Escape Artist


Registered User
Apr 26, 2008
My mum recently went into a nursing home. She is still mobile and completely convinced there is nothing wrong with her (can't figure out why she is in a place full of old folk - her words!) When mum was at home she was a wanderer. Up and out all day at the shops and then goodness knows where. For all the things she can't do she does have an iron cast will to get out of the nursing home (to go to the shops) and to give her her dues, she hasn't done too badly. She couldn't mircrowave the meals I bought her but she has figured out how to get down in the lift and out the fire exits. The nursing home have been very good. She is in the most secure wing of the home (no lift) but is more lucid than the residents there, so during the day she is taken to another wing to keep her busy and stimulated. She is taken out for walks and they have introduced taking her to the shops once a week. However as soon as she is back on her own wing she is back at the doors trying to figure out the keypad combination.
I am terrified she won't settle. I know its early days but she doesn't belong in hospital. She doesn't present any management problems to the staff. Has anyone else had this problem and if so what was the solution?

many thanks :confused:


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
This behaviour seems very typical for dementia sufferers. A couple of men in the Hospital ward where Ken stayed were always prowling around, testing doors and windows in an attempt to get out. One patient even tried to scale a 7ft wall and almost succeded before the staff spotted him!

In Ken's care home one or two ladies are constantly at the front door (with coats and shoes on) trying to get out. The staff keep their eye on them and try to distract their attention, all to no avail. It seems to be part of obsessive behaviour and part of the resident's routine each day to be constantly trying to get out of the home.

I think that the 'home' which residents have fixed firmly in their minds represents the normality of life which has been lost long ago for the dementia sufferer. I wonder if they feel that if they can get back to where they once lived, all their confusion, loss of independance etc would go away.

The staff at Ken's home are very experienced, kind and understanding of this. As long as staff know what your mum's capabilities for getting out are, then they should have robust procedures in place to prevent her succeding.

I do hope that your mum settles and finds a little more peace of mind as time goes by.



Registered User
Apr 15, 2007
Dear Ann welcome to TP,

It's good that the home takes your mum to another wing during the day the stimulation is what she needs. The shopping trip is also a great idea.

I have no experience with the escaping but have seen residents where mum is trying their luck on the key pad. It would be difficult for your mum especially being more lucid than the others. The shops must be more interesting then your microwave meals (LOL).

I hope that your mum settles real soon.
Take Care, Love Taffy.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Hello Ann,
My mother was a bit of a Houdini herself for a while. The home sounds like it has procedures in place to prevent escapes and that's good.

The solution is time. Eventually she'll stop. I'm sorry I haven't anything more concrete to offer.