Doesn’t understand why he can’t go out...

Jennyb10

New member
Mar 22, 2020
2
My Dad (70) is showing all the sign s of Dementia, he is constantly confused by basic, daily things. He doesn’t understand the Coronavirus and the advice to self isolate (& it’s hard to explain, and then he forgets anyway). My mum has a respiratory condition and at 71 is in the vulnerable category. How can she stop him from going out? He went out when she was in the garden without telling her. He goes to the supermarket and is potentially putting her (& him) at unnecessary risk every time. He hasn’t had a diagnosis and isn’t due a follow-up appt until July.
Any tips or advice, gratefully received.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,087
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to DTP @Jennyb10

You'll find quite a few people having this problem and I don't think there's a solution. Getting your dad to wash his hands when he comes in will help as will washing all the door handles and hard surfaces with a bleach solution. It's an impossible situation and I wish you all the best.
 

nati_va

Registered User
Sep 29, 2013
2
Hi Jenny,
I am from Spain. I hope I can help with some tips and ideas.
How about:

1)-putting a sign on the front door, from the inside, saying something like: "VIRUS ALERT: government says we must all stay home. Cannot go outside". With a warning sign. To help him understand, use simple language, few words, visual aids. That could help him remember he must not go out, when he is about to leave.
2)-does he usually read the newspaper? you could leave a newspaper showing a page where it says that the government is advising people to stay at home because of the virus in a table where he usually has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and go frequently during the day.
3)-can you lock the door from the inside, and ask your mom to keep the keys? Then when he comes asking about the keys, if he cannot understand or seems to get upset, maybe try to redirect him to an activity or something that will make him forget he wanted to leave, e.g. "yes, I will go and look for the keys, but can you please help me with ____ while I look for them?"
4)-you must put safety first.As a last resort, you may have to prevent his or her access to a car. Some methods to do that include:Hiding the car keys, Moving the car out of sight.
5)-buy a system that will notify when the door is opened: there might be available some king of technology or bell that can notify your mom whenever your dad opens the door and is about to leave, so she can go and look after him.

Also, might help trying to think Why is he leaving:
- Does he need something from the supermarket (try to make sure he has everything he could need)?
-Is he bored (try to keep him engaged with an activity he enjoys)?
-Is he feeling lonely (can your mom take a break from what she is doing at that moment, when he wants to leave, and do an activity with him?)
-Does he need to move around? Can he and your mom take regular walks on the garden, or around the block if they leave in a place where there isn´t too much people around? Can they do some exercise together at home?

If he seems to be having difficulties understanding, maybe the best strategy will be to distract him whenever he wants to leave, and engage him in an activity that he enjoys and will keep him busy. I would try to avoid getting angry at him, or escalating the situation if he starts getting upset. If he does not understand, you could just breath, go with the flow, say "yes, you will leave but first please ____" and try to redirect him to something else.

Please let me know if any of these help. I will keep thinking and searching for strategies that other people have taken in this situation.

Best luck and lots of patience,
Natalia
 
Last edited by a moderator:

nati_va

Registered User
Sep 29, 2013
2
ps. what about saying the car is in the shop?
try not to become the "bad guy" saying you don´t allow him to go out, it is a government rule.
 

Grannyal

New member
Nov 3, 2019
2
Hi Jenny,
I am from Spain. I hope I can help with some tips and ideas.
How about:

1)-putting a sign on the front door, from the inside, saying something like: "VIRUS ALERT: government says we must all stay home. Cannot go outside". With a warning sign. To help him understand, use simple language, few words, visual aids. That could help him remember he must not go out, when he is about to leave.
2)-does he usually read the newspaper? you could leave a newspaper showing a page where it says that the government is advising people to stay at home because of the virus in a table where he usually has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and go frequently during the day.
3)-can you lock the door from the inside, and ask your mom to keep the keys? Then when he comes asking about the keys, if he cannot understand or seems to get upset, maybe try to redirect him to an activity or something that will make him forget he wanted to leave, e.g. "yes, I will go and look for the keys, but can you please help me with ____ while I look for them?"
4)-you must put safety first.As a last resort, you may have to prevent his or her access to a car. Some methods to do that include:Hiding the car keys, Moving the car out of sight.
5)-buy a system that will notify when the door is opened: there might be available some king of technology or bell that can notify your mom whenever your dad opens the door and is about to leave, so she can go and look after him.

Also, might help trying to think Why is he leaving:
- Does he need something from the supermarket (try to make sure he has everything he could need)?
-Is he bored (try to keep him engaged with an activity he enjoys)?
-Is he feeling lonely (can your mom take a break from what she is doing at that moment, when he wants to leave, and do an activity with him?)
-Does he need to move around? Can he and your mom take regular walks on the garden, or around the block if they leave in a place where there isn´t too much people around? Can they do some exercise together at home?

