Aunt starting to wander again...

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by sinkhole, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    She's been fairly settled at my mum's house for a few months now, but recently she seems to be more agitated and unsettled. She was checked for UTI and had a blood test when she wandered to the local hospital a couple of weeks ago and all was well there.

    Today, out of the blue she tells my mum she needs to go to the newsagent to get Shaun the Sheep (?). In the end, she wandered down to the local Tesco corner shop and came back after about an hour.

    Just had a call from my mum and she's now announced she has to go to New York (!).
    So my mum's a bit concerned now it's dark and this is a destination she's never spoken about before, so we haven't got a clue how she thinks she's getting there tonight.

    We have conversations all the time about whether my mum should just lock the front door and hide the key, but she's concerned about the agitation that will cause. The official advise is to let her go out as she still has capacity and isn't considered a danger.

    When we have episodes like this one, I find it difficult to know what the best advice is to give my mum, other than what I've told her before and that's to let her go if she's getting so agitated that my mum feels threatened.

    I've told her to say that all the planes to NY are cancelled because of fog, but I don't know if this will work.

    Anyone got any other bright ideas?
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Such a worry sinkhole
    I think you're right to use any excuse under the sun - storms over the Atlantic, airport strikes, needing a passport WITH a visa, so best to leave it until tomorrow!! Would it be worth getting out an atlas and looking at places to visit when she goes, to distract her - or is this more likely to make her more sure she wants to go NOW?
    Wandering after dark is a major concern - would your aunt respond well to your mum asking her not to go out because she (your mum) doesn't feel well and would like her (your aunt) to be on hand in case she is sick? I know some people feel good if they are needed and the desire to be helpful can override other issues - though your mum may need to keep saying this rather often.
    I'm afraid I can't remember - do you have a tracker for your aunt, so that if she does wander you have some idea where she is?
    I hope your mum gets some peace tonight.
  3. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    Good idea about the passport, I'll suggest that one, although she usually has an answer to everything!
    We constantly try to appeal to her sense of responsibility towards my mum, but because they have been so independent for so long, this rarely washes with her.

    Yes, we do have a tracker which my mum manages to 'plant' on her usually when she goes out. It is a big help, but not infallible and it won't stop her from getting into danger, of course. We don't feel so bad if she says she's going to the shops or the hospital, as we know she'll probably get there, but where the idea of going to New York has come from, we don't know so she could head off in any direction!

    Hopefully, mum will talk her out of it and we can both get some sleep tonight.
  4. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    For a long period when my husband was wandering he managed to find his way back or was brought back. Still nerve wracking. Eventually I'm sorry to say he could not work out how to get back and indeed didn't know his own address to get back to anyway.

    At that point then fairly serious steps have to be taken. Like your Mum with your aunt, stopping him going out was not an option and at that point SS agreed to fund a place in a care home. However we were also trying Trazadone in gradually increasing doses to calm him down and this worked. He has not wandered since the beginning of September when he got on q bus and was brought back by the police.

    He also goes to a day centre 3 times a week which tires him out on those days. If your aunt likes company I would try the day centre. Contact her CPN or GP to consult them about her medication too.
  5. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    The GP saw her last week. She has elevated blood pressure and I'll be taking her to the clinic to get a 24hr monitor fitted soon, but as he found out when he asked her, she point blank refuses to take any medications (even aspirin) and has been like that her whole life, so even if he ends up prescribing her something for the high BP, she is unlikely to take it and this would be the same for any other medication unfortunately.

    I'm trying to get my mum to accept some sort of care to start coming in and help her with the housework and at the same time to build a relationship with my aunt with a view to getting her out of the house and give my mum some rest. We have SS coming in tomorrow to do a needs assessment so we'll see where that goes as well.

    The way my aunt is (and has always been, to be fair) she's probably going to just do her own thing whatever we try and put in place, so I guess it's just going to be a matter of time before she does something, or something happens to her, which forces the issue.
  6. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    I think your aunt is getting confused by things she is seeing on the TV. What could your mum put on screen that would make your aunt want to stay indoors? Would she watch old films or nature programmes? I realise these could cause different delusions! I wonder if she is sundowning at a particular time of day? If so, then turn off the TV at that time and play soothing music instead?
  7. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    Yes, I completely agree. She has a number of delusions which I am certain comes from TV programmes. One story she often repeats is her 'trip' to the Antarctic where she met some penguins and followed them to South America. I'm sure that one came from a wildlife series.

    The current Shaun the Sheep obsession is obvious, as she likes watching that programme (so does my mum), so they watch recordings of it regularly.

    I think probably any type of programme could put an idea into her head which will lead to her wanting to go somewhere. It's impossible to predict.

    I've suggested music to my mum, but they don't really listen to much music, so it's been a non-starter so far. I'll discuss it with them today again as I'm going over to see them shortly.

    At least she didn't try to go to NY last night, so my mum must have found a way to distract her!
  8. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Morning sinkhole
    good to hear your aunt didn't wander last night
    I appreciate the 2 of them may not actively listen to music much - I have noticed, though, that in dad's care home, the residents appear more settled if there is music in the background, and some clearly enjoy it as they sing along or tap feet etc - I often leave the radio on radio3 for my dad as he seems calmer if there is some background noise and he used to enjoy classical music rather than what is played on other stations - I listen to radio 4 or radio 4 Extra as I like to have a voice in the background rather than music all the time
    I think for dad the music gives him something to distract from being on his own and lost in his head, which can lead to his anxiety pinning on something more 'destructive' such as the wandering or moving furniture because it isn't in the right place
  9. VonVee

    VonVee Registered User

    Dec 15, 2014
    Poole Dorset
    You do what you you and say what you have to hon, to get by, and if it works, then great! Just try anything, give it a go,
    My mum lives with me now, and over the last 3 weeks she hasn't wandered off once, because you know why, I lock her in, and I'm ok with that, and my mum doesn't get as half agitated here with me as she did in that damn flat, so I don't care what the stupid social workers say about we don't condone that, it's my home, and if locking her in keeps her in and keeps her safe, then it's worth doing.

    All the best hon xx

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