Alzheimer

Early Onset Alzheimer’s – Encourage, Inspire, and Inform: From Walker to Walker to Walker

 

When my
kids were small, we put them in baby walkers so that they got a feel for
mobility. I don’t think that it made them walk any sooner, but once they
learned how to get their legs moving, they experienced their first taste of
freedom. It was interesting to observe how they loved moving even if it was
backwards.

I’m
sure I didn’t have a baby walker when I was a kid. I probably learned to walk
by walking between two people whose job it was to catch me when I got off
balance. In due time, I became a walker without a walker.

 

After
Jim started having memory problems, he and I walked in the Sedalia Memory Walk.
We were Memory Walkers. The walk has been rebranded to the Walk to End
Alzheimer’s, but the mission is the same. Last year, the walk was “everywhere”
and we retraced the original 1998 walk route that Jim and I took. Our family
group started at Liberty Park, walked to downtown Sedalia, and back to the park.
The walk was more of a physical challenge than it was when I was twenty-two
years younger.

 

When
Jim was in the Alzheimer’s unit, he liked to pace. He paced day and night until
he dropped from exhaustion. After he started losing his balance and fell
several times, they put him in a merry walker, which is much like a baby walker
for adults. Occasionally he would wind up in weird positions when he was stuck
in a corner or against a wall. He was strong and occasionally turned the walker
over splitting a lip or putting a knot on his head. Even with the mishaps, it
was so much better than being stuck in his recliner all day.

 

Recently,
Harold and I were having lunch at Liberty Park and it made me think of how a
group of us from work walked in the park after work. It was a good way to get
some exercise, reduce stress, and relax after a hard day.

 

Lately,
walking has not been relaxing for me. Instead, I put off walking as much as
possible. When each step hurts, it seems prudent to limit those steps. I also
have trouble navigating when I stand up from a lying or sitting position. When
I visited my ortho doctor to get shots in my knees, he suggested that I get a
walker to use when I get up at night. 

 

The walker
came in a package from Amazon and made me think of how life goes in circles.
Kids use walkers and we “older” people use walkers. Was I really old enough to
need a walker?

 

At
first, I didn’t think I’d use it much, but I found that it helps me in a couple
of ways. First, it saves me steps because I can load the seat with items I need
to carry. I can also save myself from the strain of extra weight by using the
seat. My doctor tells me that my knees don’t know if I’m carrying weight in my
arms or whether I’ve just gained an extra twenty pounds.

 

Along
with losing a few pounds, I’m slowly starting to feel better and have less pain. I walk more now even when I’m not using the walker.

 

I
remember clearly a remark a woman made at an insurance benefits seminar I
attended nearly three decades ago. She had arthritis and stood up with the
help of a cane to speak. “I walk,” she said, “so that I can keep walking.”

 

I don’t
remember her name, but I certainly remember her words of wisdom. I will always
be grateful that she shared her insight to inspire me to be a walker as long as
possible.

 

Copyright
© July 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ


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