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Help with Dad going out on his own (or not)

belgrave

Registered User
Sep 19, 2012
21
0
Hi everyone, hoping you can give us some perspective / experience. Dad has Alzheimer's and has been deteriorating quite rapidly in the last few months. He's very disorientated and increasingly paranoid. He's also getting a little belligerent if disagreed with (which we try not to do). He can't dress himself, soils the bathroom when he uses it (despite his best efforts, bless him), and is increasingly talking nonsense really, as well as having his lucid times too.

Mum cares for him at home without help yet. He doesn't know he has Alzheimer's and is still 'with us' enough to know if we bring in outside help and we don't want to upset him. However I think the time is coming soon enough.

Anyway, our current problem (among many!) is that he keeps insisting he wants to go out for a walk on his own. They live in quite an isolated village but have many friends there - they had moved away a couple of years ago but moved back there a few weeks ago as Dad wanted to be 'home' (they had been renting the house out, so they're back in the house they had lived in for 20 years). He's been out twice since they moved back and each time got lost. The first time was to post a letter 50 yards away and he took a wrong turn, Mum and two other villagers found him 20 minutes later. The second time was yesterday, just 'a walk', and when he returned home half an hour later he was with a complete stranger who had found him in their back garden. After she'd gone Dad was very angry denying he'd been lost or in her garden and saying he had no idea who she was or why she was there.

Today he insisted on going out again. Mum made him take her mobile and repeatedly rang it 20 minutes later but he didn't answer it. Thankfully it turned out he had come across a neighbour two minutes up the road and they had a chat with him and pointed him back home and ensured he got there.

Mum tries to stop him going but he gets angry and tells her he's not stupid or a child and short of physically restraining him which she can't do, she can't stop him. But clearly he can't go out on his own anymore. How on earth can we stop him / handle this? I've suggested a tracker but my Mum and brother think he's 'not ready' (though what has to happen for him to be ready I don't know). Also there's the problem of how we explain what it is to him and whether he takes it if he slips out anyway. Also he's very disorientated and doddery so a tracker's not going to help if he's wandering in the road and a boy racer cuts through the village. Mum suggests going with him but he refuses. She could 'tail' him but that's clearly not a long-term solution.

What can we do?? x
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
14,969
0
England
Hi,

Tailing him might be the only solution at the moment. This may not be a long term problem and at least it gives you time to think of another solution, if there is one, should the wanting to walk continues.

Good luck,


jay
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
4,218
0
Midlands
Any kindly neighbour that might (co-incidentally!) walk with him?

Anyone walk their dog at a regular time that might call for him some days?
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,289
0
SW London
I do sympathise, since I had a very similar problem with my FIL. he had been getting lost at home, but still insisted on going out after he came to live with us and would explode with rage if I tried to dissuade him. I was constantly having kittens in case he got run over, or indeed caused an accident, since he never really looked properly before crossing the road. But oddly he never actually got lost when he was with us.

The care home we finally found for him used to let him out - it was the only one we found that would - we couldn't put him anywhere that would lock him in, since he would have gone mad. And he did get lost from the care home, more than once, but it was in an area with several CHs and the locals were used to it. They used to put a piece of paper in his pocket with his name, address and phone no so someone could collect him if necessary.

The tracker would seem to be a good idea - is it something you could put in the pocket of a coat or jacket he always wears? If not I don't really know what else you can do except hope for the best - I know all too well how hard (if not impossible) it is to keep someone in if they are determined to go out. Sometimes it's a case of someone staying safe, but being utterly miserable because they are shut in, or being relatively free and taking a chance.
Such a worry for you all - the fact is that all too often with this disease there are no easy answers. This stage will very likely pass,as it did with my FIL eventually, but sadly that was only because his dementia had got worse. Sorry, I do wish I had an easy answer for you.
 

simpknt

Registered User
Jan 8, 2013
47
0
Have the same problem

Hello Belgrave,

I have exactly the same problem with my partner, Janet. I bought a GPS Tracker several months ago and it has been invaluable. She wears it on a lanyard round her neck and seems perfectly happy to do so. Attached to the tracker is an ID tag with my telephone number. She refuses to even listen with regard to using the SOS button and the simple mobile 'phone function built in to the device. Her speech has deteriorated so she cannot ask for directions when she gets lost and she can't remember her address or mine. She may just want to use a loo, but because she cannot tell people that, and becomes aggressive, they tend to call the Police. She hates being cooped up at home.

I wish I could tell you that it is just a phase and will pass, but it's been going on for 3 years now and shows no sign of abating. We have a carer four afternoons a week (for 5 hours) and friends take her out, but it's not enough for Janet. To say her behaviour is challenging would be an understatement and I find I am increasingly unable to cope. I have severe pain in my knee and cannot walk much. The only long term answer is a secure care home. I'm trying to organise respite, but it's not easy getting a place in the home of choice.

I do hope you find a way to cope with this problem. I know how tough it can be.

David
 

artyfarty

Registered User
Oct 30, 2009
267
0
London
Hi belgrave

I was just at our local assistance centre this week where they were showing me the various GPS devices available. One they showed me looked like a watch. It can be worn constantly and is charged on the wrist. Could that be an option? If it doesn't look too obvious and he could wear it all the time perhaps he would forget he had it at all.
 

belgrave

Registered User
Sep 19, 2012
21
0
a big thank you

A belated and big thank you to you all for taking the time to reply and give your thoughts and experiences / suggestions. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I'm so sorry you're all going through it too. David, I hope you have good support around you? It must be so tough even without your own mobility problems.

Love to all and thanks so much again, the generosity and love on this forum is quite something. We're in the middle of moving house with two small children so again sorry for the belated thank you x
 

simpknt

Registered User
Jan 8, 2013
47
0
Hello Belgrave,

Thanks for your kind comment. Yes, I have fantastic support, especially from the Mental Health Team and friends. We now have some additional care in place where a carer stays with Janet at home for 2 nights a week. It means I can come home to my flat and have a couple of stress-free nights in addition to 4 afternoons off. It means we can keep Janet out of a CH for a bit longer and will enable me to cope a little better.

The main problem is keeping Janet occupied because she doesn't want to do much except go for long walks!. TV, films, radio, reading and music don't interest her these days. The funny thing was that the other day I had Absolute's Classic Rock station playing in the bathroom. She wanted me to put it on for her in the living room. Her music interests have always been quite arty, with her favourite being Philip Glass. Never pop and definitely not Rock!

Best wishes,

David
 

Harp

Registered User
Sep 19, 2013
4
0
Hi I've just been posting in another feed/forum (not sure what they're called) as Im looking to find out if anyone has used a gps tracker and if it worked ok -do you know the name of the one you're using, is it any good? Im looking at one called PocketFinder GPS
 

quintodam

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
2
0
Hi Harp

I always find the varied views on this interesting. I bought one for my mother called the atc t5 from aimtrakcare.com. Its a watch and can make phone calls aswell. Has sos button and geo fence I think its called, that is if she leaves an area that I have set it sends me a text, invaluable for me caught her a few times like this in mid flight. Yeah overall does work great, gives us all a little less to worry about. Oh yeah cost was about £120.