Dad gone walkabout this evening.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Sheepteach, May 27, 2015.

  1. Sheepteach

    Sheepteach Registered User

    Sep 4, 2011
    Just had a phone call 11.00, from dad's care company - an employee just happened to find him about a mile from home this evening and returned him home. Thank goodness!

    They wanted me to go and make sure he was alright, but, I live about an hours drive away and my brother works til midnight, so after a few minutes panic I rang dad's youngest neighbours (in their 60's) to ask if they would check on him and if there was a problem to let me know and then I would come down only to be told they wouldn't do it as they had just gone to bed and he wasn't their problem! I shan't be asking them again :( I am actually very angry because only the other day they said if there was anything they could do to help they would.

    After a few more headless chicken moments finally got throught to my brother who is leaving work early to check on Dad.Should be with him about now.
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Sheepteach you've fallen for the oldest trick in the book "they said if there was anything they could do to help they would." Sorry to sound disenchanted and world weary but offers of help often seem to be about as real as the ten million US Dollars span e-mails I get. I do think now you've had this experience you need to work out how to move forward if he's a hundred miles away and your brother does shift work.
  3. Sheepteach

    Sheepteach Registered User

    Sep 4, 2011
    Thanks for the support Kevinl - my brother has just rung to say he's having a cup of tea with dad, who is none the wiser to the evening's events.

    I shan't be speaking to that neighbour for a while - on a slightly different tangent we were thingking of applying for outline planning permission on dad's land for a 2 bedroom bungalow (like a separate granny annexe) as he has an acre of land, to realise his capital should he need to go into care it's on this neighbour's side - so I won't tell them they can hear it from the council if we do do it. From personal experience I know how stressful that is!

    Sorry, it's late and I'm stressed but that's just how I'm feeling at the moment.:mad:
  4. Not so Rosy

    Not so Rosy Registered User

    Nov 30, 2013
    My dad used to go walkabout at times till about 4 in the morning. I was called out on a regular basis by random people and the police for months on end.

    His neighbours were very kind in the main but just because people offer to help I don't think it's fair to rely on them on at night especially if they are the early to bed type. Also they don't know if it's just a matter of taking him back home or expected to sit with him through the night.
  5. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    This might be a one off or it might be the start of your Dad wandering more often do some kind of plan needs to be put into place.

    it was lucky chance that a carer who knew him saw him this time and was able to return him home. i think it is understandable that the neighbour was not prepared to undertake the responsibility at such a late hour. The I offer of help at any time was probably along the lines of collecting a prescription or a A loaf of bread if they were at the supermarket or passing the chemist. Taking responsibility for someone's wellbeing, especially late at night even for just an hour, is probably not what they meant.

    I have very little knowledge of what is available regarding making someone safe but hopefully there will be members along later giving you some idea of what is available to help should the wandering become a regular occurance.

    Distance caring must be very difficult and wandering one of the worst problems to find a solution to. Hopefully this was just a one off.
  6. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Where we used to live there were two elderly neighbours whom I always kept an eye on; that involved knocking on their doors and asking if they needed any shopping when the weather was bad etc. Once I was asked to take the lady to Hospital for an appointment as her daughter was stuck in traffic. Those few things I was willing to do-no problem. Would I have responded positively in the circumstances you outline? Probably that time, but to be honest I would have made sure that you knew I wouldn't do it again:(

    It's a lot of responsibility for a neighbour -perhaps as they live so close they thought it could turn out to be a regular event. I'm sorry that your Dad wandered-it's a very real worry; thankfully, no harm done this time. Have you thought of any security you can put in to stop this happening again?

    Please don't completely isolate the neighbours-you never know when a bit of shopping needs to be done or a prescription picked up. Also keeping them onside if you build that bungalow would be a good thing.

    Take care

    Lyn T
  7. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    Making enemies of the neighbours won't help.

