Jan 7, 2015

Aerosoles, Alzheimer's and Falling

This situation started the first war between my mother and me. I tried to explain to her that she couldn't walk in heels. She would proceed to tell me she could walk just fine...

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Aerosoles, Alzheimer's and Falling
When I first came to Delray Beach, Florida to take care of my mother she was falling down all the time.

This was disconcerting for several reasons.

First, I had never seen her fall. Second, I had no idea what was wrong with her. Third, I had no clue about what to do about it.

A year earlier my mother walked more than 15 blocks with me in New York without a problem. Of course, she was already scrapping her feet on the ground, a sound that in retrospect was the single biggest tip off that my mother was suffering from early stage dementia.

When my mother would come to New York she would walk in either sandals or Keds. Flats.

I first learned about Aerosoles from some sharp women in New York. In New York, you will see young women in dresses walking around in running shoes on their way to and from work. In work they wear heels. If you ever lived in New York you know the reasons why they do this.

In New York, you walk a lot while commuting. Walking to the subway or the train on those rough New York sidewalks. Those sidewalks will eat your shoes, man or woman. In addition, most people are always in a rush while commuting. It is much easier to walk fast in a running shoe then it is in a pair of high heels.

Many of the sharp women wore Aerosoles while commuting. Aerosole sells a wide variety of womens shoes -- they are fairly priced and very fashionable. The women I knew that wore Aerosoles would swear that they were by far the most comfortable commuting shoe. I can tell you, they look nice.

With this in mind, I started buying my mother Aerosoles. She loved them. Very fashionable, very comfortable, and she liked the price. I was paying for them.

Ok back to the core story, Alzheimer's and falling.

My mother kept falling and it kept getting worse. Once I found her lying in the parking lot. She was full of perspiration, shaking, disoriented and she couldn't get up. I found my mother several times lying on the floor at home, unable to get up, and she wouldn't even call for help. She would just keep trying and trying to get up until I found her.

Finally, she fell and broke her little finger. This turned into an 8 hour wait in the emergency room at the hospital before anyone saw her. Another two and one half hours until we were finally told -- your mother has a broken finger. Guess what? They didn't, couldn't and wouldn't fix her finger -- meaning set it and put it in a cast.

Her finger was finally re-broken two days later, set and put it in a cast. You don't want to look when they re-brake a finger. The needle they use to deaden the area is enough to make you want to run for cover. Forget about the sound.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get into high gear. This put me into fifth gear.

Of course, everyone told me the simple solution -- put my mother on a walker. Dream on.

I noticed that my mother was wearing shoes with heels. Not high heels but those fat high heels. Wedges? Well she could no longer walk in any kind of heal without the inevitable fall.

This situation started the first war between me and my mother. I tried to explain to her that she couldn't walk in heels. She would proceed to tell me she could walk just fine and there was no problem. She would add in some choice words about me, how I should mind my own business, and how it would be a good idea for me to go back where I came from -- something like "get the hell out."

First, I started hiding her shoes. It worked for about a New York minute. She would find them and they would go right back on her feet. You might be wondering why I didn't throw them away. Well I did after about a year.

I can explain to you why I didn't do it sooner. There was a lot going on with my mother, and I could only think my 60,000 thoughts a day. For years, I was a couple of million thoughts behind. If you think I am kidding I'm not. This explains why it often took me years to come up with a winning solution -- like in the pee pee wars. Years to conquer incontinence. Although the pee pee war is kinda like Iraq -- the war continues on a daily basis.

Finally, I discovered the Aerosole Mr. Softee. No not the ice cream, the shoe.

If it is possible to love a shoe, I love the Mr Softee. A very soft, great looking, flat shoe. The soles on these shoes are fantastic, durable, sturdy, long lasting, and they don't stick to the ground. Well they don't stick to the ground when my mother walks in them.

Ok, folks here ya go.
My mother has not fallen in six years. Not once.
I have to add here that there are really two reasons my mother has not fallen. The more important reason is exercise on a treadmill. She can hold on while she walks. This strengthens her legs, helped her lose weight, and I am certain helped improve her balance.

I can tell you this. If I put my mother in another flat shoe with even a tiny sloping heel she is ready to fall on her face. She is just unsteady. While walking with her in those other shoes, I am on constant fall alert.

Why did I finally bring this up today?

Well, I just ordered mom two new pairs of Mr Softee on the Internet and they arrived yesterday. Mom is still walking like a snail, but I have to tell you this -- she is walking more smoothly and is kinda cruising along in the nice, new, fresh Mr Softee's. Honest. Even the scraping sound is diminished a bit.

Just so you know, I am not a pitch man for Aerosoles. However, I would love to work with them to design a shoe for persons suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, or walking on walkers. I think with a few minor tweaks to Mr Softee we could have the ultimate Alzheimer's shoe for women.

Of course, we might have to call that new shoe the Dotty.

My name is Bob DeMarco, I am an Alzheimer's caregiver. My mother Dorothy, now 93 years old, suffers from Alzheimer's disease. We live our life one day at a time.

Go see Aerosoles, Mr Softee.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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