1. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    I just thought I'd create a thread where we can write about the 'adventures' we've had with our loved ones that have dementia. The thread can be useful for others who can use view it as tales of caution, and a stress relief for the others, because I don't know, I get a weird need to giggle when you have one of these 'adventures' and survive it unscathed!

    Dad's London Subway Adventure:

    Initially when Mum and Dad told us kids about Dad's diagnosis we got together and organised an 'around the world' holiday for them, that they could enjoy before things got too bad. Anyway organising the whole thing and actually getting them away on the holiday took a little while and so Dad's symptoms had progressed a little by the time that they managed to depart Australia, not so far that he couldn't enjoy it though and enjoy going back to Ireland where he was born. Anyway needless to say they had a wonderful time, but I did note that at the airport when they left Dad seemed to have a propensity to get lost and wander away and not know where he was, so I was a tad apprehensive....

    Dad's London subway adventure happened when Mum and Dad were in the London phase of their holiday obviously. Planning to explore London, they decided to brave the London subway...where Mum and Dad come from their are no trains, let alone a subway so it was all quite daunting. They studied the routes, Mum of course taking more in than Dad and they set off one morning to explore. As they were about to get onto the train/subway, Mum hesitated at the last minute wondering if this was the one they actually wanted to catch. Dad was already standing inside the doors...

    The doors shut, Dad inside Mum outside, Mum just stood there shocked into inaction and see-ya later Dad!! :eek: The last thing she saw was Dad standing there looking at her from behind the closed doors and then the subway/train was gone! Mum suddenly came to life, ran after the train, but it was way too late. Freaking out she wondered what to do. If she left that spot, she might lose him forever, at this stage of the disease her and Dad hadn't even thought about putting any identifying things in his pockets, any cards of explanation and to outsiders he seemed a mainly normal fellow, who stared a little bit more than most and didn't speak much. Anyway, right or wrong she decided to stay put as it was a round trip route with the same train returning to its origin eventually. So she waited and waited, bile in her throat, feeling ready to throw up and eventually the train came back. The doors opened and god love him, there was Dad, he hadn't moved an inch!

    The moral of the story, don't put your loved one on any mode of transport and then step off!!!Not even for a second! Also, from this day forward Dad carried a card in his wallet that had all of his family's contact details in it!
  2. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Where there's a will there's a way!

    Dad's bicycle adventure - A last dash to freedom

    This adventure happened a few years later. Dad was going through an angry and frustrated stage and giving Mum terrible troubles being stubborn and belligerent. Anyway, they live(d) on a property with a dirt road of about 200 meters to their gate, then a another dirt road of about 500 metres to the next property gate, then another dirt road of about 5 kilometres until the road becomes bitumen, another 3 kms and then you're in the local township, made up of a general store, a pub and thats about it!

    Mum and Dad had always kept two bicycles so that they could get some exercise, riding down to the gate if they had visitors rather than driving down, admittedly they didn't use them much and they were old and rusted and one in particukar had a very flat tire. On the day of the adventure Dad had been kicking up a right stink about wanting to go,go,go, but Mum had experienced this before and had found it didn't matter where she took him he'd never be happy. Anyway, my brother, wife and his two kids were visiting as well as my sister, husband and her four kids, none over the age of six, so as you can guess the house was bedlam. Kids yelling, Dad yelling, parents yelling, kids laughing, parents laughing and so on. Dad kept saying he wanted to go and Mum kept ignoring him and telling him just to enjoy being with the family. At one stage the argument came to a head and Mum said'Well just bloody go then.' and Dad stormed out of the room. Mum wasn't too worried because she knew Dad couldn't drive, so didn't think much about it, thinking he would cool down outside and then return. Also my brother in law had taken some of the older kids in the car down to a nearby creek for a paddle. Time passed and then somebody said, 'Where's Dad?'

    He couldn't be found but then my brother yelled. Away in the distance a cloud of dust could be seen. Then my mother yelled. One of the bikes was gone! There was no car available. So my 30 year old brother grabbed the other bike and began peddling like mad after Dad who was already through the first gate! My mum ran to get hold of my brother in law to get the car back.

    Anyway, my poor brother got the bike with the flat tyre,and my father that day got as far as the township on his bike! At that point he ran into his niece who lives in the area and she knowing something was up for him to be out on his own stopped him in a friendly manner and said 'Hey Uncle Tommy, how are you?' then she suggested they go get a drink from the General Store, and thats where my mother, brother and sister found him, my brother covered in sweat and dust had been picked up by the rest half way to town.

