While people discuss the mental effects of dementia, mobility often takes a backseat in the conversation.
Vascular dementia and mobility go hand in hand. Simply put, the disease affects the entire brain, and your brain assists in the control of movement. So, prepare yourself and your loved ones with knowledge and assist them along the way.
Read on to learn more about dementia and balance — and what to look out for.
What You Need to Know About Dementia and Balance
Dementia is a group of related symptoms and is an ongoing decline of the brain and its functions. Some symptoms include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving, communication, movement, and language.
As with most physical and mental ailments, it’s important to keep moving. Dementia mobility problems can be reduced by daily walking and exercise. The more a muscle moves, the more likely it can continue moving your body. It’s important to note, dementia and physical decline will not happen overnight. There will be small signs that are often mistaken for small nuisances.
Dementia and balance is important to monitor since a stumble or fall might cause additional problems. In addition, vision may become impaired as well, further amplifying potential balance issues.
Dementia affects mobility in a few ways, and sometimes symptoms will overlap.
Diseases affect everyone differently, so symptoms may be different. Vascular dementia and mobility can be compounded depending on the severity of the disease. Dementia can affect mobility in many ways. Here are the five most common:
- Unsteady gait: One of the first signs of mobility loss, an unsteady gait can manifest as a slow shuffling walk or tilting
- Slowness of movement: One may start taking shorter and smaller steps while hunched over
- Increased fall risk: Dementia patients can suffer from more falls due to a loss of balance and strength
- Difficulty in starting to move: You may notice your loved one having difficulty starting to move, like walking after standing or sitting still.
- Stiffness: If the patient is hunched in an uncomfortable position while awake or sleeping, they are likely to become stiff, which can exacerbate the difficulty in starting to move or falling.
Dementia and balance are notable symptoms to watch for.
Walking with Dementia
Walking frequently is one of the most simple but potentially difficult things. Yet, the simple movement of walking can help people with dementia and balance problems. Further, consistent movement can aid in muscle memory and act as a tool for dementia fall prevention.
If you’re wondering, “What stage do dementia patients stop walking?” the answer is, “it depends.” Often patients will suffer from “wandering” where the patient has a higher risk of fatigue or getting lost. As this becomes more frequent, walking may decline.
Vascular dementia and mobility may not affect walking in the beginning, but there is a high likelihood that as the syndrome progresses, walking will become more difficult. For more information on stairlifts and mobility products, contact Williams Lifts today.