The later stages of dementia

7. Mobility

Dementia is likely to have a big physical impact on the person in the later stages of the condition. They may gradually lose their ability to walk, stand or get themselves up from the chair or bed. They may also be more likely to fall. These problems can be caused by dementia, medication, other medical conditions (for example stroke), sight loss, balance problems and the environment. However, not all people will have problems with mobility.

Many people with dementia (especially in the later stages) find themselves staying in one position for a long time (such as sitting in a chair) and not moving around much. This means they are at risk of pressure ulcers (bedsores). If you notice a pressure ulcer or have concerns speak to the GP or community nurse. They can be easy to prevent early on, but if they go unnoticed they can get worse and become painful and infected. For more information see factsheet 512, Pressure ulcers (bedsores).

As a person’s mobility decreases they are also at risk of infections and blood clots. The person should be supported and encouraged to move around as much as they are able, for example through support to walk or chair-based exercises. An occupational therapist or physiotherapist can help with this. For more information see factsheet 529, Exercise and physical activity.

Ask for advice on the best ways to support the person to move without injuring themselves. Speak to the GP, or a community nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist for more advice. An occupational therapist can give advice about equipment and adaptations to help with mobility. For more information see factsheet 429, Using equipment and making adaptations at home.