worth trying a stick, maybe a rollator in time.
I suppose the trouble is that he could just as easily stumble/fall in the first few yards as the last few. But then he could fall whilst using a stick or rollator too, or in his own home. A rollator is more likely to steady a wobbly person than a stick, I think.

Really, the only answer is constant vigilance. And even then, falls will still happen :(
 

slim-jim

Registered User
Sep 6, 2020
73
0
My dad, 92, mixed vascular and Alzheimers, still walks well or he did until recently. Last week I accompanied him on a walk of a little under a mile that proved to be too far. To begin with he was fine, but as he began to tire he became more unsteady. He has started to lean forward and stumble especially on a downward slope. It was a circular route back to home and after two-thirds of the distance I had to start holding on to him. At least twice I had to stop him falling down. I don't know if this stumbling when walking is old age or dementia or a bit of each. There is nothing wrong with his legs.

Obviously he should not walk so far but I want to encourage gentle exercise.
Have others had similar experiences? Would a walking stick help?
Yes much the same with my wife.sadly the walking distances become shorter over time until it is just around the house and yes the leaning forward seems to be all part of awful desease.
 

GillP

Registered User
Aug 11, 2021
1,412
0
My husband was the same. The forward leaning was particularly worrying. It was as if he had forgotten to move his legs and was in grave danger of toppling forward. I had to gently touch a leg and advise him to move it. So sad as a shared hobby was walking.