Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Saturday, October 17, 2009 Cathy, Community Member, asks

Q: Is it common for a person with Alzheimer's to lean to one side while sitting?

My dad has recently started leaning to the right while sitting in his wheelchair.  We have tried to put a pillow between his body and the arm of the chair, but this does not help.  Is this something that is common in the later stage of Alzheimer's?

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Answers (4)
Dorian Martin, Health Guide
10/18/09 3:05pm

Hi, Cathy,

 

In my experience, Mom did list to one side in the latter stages of Alzheimer's. I'm not sure if this leaning was caused by the disease continuing to attack the part of her brain that controlled balance or whether it was due to a stroke. Therefore, I'd suggest contacting your dad's primary care physcian to see if there might be an underlying reason for your dad's leaning.

 

Take care and keep us posted.

 

Dorian

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Cathy, Community Member
10/22/09 1:22am

Thanks Dorian for taking the time to address my concerns with dad.  He doesn't seem to have any other side effects from a stroke.  That was our first thought.   After talking to several employees at the nursing home where dad now lives, it is felt that it is the Alzheimer's disease that is making him lean.  Take care and thanks again.  Cathy

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NC, Community Member
10/18/09 12:52am

It is true that the patient in late stage of AD will have posture problem. At times, my FIL also leaned against one side on his couch esp. after a long time. He tends to stay in the couch for 3 hours or more. So sometimes he would lean on one side. It is the posture thing. Even when he tried to go to bed, we needed to correct him so he could go to bed properly instead of leaning against the wall or one side. It is the way the patient will act in very late stage. Sometimes the caregivers can remind my FIL please to correct the position or help him to sit up right. But they cannot do it every minute. Just when they can, they remind him to sit up properly (like every 2 hours or so.) In my FIL's case, it is up to the caregivers. Most of the time, he just lean on one side as he wishes. It is hard to make corrections too many times as he would hate it. So it is just the way it is. Just try to correct his posture if it is in a bad position too long.

 

Take care,

Nina

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Cathy, Community Member
10/22/09 1:18am

Thanks Nina for taking the time to respond to my concern.  I was afraid that the posture problem was due to the later stages of the Alzheimer's.  So far, when we help Dad to sit up straighter he doesn't seem to mind.  I know there will come a time when we will get on his "last nerve" and will have to back off.  It is just another thing that doesn't seem to bother him,  but "does" bother us since he was a person that expected everyone to walk and sit straight so that they didn't have back problems later in life.  He would watch me walk down the block, yell at me to come back home as if he had something to tell me (and he did), he would tell me to straight up my shoulders, pull them back and then I could leave again.  So seeing him slumped over really bothers me.  Thanks for the shoulder to lean on and ear to listen to me concerns.  Cathy

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NC, Community Member
10/22/09 1:36pm

You are welcome. The similar thing happened to my FIL. You know they don't know they should wash their hands anymore? My FIL used to tell us to wash hands right after we came back to the house. He was dead serious about being clean. Now he does not even know why he needs to wash his hands. Sometimes he only washed one hand after the bathroom. Had to tell him to wash both hands. They are afraid of water now, I think.

I know how you felt. My FIL used to be a gentleman and he was very proper and never used his finger to eat. Now he uses his finger at times to help himself. No more talbe manner and he eats sitting in his couch. Tried to make him eat at the table but he was so alone and didn't like it. Lot of changes on his habits. It is sad. But it is the way Alzheimer's is. It is sad.

 

Nina

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caz4, Community Member
10/27/09 5:53pm

Hi, my nan  has alzheimers and i've just been researching leaning too, as she will often lean right over to one side to the point of falling over, there is something called 'pisa syndrome' - sustained involuntary flexion of the body and head to one side and the body slightly rotated. This is an adverse side effect of some medication including cholinesterase inhibitors such as aricept, my nan is currently on the highest dose of ariceprt so i will speak to her doctor regardina review of this to see if this will help! i'm not saying this is def why your dad or my nan are leaning butmight be worth looking into or reviewing his medication! hope this helps!

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rg, Community Member
6/ 9/10 11:10am

This discussion has been helpful to me as my wife, with early onset, just started leaning to the right as well. No other symptoms that would indicate stroke. The hospice nurse suggested it may be related or due to UTI but I don't think so. My question is, for those who have seen this, what happened next, and the timing of subsequent events (not being able to walk, stop eating, death, etc)?

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NC, Community Member
6/ 9/10 3:00pm

So far the leaning has nothing to do with my father-in-law's sickness. He does not get up from his recliner often and we have to tell him to exercise and get up at times.

About UTI, it is not from leaning - it is from the weakness and fever and the urination. You need to check the color of the urine and see if she is weak and etc. I don't know why the nurse thinks that way, the better way is to check the infection signs given those basic signs. Leaning itself may happen if she is very weak. We usually can tell that my FIL has infection if he is very weak. We also check his urination and etc. We never use this leaning issue to detect his sickness. Sometimes he got short of breath and etc. He walks with a cane and he needs help to get him up and etc. I think leaning itself is not enough for diagnosing anything.

 

Is your wife in hospice? If it is something related to dying, maybe there are other signs to look for. My father-in-law does not need hospice yet.

 

Just my 2 cents,

Nina

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rg, Community Member
6/ 9/10 5:33pm

My wife has been under hospice care for two years. She just turned 63. I'm sure her nurse checked for other things. She still walks pretty good and eats well. She just started the leaning and it was not quite as noticable today. From what i have now learned, it seems that is fairly common in the late late stage of the disease. 

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By Cathy, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 10/17/09