New to Nursing Home- advice please re roaming gentleman

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Niloc, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Niloc

    Niloc Registered User

    Dec 18, 2013
    Mum has declined over the last few months and has literally just gone into a nursing home for Alzheimer's.

    My Dad is devastated to admit after 61 years of marriage he can no longer look after her, due to her decline and his poor health. He has reluctantly agreed that this time Mum will not be coming home and he is actually in deep shock and grief.

    I go with him every day to see her , spending on average 8 hrs a day with her. My difficulty is that unfortunately there is a fellow man resident who roams, and goes into people's rooms looking for food and clothes. We have been told he is harmless but to my Dads horror on arriving in mums room the man has been found sitting on the floor alongside my Mums bed. Whilst on the two occasions that we gave seen this Mum has been asleep, my Dad understandably has freaked. He is inconsolable . the staff comforted him and tried to reassure him but he now has added concerns about leaving her each day.

    Realistically I know that people will roam, but apparently other relatives have also had issues , he even takes food from people's rooms. What can I do. The staff are aware but I am not sure how or what I can do.

    Going in each morning is getting more anxious for Dad and to be honest me, as I don't know what we are going to find.

    Advice please if there is any.

  2. starryuk

    starryuk Registered User

    Nov 8, 2012
    Oh dear, your poor dad.

    My mum was a wanderer and if tired would put herself to bed in any room she came across. She would also pick up things if she saw them. It wasn't that she went looking for stuff; she would just notice something that looked interesting and pick it up. Other people did the same though and she lost as many things as she acquired.

    It happens and means nothing, but of course it is upsetting for your dad.

    I wonder if it would help if you phoned the NH before you arrived to give the staff a chance to make sure the man was not in your mum's room.

    If your mum is not always in bed, perhaps you could arrive when she is likely to be 'up and around' the end of a meal for instance.

    It is very early days and hopefully things will settle down.
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    I agree with Starryuk, let the care home management how upsetting it is for your Dad and ring ahead so the staff can make sure everything is fine.

    It is early days and as time goes by hopefully your Dad will be more accepting of life in a care home, it is very scary and upsetting to start with. It can never be as it is at home.

    My experience was of my husband living with 8 ' lost souls ' but now we know them better, we know their families and we know something of their life before dementia and they are all lovely characters. Some wander, some shout and some pick up things but all of them are now part of my husband's extended family and as such are part of my family too and we accept their behaviour. My husband is now not mobile but when he first entered his nursing home he was a man on a mission, he marched around day and night but he did have a 1:1 carer so was never a problem to anyone.

    Hopefully time will help your Dad to feel better and your Mum settled in well.
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I know it will be terribly hard for your poor dad to accept, but some people with dementia do wander into other people's rooms and help themselves to anything they fancy. They can't begin to remember that they shouldn't do it. The only way it can realistically be stopped is for all residents to be made to vacate their rooms all day, and for the rooms to be locked. But this is not at all nice in what is supposed to be someone's home. I have heard of it, but I think it is very unusual and not at all conducive to a homely atmosphere. And people with dementia do wander at night, too, and forget which is their own room. (As indeed many will do during the day, even if they have been there a long time.).

    If you are new to care homes I know these aspects can be terribly difficult to get used to. But it is entirely possible that it bothers your dad a lot more than it bothers your mother.

    If you can, please do try to reassure your dad that it is not at all the same thing as (for example) finding a strange person in your hotel room. In that case the person will almost certainly have dodgy motives. In the care home, it is likely to be entirely harmless and, although we may wish it wouldn't happen, nothing to worry about.
  5. Moonflower

    Moonflower Registered User

    Mar 28, 2012
    My mother is in a care home, and one resident was wandering into mums room - mum found this very distressing, particularly when the lady woke her at night. The lady was harmless, but mum was frightened and more confused after a broken night's sleep.