If he seems to be having difficulties understanding, maybe the best strategy will be to distract him whenever he wants to leave, and engage him in an activity that he enjoys and will keep him busy. I would try to avoid getting angry at him, or escalating the situation if he starts getting upset. If he does not understand, you could just breath, go with the flow, say "yes, you will leave but first please ____" and try to redirect him to something else.

Please let me know if any of these help. I will keep thinking and searching for strategies that other people have taken in this situation.

Best luck and lots of patience,
Natalia
My sister has Alzheimer’s and lives on her own , we have tried to explain that she shouldn’t go out except to walk her dog. We have tried to get her to let us do her shopping but even when shopping is brought to her she still goes to the local shop . We have told her to phone if she needs anything but she doesn’t . I have various medical problems and have been told by my doctor that I should not go out. Any suggestions would be appreciated
 

Auchendavie

New member
Mar 25, 2020
3
Kirkintilloch
Hi Jenny,
I am from Spain. I hope I can help with some tips and ideas.
How about:

1)-putting a sign on the front door, from the inside, saying something like: "VIRUS ALERT: government says we must all stay home. Cannot go outside". With a warning sign. To help him understand, use simple language, few words, visual aids. That could help him remember he must not go out, when he is about to leave.
2)-does he usually read the newspaper? you could leave a newspaper showing a page where it says that the government is advising people to stay at home because of the virus in a table where he usually has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and go frequently during the day.
3)-can you lock the door from the inside, and ask your mom to keep the keys? Then when he comes asking about the keys, if he cannot understand or seems to get upset, maybe try to redirect him to an activity or something that will make him forget he wanted to leave, e.g. "yes, I will go and look for the keys, but can you please help me with ____ while I look for them?"
4)-you must put safety first.As a last resort, you may have to prevent his or her access to a car. Some methods to do that include:Hiding the car keys, Moving the car out of sight.
5)-buy a system that will notify when the door is opened: there might be available some king of technology or bell that can notify your mom whenever your dad opens the door and is about to leave, so she can go and look after him.

Also, might help trying to think Why is he leaving:
- Does he need something from the supermarket (try to make sure he has everything he could need)?
-Is he bored (try to keep him engaged with an activity he enjoys)?
-Is he feeling lonely (can your mom take a break from what she is doing at that moment, when he wants to leave, and do an activity with him?)
-Does he need to move around? Can he and your mom take regular walks on the garden, or around the block if they leave in a place where there isn´t too much people around? Can they do some exercise together at home?

If he seems to be having difficulties understanding, maybe the best strategy will be to distract him whenever he wants to leave, and engage him in an activity that he enjoys and will keep him busy. I would try to avoid getting angry at him, or escalating the situation if he starts getting upset. If he does not understand, you could just breath, go with the flow, say "yes, you will leave but first please ____" and try to redirect him to something else.

Please let me know if any of these help. I will keep thinking and searching for strategies that other people have taken in this situation.

Best luck and lots of patience,
Natalia
Hi Natalia,

I have just read your advice for Jenny, and can I say it has been extremely helpful for me. I am in the same situation as Jenny, and for finding things very difficult, my FIL will not stay in. I went yesterday and put in every page in his diary “do not go out and that I will do shopping “ but I think for sure the notice will now be going up on the door. This site is so helpful.

Thank you
Theresa
 

Fifilefemme

New member
Mar 26, 2020
3
My sister has Alzheimer’s and lives on her own , we have tried to explain that she shouldn’t go out except to walk her dog. We have tried to get her to let us do her shopping but even when shopping is brought to her she still goes to the local shop . We have told her to phone if she needs anything but she doesn’t . I have various medical problems and have been told by my doctor that I should not go out. Any suggestions would be appreciated
My mum is the same. It's very hard when you have to keep explaining. I like the idea of the sign on the door. My dad looks after my mum and now has to chubb lock the door as she likes to take herself off for a walk. Good luck x
 

Qcvill

New member
Mar 26, 2020
1
I have read this thread with much interest as my parents are in a similar situation. Mum is confused and keeps wandering off despite my dads best efforts to explain the situation to her repeatedly. He is really down himself as he has his own health concerns and at the end of his tether. I am not in a position to be much help other than regular phone calls for support. She is normally fairly independent still so this is really knocking her for six! I like the idea about a sign on the door. It’s comforting to know there are other people who understand. Best wishes to everyone. X
 

Jennyb10

New member
Mar 22, 2020
2
Thank you all for your advice, I will try the sign on the door & worst case, get my mum to lock the door.
 

