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Any suggestions - parent living alone and wandering

deepetshopboy

Registered User
Jul 7, 2008
316
Wandering and getting lost was a game changer for mum. She started going out during the day and kind neighbours would bring her back, but then she started going out in the middle of the night , in the freezing cold, dressed only in her nightwear (and on one memorable occasion, wearing only an unfastened dressing-gown) and banging on random peoples doors at 3.00am because she was lost :eek:. She would not allow carers in her home, notes on the door didnt work, and she wouldnt agree to having a door alarm, so I started looking for a care home.
In fact, she had a TIA first, so she ended up in hospital and went from there to a secure care home. Everyone (doctors, Social Services and me) was in agreement that this was where she needed to be. She was angry that she wasnt allowed out on her own and spent the first few weeks "packing to go home", but the care home got a DoLS and by 6 weeks mum had settled and was happy there. She lived there and thrived, made friends and once told me "they all love me in here". She was right - they did. I have no regrets.
Canary how horrendous .
my dad did similar last yr banging on hes neighbours doors of hes old block of flats .kicking there doors and looking through there letterbox he had the old neighbours out who were in shock as they had no idea he had dementia 😩
you were lucky your mum settled lots of pwd dont
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,641
South coast
you were lucky your mum settled lots of pwd dont
Some dont, true, but you read on here over and over again how people move to a care home and, after a two or three months, have settled and thrive. Im sure that in mums case it was the fear of being on her own and the anxiety of trying to live in a "normal" household when she didnt understand what was happening, that drove her to her extreme behaviour (and I havent mentioned the half of it in this post!). Once she got used to always having someone around, day and night, and not having to worry about the day to day things like food and bills arriving, her anxiety and paranoia largely went, and her old personality (though not her memory!) came back. She became a whole lot of fun again and I used to enjoy visiting her in her care home.
 

AnneCatherine

New member
Mar 1, 2020
1
Arkady, this is really interesting. Our mum is only 75, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January, although we saw signs probably start 2 years prior. Progression has been fast this year. She is going out repeatedly in the afternoon, but talking to people in the pub garden, no social distancing. Talking to people when she’s out walking around the village green. But she’ll stay out walking around the green for several hours. We’ve now found out she’s knocking on the neighbours door several times a day, and even knocked on a strangers door recently to tell them their milk was on the doorstep! We have carers going in and we go in twice a day. I think she’s just lonely, but again wonder if too soon for care home. She can’t do anything for herself now, only washing and dressing. She does what she wants and ignores us. But also in denial about her condition. We too are at a loss what to do. Totally understand where you’re coming from.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
315
This must be a dilemma for many: a care home is a jail right now. It is by and large healthy to go out for a walk but care home residents are currently imprisoned. Those capable of the simple pleasure of a walk in the park alone or with a family member cannot do so due to covid precautions. I can see this coming in a few months with my own father as dementia progresses but his legs remain in full working order!
 

Arkady

New member
Sep 29, 2020
9
@AnneCatherine yes it sounds familiar!
Dad is constantly going round to neighbours too. He can get to the back of houses on the street and bangs on back doors or just walks in if unlocked! He’s lonely and desperately seeking stimulation I think - bad enough that he lives alone, but with Covid, options to get out are so limited. I feel awful I can’t manage his behaviour though. He goes to see people then gets grumpy with them.

A neighbour saw him yesterday and immediately got in touch to insist I put him in a care home. The judgement just makes me feel rubbish and like I’m not looking after him properly.

On the up side, we’ve been talking a lot about him needing to stay in unless he’s going out with someone else, and he’s not been out/got lost in a few days, so I’m really hoping he stays in and safe for now. He’s having to have some tests at the hospital and change his meds at the moment - it would be nice to have that sorted before anything else changes.
 

Arkady

New member
Sep 29, 2020
9
This must be a dilemma for many: a care home is a jail right now.
So much so. I want to keep dad safe and if I can’t manage his wandering I don’t think I have a choice, but it feels like the worst possible time to be moving him.

@canary I’m glad moving to care was the best solution for your mum. It must have been such a weight off your mind. You mentioned she was anxious about living alone and thrived when she didn’t have to worry - what worries me is that dad is fiercely independent and hates other people being around. He doesn’t need to worry about meals as me & carers sort that for him, but the notion of having to sit in a shared living area or do group activities or even have someone he doesn’t know try and help him with things is enough to set him off swearing!
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,641
South coast
I did not think that mum would join in the activities either @Arkady , but if she hadnt wanted to, well they are not compulsory. Mum had lived on her own for nearly 30 years after she was widowed and I would have have said that she was fiercely independent too, but things change.

You said yourself that
He’s lonely and desperately seeking stimulation I think
so he might do better than you think. Many care homes have a quiet lounge, with no TV, music or activities, for people who want peace and quiet.

Ultimately, though, it boils down to - is he safe at home?
 

Arkady

New member
Sep 29, 2020
9
Ultimately, though, it boils down to - is he safe at home?
That’s the heart of it. If he can understand he needs to have company when going for a walk, then I think he’ll be ok (for now) as he’s managing well with the support we have and is pretty firm about staying put. If he can’t... well, then he has to move somewhere safe.

(I’m also in the process of moving house so really hoping he can be safe at home for a few months, so I can look at care homes near new house once we’ve moved, instead of moving him twice!)