    The staff put an alarm mat at the wandering lady's door so that they got warning that she was out and about and could distract her. Didn't work every time but did help
  6. nipper

    nipper Registered User

    Dec 27, 2012
    My wife has only been in a nursing home for 6 months now and not being so familiar with what goes on I found it very disconcerting when people go into other rooms. In the early days I use to check things to make sure nothing had not gone missing etc. Over time you do get use to the "strange" behaviour of others and often see people in the wrong room and I know that my wife goes into other rooms. As another respondent said you do get to know the other residents and their families which does help but I understand that it does take a while to accept. Things do still go missing but they do normally turn up - the carers seem to know which rooms to look in!! Most or all may have dementia but everyone is different in what they do. I have been told that you cannot deprive people of their liberty to wander anywhere so long as they are safe and cause no harm to others. Hope that you soon get used to the situation and that the care is good anyway.
  7. I have seen residents use stair gates across their own bedroom doors to try to keep others out. As long as they know how to operate them it is acceptable.
  8. katie1

    katie1 Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    Kendal Cumbria
    My Dad has just gone in to a Nursing Home, he has a type of vascular dementia--he is however a bit of a wanderer and still getting accustomed to his new surroundings, he has only been there a couple of weeks after being in hospital for 8 weeks also being a wanderer there day and night. However the other night at the nursing home he became very agitated and confused when walking around the corridor at night and came across one of these stair gate barriers, he climbed over it into another mans room the other man promptly pushed him then thumped him hard in his back!! Staff managed to get there and diffuse the situation and my Dad has now been re allocated another room in a quieter part of the landing!
    He would not have known how to open one of these gates (if in fact it did open)
    He didn't have any awareness of his own or anyone else's safety
    The other man was probably frightened at his intrusion
    The Nursing home rang to tell us about it and to reassure us that Dad was unhurt just shocked, they checked him during the night and in the morning for bruising, and have rung back to ask if we want to take the matter further, but I think they did everything they could do in the circumstances. I am going to see the manager next week about another matter and will also ask about staffing/supervision at night and if this now needs to be reviewed!
  9. WIFE

    WIFE Registered User

    May 23, 2014
    My husband wandered, relocated his belongings, other people's belongings, slept wherever, whenever he felt the need but from the beginning of his residence in the NH I was indoctrinated that everything he did, in his "world" was normal so I refused to allow myself to be upset by his, and other residents strange behaviour. It all just became part of everyday life at the NH and sometimes on odd occasions now I miss the
    strange behaviour and life seems very tidy and calm. Would quite like to find his radio "drowned" in someone else's biscuit tin full of a lot of people's cold coffee again! Or hear that he had spent the night beside the bed of a dying resident holding her hand.
    Give it time and hopefully things will settle down with help from the Staff. WIFE
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    When mum first went into a carehome I found it very daunting to go and visit her and, if Im honest, was a bit scared of the way other residents behaved. I now know them all by name and know some of their little foibles - the lady who is always busy and likes to "tidy up", the one who has a liking for glasses and usually has a collection, the man who most of the time can only repeat syllables but can sometimes come out with a word that sums up the whole situation (and everyone else is thinking!) They do indeed become like family.

    I expect that your dad is still coming to terms with the situation.
  11. Babymare01

    Babymare01 Registered User

    Apr 22, 2015
    Hello there
    I have to say I love going into see mum - not just to see my mum but the other residents. Yes at the beginning their actions and behaviour seemed very daunting and at times quite scarey but now? I actually have got very fond of them and I actually find going into to see mum relaxing in some way( even on bad days :) ). I chat to them, help them at meal times or if they need anything. Yes they go into each others rooms(my mum does) but its not malicious it is just the dementia. I love how when you say hello to Ang her stern angry face lights up in the most beautiful smile, Derek who cant speak properly but will "sing" along to songs and tells you how much he likes his food with a lovely smile. LOL I had chocolate sponge thrown at me other day because I hadnt heard Ivy talk to me - just pure frusatration. Yes it can see daunting at beginning but in time Im sure you will come to terms with their actions and grow fond of them to - hang in there and a big hug xx

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