Jackie P H

New member
Mar 27, 2020
1
I have the same problem with my 89-year-old MiL. I put signs up in her house but she keeps going out every day. I phone to remind her not to go out but it is having no effect. Today she told me that she has made herself a mask so it is ok to go out!
Each time I speak to her she says she won't go out again but today she took a bus and a train to visit a nearby town. :-(
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
8,794
Yorkshire
hello @Jackie P H
a warm welcome to DTP
amazing that your mum has made a mask, but what a worry for you too
I am wondering ... did she really go on a bus and a train, or is she just saying that she did ... apologies if that sounds an odd thought, but some carers here have found that what the person they care for says has happened wasn't what actually occured
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,656
South coast
some carers here have found that what the person they care for says has happened wasn't what actually occured
Thats very true. When mum was in her care home she would regularly tell me that she had gone on a bus and been shopping, but I knew that she hadnt been anywhere - it was an old memory that mum thought had just happened.
In a way, I hope that is what happened. Its difficult to tell and can be a worry, especially at this time.
 

Buskitten

Registered User
Dec 10, 2018
88
Hi everyone my 89 year old mum is going out too; I live 300 miles away and went down and put signs on all the doors, arranged shopping deliveries , befriender phone calls and a care agency visit weekly - plus I phone multiple times a day...... she forgets and goes out on the bus Thursday and Friday because that’s what she’s always done 😢 I can’t think what to do...... I literally have no idea I don’t think there’s an answer 😢😢😢
 

electra2008

New member
May 4, 2019
4
Buskitten has hit the nail on the head “there is no answer” so we have to work out what works best for each of us and our situations.
Nat-va has given us a lot to think about and possibly adapt for some of us.
Trying to explain gets us no where, as your person
“knows that we don't know what we are talking about” 😱
Don't know if this will help any one, read it somewhere
The problem is not the problem
The problem is your attitude about the problem.
I am trying to work with that and if it means that I have to change my attitude to anything or everything to make life less complicated I have to do it.
So if your person needs to go out and it means you have to change things around or distract them whatever works use it.
Writing this has been good for me making me realise I want things to be as they were, but we know thats not going to happen so
I HAVE GOT TO CHANGE MY ATTITUDE 🌸🌺🌸🌺🌸🌺
 

Susan Fch

New member
Mar 28, 2020
1
HI everyone, I'm new to this forum. My 89 year old mother has Alzheimers but goes out on the bus every day. She lives on her own in sheltered accommodation (with no warden). She agrees with me about not going out but on the days when I'm not there she goes out on the bus. I've tried signage all over the place - really thought I'd got through on this one but no; GPS shows she's been out every day since last visit. I currently visit twice a week (3 hour round trip) but my husband has Parkinson's. Anyone else in the same dilemma?
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
10,955
Merseyside
HI everyone, I'm new to this forum. My 89 year old mother has Alzheimers but goes out on the bus every day. She lives on her own in sheltered accommodation (with no warden). She agrees with me about not going out but on the days when I'm not there she goes out on the bus. I've tried signage all over the place - really thought I'd got through on this one but no; GPS shows she's been out every day since last visit. I currently visit twice a week (3 hour round trip) but my husband has Parkinson's. Anyone else in the same dilemma?
Welcome to DTP @Susan Fch
Sadly it seems to be a common problem right now. Please keep posting as you’ll get lots of support here.
 

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
21
My 81 year old mum lives in sheltered accommodation with a full time warden. Despite signs, phone calls etc, she goes out up to 7 times a day.

The 50+ other residents are complaining that she's putting them at risk because of her frequent coming and going and inability to understand/remember about social distancing.

She had a capacity assessment on Friday and the conclusion is that she has lost capacity, so we can use our POA and put her safely in residential care.

Except that most homes have closed their doors, and the two with vacancies insist she be tested for Covid19. Which seems like an impossible ask, even if we were to pay privately for it!

The situation is totally impossible!
 

Buskitten

Registered User
Dec 10, 2018
88
What horrible times for our loved ones - never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we’d all be facing this 😢
 

formymom

New member
Mar 29, 2020
5
63
Florida, USA
It's just helpful to see I'm not the only one with all these problems! There's no way I could put signs on my Mother's doors! She would totally flip out on me. She has already accused me of being 'controlling' and told me that 'she's the Mother and I'm the 'child'. Honestly, I'm not trying to control, only inform and help as you all know. Her anger is part of her frustration and not understanding it all. I think the best advice for me here was that we all just have to cope the best we can with our individual situation and try to stay patient (which isn't always easy). But thank you, thank you, thank you all for being here.
xo
Amy
 

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