1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

My aunt wants to go out by herself - do we leave her to it?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by sinkhole, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    270
    My 87 year old aunt is currently living at my 90 year old mother's house and she is caring for her from day to day. I get over there once or twice a week to help with shopping etc. but I live a long way away and am the only relation they now have, so it's not ideal from my POV.

    Aunt had un-diagnosed late stage dementia and refuses to cooperate when it comes to anything to do with her health. My mother is housebound and has her own health issues, but is of a similar mindset and does her best to look after her sister, but refuses any outside help (apart from me). Aunt has been incontinent for some time (usually during the night according to my mum) but they seemed to have been coping.

    I know it's hardly an ideal situation and is probably building up to a crisis of some sort. I have been introducing the idea of bringing in some kind of help to get them used to the idea, but it is like walking through treacle.

    Anyway, aunt is mobile and likes to take herself off the local Co-Op every now and then where she wanders around for an hour and comes back with a few random items and I don't see too much harm in that as she can still cope with travelling to familiar places and still just about manages to complete a transaction.

    However, last week aunt apparently announced to mum that she was going to take herself off the hospital so they could sort out her 'waterworks' for her. It seems this has become an obsession and has told mum she'd going there tomorrow. There's no question of my mum being able to go with her and even if I drove over there I know she would refuse to let me go with her, so we're in a bit of a dilemma as I'm not sure what might happen.

    She may be able to navigate herself there OK and it's only about 2 miles away so it's unlikely she'll get completely lost, plus I have a GPS tracker we put in her coat and contact information for me and my mum.

    I suppose I'm more worried about what might happen when she gets to the hospital and what they might decide to do. Could they keep her there or would they just contact us and leave it to us to sort out?

    My mum has tried to stop her going out on her own before, but she gets quite angry and that scares my mum, so that's not really going to be an option I don't think.

    Any advice on what's best to do in this case?
     
  2. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    167
    Ouch, that's a sticky one, isn't it? How about telling your aunt that doctors in hospitals don't even look at patients unless a) it's a life-and-death emergency or b) they have a referral from the GP? That way, you could, perhaps, persuade her to go to the GP instead of the hospital. Would that be a compromise solution that might work?
     
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    I think she needs to see the continence nurse at your local Trust. I would suggest that you talk to your Aunt and tell her that you will phone (just look up continence service under your local Trust) them and book her an appointment because she won't be able to see anyone immediately. When you phone them tell them how urgent it is!
    Of course it is an obsession - to be incontinent is horrible - it means wet bed, wet underwear, cold, sore genitals and being smelly - none of us would like it.
    She will get free pads through the NHS but I would suggest that she needs someone with her to help her through the process.

    In answer to your question, I would try my very best to persuade her not to go because she is unlikely to find someone to help her and it sounds highly risky to me.
     
  4. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    270
    #4 sinkhole, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
    Unfortunately those suggestions are unlikely to get us anywhere in the short term. She isn't yet registered with my mum's local GP and even if she was, she would not cooperate in going. I tried getting her to go to her local GP when she was living in her own house and she point blank refused.

    She's at the stage where she is very uncooperative and any suggestion is met with a "no" unless it's something she has decided she wants. She seems to got in into her mind that she's having some sort of operation tomorrow that's all been arranged and she won't be persuaded otherwise.

    I can't see any way out of this if she'd determined to go to the hospital tomorrow, other than keep an eye on her GPS tracker and phoning the hospital reception to make them aware.

    SS have closed her case because she wouldn't co-operate or let them do an assessment.

    I have spoken to the local Alzheimer's Society office before Christmas to try and get someone to visit my mum and offer her support, but haven't heard back yet. This is the sort of thing she needs help dealing with and I'm not a lot of use to her right now.

    I know there's no easy answer to all of this, but sharing the problem helps a bit!
     
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    I would prioritise getting her registered tomorrow as I can't imagine these days what would happen to her if she is not and there is a problem!

    People with dementia often say 'no' - it is part of the very complex illness but sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands to protect our loved ones (both in your case)

    This might help you, a lot of people find it very useful
    Do have a look at it
    http://www.ocagingservicescollaborat...y-Impaired.pdf

    A call to Age UK would help your Mum - both for herself and your aunt - your mum really should have a carers assessment as the strain for her must be huge. Age uk will send someone to help with forms like Attendance Allowance and will give your mum advice on her own situation too
    It is a freephone number 0800 169 2081. and they are open after office hours too so you can get hold of them easily even if you are working

    Good luck
     
  6. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,289
    SW London
    It's very difficult. My FIL used to insist on going out on his own when he didn't really know the area and was reckless in crossing roads - and we have quite a busy one nearby. I could not prevent him from going out - besides being as stubborn as they come he was still physically very fit and apt to fly into furious rages if thwarted in any way, as well as over the tiniest things. I just had to let him go and pray that he'd be Ok, and not cause an accident.

    It sounds as if your aunt is similar, and if nothing else - if she does make it to the hospital - it may get her on to the authorities' radar. Will she know her address if asked, and if maybe not, would it be an idea to slip a piece of paper with address/phone no. into her bag or a pocket? My FIl carried on wandering after he went into his CH - they were happy to allow it thank heavens since he would have been like a caged wild animal otherwise - and the piece of paper ensured that someone would be able to take him or point him home, if he got lost.
     
  7. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    270
    Yes, she is exactly the same. I have seen her rages when my mum tries to get her to do something she doesn't want to and it is quite scary even though she's fairly small and frail.

    I'm going to get her registered at the local GP ASAP and try and speak to her original LA tomorrow as they may be able to contact the LA where she is now so they have some knowledge of her.

    I've printed several cards with our contact information on so someone would find one of those if they look in her pockets. She may give my mum's address if asked, but then she could give her own address instead which could lead to more problems if someone tries to take her back there (although I would think that would only happen if the police are involved, which has happened before when she's taken trips to London and got completely lost).

    I think I'll just have to man the phones/PC tomorrow and monitor the situation as it develops!
     
  8. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    270
    Well she managed to get herself to the hospital this morning. I phoned reception to let them know to expect her and they were very good and put her in a taxi back to my mother's house where she is hopefully now having a cup of tea and something to eat (apparently she stopped eating/drinking yesterday because of the 'operation').

    The one good thing that came from today is that I think my mother has finally realised she can't cope and has agreed to me sorting out some help for them both.

    I wouldn't be surprised if aunt heads back to the hospital again tomorrow, but we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
     
  9. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,289
    SW London
    So glad there were no disasters, and that some good may have come of it.
     
  10. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,731
    You must be very relieved, well done! She is certainly very focussed and determined.
    Hope you can now get some help in place to ease your burden, it must be very stressful
     
  11. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,592
    Yorkshire
    My Mum wouldn't stay in the house and as I lived 120mls away, there was little I could do to stop her. She had a couple of falls and got brought back home, but (as far as I know) didn't get into any real bother. She used to turn up at her day centre on days she wasnt due there and take the bus all over town to goodness knows where :D


    But life isnt without risk and I decided to let her enjoy her freedom, and people in general turned out to be pretty kind.

    The alternative is a locked facility like a care home.
     
  12. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    270
    The GPS tracker has helped us a lot when she's gone wandering in the past, but my mum doesn't always remember to put it on her or keep it charged, so it's not something I can rely on 100%.

    I feel I do as much as I can to keep my aunt safe so I try not to worry too much if she decides to leave the house. It's my mother who's getting really stressed and worried, so it's her I feel more sorry for at the moment.

    I really hope they will accept outside help, as I fear the next step would be putting aunt into a home and neither of them would want that to happen.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.