    I don't think you were very fair ringing them so late. I know if my phone rings after 10pm I panic as I know there's a problem.
  8. queenquackers

    queenquackers Registered User

    Oct 2, 2013
    I'm with you on this one Sheepteach - it wasn't as if you would have phoned your dad's neighbours at that hour if it wasn't necessary, and if they had a shred of compassion or understanding, they'd know that caring for someone with dementia isn't just a 9-5 job. Of course they're under no real obligation to help, but the fact that they expressly offered help, and then refused when asked is infuriating. Still, try not to stoop to their level - as others have pointed out it could still be a good idea to keep them 'on side'.
  9. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    #9 Chemmy, May 28, 2015
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
    This would be my view too. Things like this have a tendency to become the thin end of the wedge if you're not careful. And actually, I don't see this as an emergency that warranted such a late night call. The care worker presumably wouldn't have left him home alone if he had been distressed.
  10. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England

    Disregarding the merits or otherwise of telephoning neighbours for a moment.... the important issue is that your Dad is wandering, at night! My Mum did...she would set off for the church social ( not!:rolleyes:) at night, dressed in dark clothing, carrying her handbag( with cheque book, purse, keys, cards etc):eek::eek:....oh yes and carrying her white cane....registered blind.:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek: I was lucky I had a network of her friends who would ring me if they saw Mum passing. Mum also had a care call system in place from the LA and funded by us. This incorporated a door alarm which would trigger an alarm call to her. If she failed to answer it,ie had left the premises, they rang me. I had a recorded message ( not my voice though....that would have encouraged her to do the opposite:rolleyes:) saying " Don't go out Mary, there's nothing on tonight"..... sometimes this worked well.

    Mum would manage ( Lord knows how) to walk up to 3 or 4 miles, blindly stepping out in front of traffic..." Oh I wave my stick and they stop!!!!!!!". Luckily she was never mugged.

    As I said, I had a form of neighbourhood watch going, but this was by good fortune. At no time was it the responsibility of neighbours, friends or passersby to keep Mum safe....that was down to me. I'm sorry but if it was the otherway around, I like to think I would have checked on the old lady,Mum, however I would not have been happy to have people telephoning me at 11 pm to go around to check on a neighbour. I have always reacted badly to late night calls...invariably they have meant bad news.
  11. Sheepteach

    Sheepteach Registered User

    Sep 4, 2011
    Thank you all for your comments. It would appear that I am between that proverbial rock and a hard place, damned if I do and damned if I don't! Another wake-up call in the strange world that is dementia.

    Last night I had to made a judgement call, It was actually a former care worker who found dad and she rang her former manager who made a special trip into the office to find our contact number and I thank them both gratefully for that. She was asking me to check that dad was alright - now, being an hour away means I can go straight to him and when I arrive he could be asleep in bed OR gone out again and be potentially a long way from home, so I chose the quickest (safest, I thought) option of ringing the neighbour. I was not asking them to stay with him merely just to check that he was Ok and ring me back before I committed to a 2 hour round journey. i would never routinely call neighbours at such an hour - this was the first and hopefully only time.

    Anyhow, today I have arranged for the DN to visit and take a wee sample, spoken with a SW who has arranged a GP visit to assess whether Dad is Ok or needs a 'spot purchase ' bed in an EMI home for a week if he does have a UTI..

    We will wait and see...
  12. Amber 3

    Amber 3 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2015
    South Devon
    My husband has just been issued with a Ostrich Care GPS Tracker, which he wears around his neck when we go out. This was supplied free of charge with the help of my husbands occupational therapist. Might be an option for you with your Dad, at least if he wanders off you can call the phone number and give the code and he will be located. Not sure, but think you can get this device online if you are unable to get it FOC.
  13. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    I have friends who are in bed by 9, I don't go to bed til midnight, however I would only expect a phonecall to help to do something unless it was a dire emergency after 9.

    As he had been returned to his house, it wasn't a dire emergency, the care worker wouldn't have left him there completely recklessly. You comment that he could already have gone walkabout. So if he had what would they have done? They were already in bed - so house locked up, got to put clothes on, and possibly start searching for him? So it was only a routine check if everything was Ok, it would still have taken you an hour to get there and so what would they have done for that hour.
    It was very lucky he was found and you need to focus on the measures you take to stop this happening, not worry about someone honestly saying it was more than they could do.