    Thank-goodness Dad had stuck to the main road, the area they live in is farms and forest.

    Moral of the story, don't underestimate the determination of your loved ones one they want to 'go'! ;)

    It may not come out in the story but it really was an extremely funny picture to think of my 6foot, 50 year old father peddling like the wind, and my 6 foot, 30 year old brother, trying like crazy but being whipped by his invalid father in a bike race!!

    Dad never rode the bike again. But he had forgotten that he was angry by the time my family found him and wondered what all the fuss was about!
  3. KarenC

    KarenC Registered User

    Jun 2, 2005
    Los Angeles, USA
    Mom's Last Road Trip

    Gee, was it really only 2-1/2 years ago? Mom was still in the "independent" level of the retirement community (has since gone through the "assisted living" level there, gotten too tough for them to handle and been moved to an Alzheimer's home).

    Anyway, she was still driving – short distances, only during daylight and to well known destinations. We were aware of a few minor incidents of her having problems with the car (e.g., apparently locking herself out while it was running) and getting lost, but she still seemed overall willing and able to get herself to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, etc. Then one evening in May 2003 we got a call from the night nurse at Regents Point (the three-tier retirement community my parents moved to in 1998) to the effect that she, the nurse, had just gotten a call from the Santa Monica police department about Mom: Mom was there in Santa Monica. Now Regents Point in Irvine is 40 miles south of us; Santa Monica is maybe half that far north of us. My husband's and my first reaction was therefore disbelief – my mother never drives anywhere near that far; it is nearly 9 o’clock in the evening and she is never out nearly this late; it must be somebody else’s mother. I made the policemen put her on the phone to verify – yes, it was my mother. She had gotten really lost, must have driven for hours trying to find her way home, and ended up in a very minor accident (grazed a fire hydrant and bumped into a street sign) in Santa Monica. We picked her up at the police station, tired and upset but otherwise unhurt. It was one of those good accidents, with no real harm done, that wakes everybody up to the fact that something needs to change. Mom readily agreed that she was ready to give up driving, and my parents donated the car to charity.

  4. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Rainy daze

    This one's a short one. Dad went through a stage where he would wake mum up continually while she was sleeping.

    One night Mum decided that she was just too tired and so even though he kept coming back to the bed to try and rouse her she decided she would try a policy of just ignoring him, no matter what.

    All through the night he kept coming back to the bed and would stand over her, trying to get her attention, but she just kept keeping her eyes shut and finally she fell asleep with the sound of the monsoon rains helping that sleep to be a comfortable heavy slumber....

    Then at about 4am, she began dreaming that the rain was coming in through a leak, she could almost feel it, drip, drip, drip, on her nightie, her face. Finally the dream disturbed her enough and she woke up and opened her eyes. There was Dad again standing leaning above her, absolutely saturated from head to toe, his pyjamas stuck to his skin!

    Dad had gone out in the rain and must of just stood there letting it soak him through!
  5. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nursing home antics

    This ones not about Dad but about Ike, a guy who lives at Dad's home, who also likes to be called Sir Percival.

    One day when Ike was just new to the home he came up to me and asked me the same question he regularly did, could I tell him where his room was. So I did, number 17 I told Ike. Later as I was walking with Dad, I saw Ike asking one of the carer's where he could find a bathroom, he had a towel over his shoulder. She told him that he could have a shower later and that he should just go and sit in the common room. I heard ask Ike this ask of several carers for the next hour and each of them rebuffed him and eventually they all disappeared to who knows where, its often very empty of staff where Dad lives.

    Anyway eventually Ike came to me again and asked me where the bathroom was and so I told him that one of the nurses would be able to help when they came back. Ike continued to wander around looking frustrated with his towel and eventually he came and asked me again. Fed up with the lack of staff and the fact that Ike's simple little desire was not being heeded as usual, I am ashamed to say I was overcome by an evil irresponsible urge. I weighed up the dangers inherent in my decision and felt that they were no larger than Ike being left unsupervised, and as there is no hot water available to inmates I decided to offer Ike, Dad's ensuite bathroom. Ike said "Are you sure he wouldn't mind?" and I replied, "No, no, of course not" Ike was soooo happy!

