20yo son w/ dementia & ADD wanders yards. I'm a busy single mom. How can I communicate with him?

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by rampu0000, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. rampu0000

    rampu0000 New member

    Sep 21, 2019
    He started a couple years ago. I would correct the behavior by bringing him home (usually catching him in the yard/trying to go outside without me) and giving something to do. He stopped for a while, but it's started again and now it's to the point where he'll sneak off while I am sleeping or distracted. He will wander around or get into porches and open garages or sit on swings. There's a specific neighbor he has been to, he lays or naps in their gazebo or tries going in their house to eat food.
    I try paying attention closely but I am a single mom with a lot of work under short time periods plus cooking specific meals due to his food sensitivities and going to the bathroom/showering a lot due to incon and menstrual issues. At least once a day I will find him in the yard or go down the street to get him. I'll catch him opening the door and I have to physically prompt (grab his arm and guide him somewhere else, or hold lightly and coax him until he lets me walk him to the TV or his computer or to eat). I stay up a bit anyway though eventually I do need sleep and he is on sleeping meds but sometimes wakes up at night.

    He does it even if I correct or explain. I will not restrain him if there are other options. I have tried talking to him but he won't keep conversations especially serious ones. He refuses to talk to counselor about this and will not listen to anyone. I have put locks on the door and we have a fence, and he finds his way. Today he created a distraction by waiting until I walked away and pouring his drink near my work computer and phone (which he knows I'm going to panic about and clean up asap), and walked into our yard. I correct his behavior and give distraction, and he does have time outside, but it has no affect. He has gotten lost and will break down crying and people yell and make it worse. When I find him, he sometimes does not get in the car unless I physically prompt him or baby him. I told the neighbors about his condition and asked for some support, and they don't understand and they ignore him or just tell him to go home or call the cops and scare son. Two neighbors feed him (enforce this and endanger him) or harass him by jokingly calling out "come here".
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello @rampu0000 and welcome to DTP

    Im so sorry to hear about your son - how awful to have dementia at 20 years old :eek::( You have got your hands full and no mistake.

    Trying to correct or explain to people with dementia does not work - they dont understand logic or reason anymore and dont remember what you have said anyway. You have to use practical solutions to keep them from harm, not just verbal commands. Your son now requires 24/7 care which is very difficult for one person to provide. From your use of various words I get the impression that you live in US. If you were in UK I would be saying that you need to contact Social Services and be looking for a secure residence to keep your son safe, but I do not know what is available where you live.

    It does sound like at a minimum, you need to make sure that he cannot escape - get fences and gates sorted so that he is restricted to the house and grounds and give him lots to do. If he likes swings, do you have one? Im sorry, I dont really know what to suggest.
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello @rampu0000. Welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I hope you will find it helpful and supportive.

    Your son`s diagnosis is tragic and I don`t know how any of us would manage your situation.

    I do believe it is not fair to rely on neighbours. They probably know little about Alzheimer`s as is apparent by the behaviour you have posted about.

    This is dreadful and will only increase your son`s anxiety and confusion.

    Your son needs professional help.

    If you are in the USA please contact the dementia helpline here.


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