    If I had been asked, I would have done it, but made clear it had overstepped the boundaries and I wouldn't be prepared to do it again.
  14. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    What's going to happen tonight (or any other night) if he decides to go for an impromptu walk?
  15. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Unfortunately, I think the problem here is one of responsibility. How are the neighbours to make the judgement as to whether your dad is okay or not? I do understand why you rang them , but I can also see that they might feel they were being asked to do something outside their ability.....

    GPS tracker plus other technology might help here. Hopefully the GP and SW will be able to offer you something helpful. You're in a difficult situation, and I agree with Chemmy, as a family it might be wise to consider the 'what if's'.

    Good luck :)

    Lindy xx
  16. dottyd

    dottyd Registered User

    Jan 22, 2011
    I would have panicked if anyone rang me after 11 so I can understand how they felt. They might have already been asleep.

    This isn't a workable solution OP and you need to rethink this situation. A door alarm might help. It was no good for my mum too and by the time it was I stalled the neighbours had had enough of her and started ringing the police and social services just when they saw her out during daylight hours.

    If dad is making a habit of this he may need 24 hour care.
  17. Sheepteach

    Sheepteach Registered User

    Sep 4, 2011

    Thank you all for your replies.I still think I did the best thing at the time.

    On Friday morning Dad was picked up at 7.00 am in the private road to his house - he was cold, wet and tired but otherwise unharmed. GP visited him at 8.00am and prescribed antibiotics for a UTI just in case, but said he thought it was probably the next step in his dementia because there were no other medical signs. My brother came and stayed with Dad about 8.30. Both the GP and brother asked Dad if he would be prepared to have a respite stay whilst the medication took effect - he said no - hardly a surprise.

    The emergency SW said they would speak with GP and arrange a 'stop purchase' bed for him that night in an EMI home.

    I arrived at Dad's later that morning he seemed perfectly well apart from being slightly interested in going to the back door, going outside for a moment or two then coming back in - 3 or 4 times in the space of about 20 minutes. I also told him that The GP was concerned about him and I was too, having received phone calls at unusual times that he was walking some distances outside and 'getting cold', and would he consider having respite until the medication worked. Dad said that he was perfectly fine, that there was no harm in taking a walk for exercise, but he didn't remember being found outside that morning, so he refused respite again.

    In the afternoon a man from Older Adults MHT came out to assess Dad and saw his resistance. He said sectioning was an option that it wouldn't be very nice, and that there were no beds available in the county, only Salisbury and London!

    So..., after much discussion, Dad is staying put at home with an extra carers call at 10pm, and my brother dropping by after he finishes work at midnight.

    Sleeping tablets have been mentioned and I will discuss with the GP on Monday.

    Thankfully, no calls last night or this morning, and I aim to visit a prospective care home on Tuesday which I should have seen yesterday! I have a feeling this part of the dementia journey is far from over...

    Is there anyone else out there that gets the feeling that people with dementia fall between health care and social care and the two departments don't communicate very well?
  18. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I would get on the phone and agree to the sectioning-I really don't know what the OA MHT man was talking about. What on Earth did he mean by 'wouldn't be very nice'?. My OH was sectioned 5 times and each time he left the MH Assessment ward he was more calm and on the correct meds.

    Only downfall I can see is the lack/location of beds.

    Take care

    Lyn T
  19. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    Oh dear Sheepteach...yes, I think you did the best you could at the time too.

    Now you know what you're dealing with.

    For me wandering was always the most worrying thing, with my Mam it was 3.30am the day after New years Eve, freezing cold and some determined New Year celebrants to contend with.

    It's really worrying but the overriding thought is that I know my Mam would rather have taken her chances than have her chances taken away, as it was she died two months later so life/death made the decision.

    Rotten times for you and your brother and thin ice for your poor Dad. x
  20. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    Dear Sheepteach, I can see that things are on a knife edge, and don't want to add to your worries but . . . when my Mum started wandering, it was safe-ish at first, then soon became dangerous. It came to a head whilst I was on holiday and my bro, a strong character, said that it was all beyond coping with, she had almost caused an accident in the village at a busy time. the point is that things can turn quickly, so do you want this on your list of worries? I think most need permanent care at this stage as is a sure sign of deterioration of the condition. Lyn T could be right I'm afraid.

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