    Anyway, Ike closed the bathroom door and a little while later I could hear him singing in the shower. Dad and I went to sit in the common room. The next thing I hear is splish, splosh, splash, splish, splosh, splash. And I giggled to myself. Then suddenly there were staff everywhere. How had the halls got so wet? There was water everywhere! And there was Ike standing there looking fresh as a button, dressed in fresh clothes and clean as a whistle, looking very pleased with himself. You know I didn't feel guilty that the staff had an awful mess to clean up, at all.

    I know, I know, it was a bad thing to do.
  6. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Oh, Nat, that was bad but oh, that was sooooo good!
  7. cynron

    cynron Registered User

    Sep 26, 2005
    east sussex
    Lost in Venice

    While on a cruise last year my husband and i became seperated in St Marks Square. What a place to be lost. With just two hours to sailing i was at my wit's end. I could see the liner dissapearing without us and with all our luggage on board.My husband did not know how to reach the liner without me and did not ask anyone for help,i sat on a bench and after a long time i saw him at a distance just strolling along.He also got lost in Melbourne thats another story to be told later,but sad to say i think our travelling days are over.

    We did make the gangway in time!!!

    Cynron. :eek: :eek:
  8. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Lost in Montipullicano

    Yes, lost Lionel in this walled hilltop town, had italian police out looking for him.
    That was five months BEFORE he was actually diagnosed. Just so glad they found him.
    We did travel for the next two years on our own, but now go with very good friends. Connie
  9. Dianne

    Dianne Registered User

    Sep 5, 2005
    Not a lost situation but something i look back on and can laugh about. My dad went back to his army days, when he looked after horses and after an afternoon trying to find 'the jockey' and his army platoon as he'd gone 'AWOL' he seemed to calm down and wnet to bed early. Around 3am my Mum woke up with dad's hands shoving something at her face..........yes he was trying to feed the horses hay!!!! Mum wasn't impressed at the time but now we have a laugh about it, we can still have good memories of them even when the dementia takes hold can't we.
  10. jks

    jks Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    West Yorkshire
    Lost in the Co-Op

    Every week I take my parents shopping in the local Co-Op. Mum's in a wheelchair, and Dad is supposed to be in charge of the trolley. However, if I take my eye off the ball for just a few seconds, I find the trolley abandoned mid-aisle...........

    ......and my Dad wolfing down the free samples at the deli counter. :D

    Sometimes they even give him a polystyrene tray of his very own, with cubes of cheese, pieces of ham, small slices of pie....the ladies behind the counter are so kind. And then he somehow manages to push the trolley one-handed, whilst hanging on to his tray of goodies!
  11. cynron

    cynron Registered User

    Sep 26, 2005
    east sussex
    Melbourne police to the rescue

    My husbands ride in the police car. We were staying in melbourne for two nights, on the day we were leaving to stay with my neice who lives on the Mornington Penisular my husband was left on the tram as the doors closed on him as he was too slow getting off.I was not too worried he would walk back a stop i thought. At this stage i did not realise he would be missing two hours with no money or water ,it was a hot day. After one hour i phoned the police they came took details and looked at his passport showing his picture. The hospital phoned me ,did he have long hair and was he wearing "RUNNERS". This did not fit his description. Meanwhile he had approached a lady to ask her if he could get money out of the hole in the wall showing her his card. Luckly she was a decent sort ,She bought him a biscuit and a drink and called the police. When they arrived he was very suprised that they called him by his name!!After we were reunited i said to him what some people will do for a ride in a police car. I hold the australian police in high regard.Apart from being very tired he did not seem too worried about his adventure.He had another adventure in Venice which i have already posted. Now i somehow think our travelling days are over ,pity.

    Love to all Cynron :eek:
  12. Stimpfig

    Stimpfig Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    I don't know if you can call this a Dementia Adventure but here I go. For the last few months, my mother has been speaking to her image in the mirrors of my wardrobe. Strangely, this has turned out to be quite therapeutic and in fact, I can actually leave her alone for a while (while I work) as she is so engrossed in talking to her friend/sister/neighbour and even grandpa (who probably died in the 1930s).

    So recently, when my husband and I went along with mum to a shopping mall, we took the lift which has mirrors on the walls. Mum was definitely pleased to see her friend and expressed real surprise that she had come too, and started to laugh and talk as if meeting a long lost friend. The other users kind of stared. :eek:

    Then, later, we went into the restaurant on the top floor and suddenly, mum's face fell - her friend had disappeared and let her down ! She wouldn't drink or eat anything. Anyway, I am now good at spinning yarns :cool: and told her that her friend had some important errand to run and would join us on our way back.

    Sue Stimpfig

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