Alzheimers Q&A: My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago, and she is starting to shuffle her feet when she walks. Is this common?

Monday, 13 November 2017, 10:33:31 AM. Shuffling of the feet in a person with Alzheimer's or dementia typically occurs in the moderate to severe to later stages of the disease.
Shuffling of the feet in a person with Alzheimer's or dementia typically occurs in the moderate to severe to later stages of the disease. Shuffling is a common cause of falls in affected people because sliding feet can more easily trip on rugs, door thresholds or even slightly uneven surfaces. Your grandmother may be experiencing a fear of falling because of some depth perception or orientation issues, so her shuffling gives her a little more confidence in walking. However, shuffling of the feet usually occurs with the loss of muscular coordination as the part of the brain governing these motor skills is being affected by the disease. Simply, the brain and body are not communicating, and thus the affected person has difficulty picking up his or her feet to walk and may be unsteady or begin to stoop. It is important for your grandmother to wear shoes that fit well and that have soles that are neither too slick nor too rigid. Some tennis shoes can be the culprit of falls because the person can't sufficiently lift his or her feet, causing a fall because of the heavy treads in the shoe. Teepa Snow, a noted occupational therapist and national dementia expert, describes a practice for people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia who shuffle their feet and are at greater risk for falls: As your grandmother is walking, walk beside her, placing your arm around her and joining her hip to hip. Next, sing a song with a good tempo, one that she knows and that she can sing along, too. For...Read more
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