Alzheimer`s Disease/elderly


Why does an 85yr old woman go into a fetal position and not want do get up at all?

Hello Helen:  I'm guessing that since you're asking this question in the "Alzheimer's" category, that this woman does have some type of dementia.  Many experts call AD "aging in reverse" because the most complex skills are lost first until almost all abilities are lost and they become as an infant again.  This is likely what is happening with this woman.  Her dementia has progressed to the point where assuming the fetal position and sleeping many hours a day--like an infant--is what is most comforting for her.  I would allow her this comfort, but when she is awake to eat or bathe, be sure to gently and very slowly stretch out those limbs so she doesn't develop painful contractures in them.  Play her favorite music and sing her favorite songs while working with her and you will have a much better response.  Massage her back and all those limbs while doing the stretches or bathing her.  Good luck to you Helen as you move with this woman on her journey through dementia.  

Alzheimer`s Disease

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

©2017 All rights reserved.