Dementia: Mobility, Falling, and Perception

This morning mother fell. Until now she has stayed in bed until one of the nursing assistants arrives to help her get up and get dressed. Today it was a different story — for the first time she tried to get out of bed.

The nursing assistant found mother on the floor in the living room a bit disoriented. She was not bruised, vital signs were OK, and upon further examination she seemed fine  Mother was unable to say how long she had been there, but the night nurses look in on her, so we know the fall happened after the last check in the early morning.  She rested in bed a bit under the watchful eye of her caretaker and later she was able to get dressed and a breakfast tray was brought to her.

We wonder if we may need to hire another caretaker from midnight to 7:00 AM.

Mother’s shuffling has increased and her mobility has decreased, both dramatically, since my last posting on mobility (November 30, 2009). Her tiny shuffling steps are perhaps a few inches long, and she refuses to use a cane or walker — whether she doesn’t not want to or because she does not remember how to use these supports (or maybe a combination of both) — we can’t know.Thus when she gets up and moves without a helper nearby, Mother holds onto the wall or to shelves or anything else she can find as she inches (literally) along. We’ve seen to it that her path is secure, except for the thick rug over the wall-to-wall carpet in the living room.  She loves this rug, and it was the first one we put down when she moved into her little several years ago.  Her fall occurred right near where her foot gets caught under this rug, so my opinion is that it may well have been a factor. We removed it today.

Further complicating Mother’s movement is her decreased range of motion. She cannot turn her head from side to side and does not perceive things on either side of her when she moves. When Mother grabs for a support she is doing so involuntarily, not because she knows something is there to support her or because she turns her head to see what is there.

Tracking with her eyes is also difficult, well almost impossible, and further impedes her motion.  If we point out something ahead or slightly to one side, she cannot follow with her eyes. She can no longer orient in the direction we are pointing. We’ve stopped pointing out that she would really want to see if she could — a sunset, a historical site, a favorite store, because she misses them all.

Tonight my husband plans to have dinner with her. Being with her as much as possible is about all we can do.

One thought on “Dementia: Mobility, Falling, and Perception

  1. Pingback: Aging Parents-Mobility Aides: Thinking About Improved Devices « As Our Parents Age

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