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Walking Why?

usedup

Registered User
Aug 5, 2014
21
West Berkshire
My demented wife goes walking towards the village on a country lane. When in this mode she is unstoppable short of physical violence. I have to follow in the car till she changes her mind because if I walked with her we might get so far from base that it would be hard to walk back. (I am 83.) If I knew why she did this I might be able to alter it. Any suggestions? My best so far is FRUSTRATION at her reduced competence plus childhood feelings of better times. She says she is off to catch a bus or train to "Go Home". There are more interesting and safer local walks but it is always the lane. It is the route by which we came to this retirement village in 2014 and therefore the most obvious escape route. She was always a great walker. I endure this because physical interference might be dangerous and because her traffic sense is extremely cautious. If there was a way of stopping her without bad effects (e.g.increased frustration) I would love to hear it. Providing her with moments of happiness is highly important, but this is stretching it somewhat.
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
Is she doing this walk at the same time of day every day? Only ask because my mum would do the same, at a certain point in the day she would pack a plastic bag and off she would go the same route out of the village every time, interestingly this is the route she used to drive into the village when she visited me in better days. Just before she started to pack her little plastic bag I would tell her that we were going out for tea at local garden centre, we would stay out for about an hour. By the time we got home, she had forgotten to take her stroll. Of course this did not work every day, but for me it was a welcome break because I was worried that one day she would just wander that little bit further and I would not be able to find her.
 

usedup

Registered User
Aug 5, 2014
21
West Berkshire
Thank You. Tin

Is she doing this walk at the same time of day every day? Only ask because my mum would do the same, at a certain point in the day she would pack a plastic bag and off she would go the same route out of the village every time, interestingly this is the route she used to drive into the village when she visited me in better days. Just before she started to pack her little plastic bag I would tell her that we were going out for tea at local garden centre, we would stay out for about an hour. By the time we got home, she had forgotten to take her stroll. Of course this did not work every day, but for me it was a welcome break because I was worried that one day she would just wander that little bit further and I would not be able to find her.
Thanks for that, Tin. For my wife it is not a plastic bag but small hand-held things full of items she might need for a short stay. It does not happen every day but in phases. I will try your distraction idea, for the garden centre might work. Sadly, once she is in trip mode I don't seem to exist for her. Maybe I should emphasise the destination more. For us it is usually between 9.00 and 11.00. Thanks again
 

Casbow

Registered User
Sep 3, 2013
1,004
Colchester
Usedup.

Thanks for that, Tin. For my wife it is not a plastic bag but small hand-held things full of items she might need for a short stay. It does not happen every day but in phases. I will try your distraction idea, for the garden centre might work. Sadly, once she is in trip mode I don't seem to exist for her. Maybe I should emphasise the destination more. For us it is usually between 9.00 and 11.00. Thanks again
My husband paces for hours everyday. When ask what he's doing he says that he has important work to do. The others are waiting for him. They get angry if he messes up.There is lots more but I really believe that all this kind of activity is down to the kind of life they have lived. The more active they were when well ,then the more they are on the go after diagnosis of dementia. I feel this is the case for your OH but really feel for you if it is about going out to somewhere specific. I have to keep doors locked and gates locked to keep my husband safe as he was always walking out. I really feel for you. Is there no way you can keep the doors locked , and a safer enviroment.xxx

.
 

pamann

Registered User
Oct 28, 2013
2,635
Kent
My husband paces all day and most of the night, he used to work 7 days a week, never stopping for lunch, he is in a CH, but hardly has time to stop for meals, as he has to keep going, doing nothing, he thinks he has been working, sleeps only 2 or 3hrs in the chair. Don't know how he can keep on going. Out of 42 residents, at least 15 are wandering about all day, they all seem to keep to the same area, only sitting down for a few minuets.
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,605
Ireland
William used to walk around the nursing home for hours too. It really frustrated him terribly when he lost his mobility and couldn't walk anymore.
Usedup, did your wife, in her younger years, have a habit of going to the shops in the mornings? As long as my husband was at home, I used to take him to the shops every morning, as that had been his habit. Usually, he'd settle quite well when we came home.
 

usedup

Registered User
Aug 5, 2014
21
West Berkshire
Thanks Casbow

My husband paces for hours everyday. When ask what he's doing he says that he has important work to do. The others are waiting for him. They get angry if he messes up.There is lots more but I really believe that all this kind of activity is down to the kind of life they have lived. The more active they were when well ,then the more they are on the go after diagnosis of dementia. I feel this is the case for your OH but really feel for you if it is about going out to somewhere specific. I have to keep doors locked and gates locked to keep my husband safe as he was always walking out. I really feel for you. Is there no way you can keep the doors locked , and a safer enviroment.xxx

.
Sadly, there is no possibility of locking. We live in a retirement village which has free access and does not offer security. Comments on TP make me think that maybe I can get more help from Main Reception where she often goes to ask "Will you phone my father and ask him to come for me?" Today I hid in the library to watch the encounter and saw which way she turned when going back out of the front door. Today, thank heaven, she turned RIGHT towards our apartment instead of LEFT down the drive and out of the gate. Maybe I can brief the receptionists with a choice of suitable replies. We are quite well-known by now!
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
When she asks for her father to come for her could you get reception to work along with her and say they will just call him for her and then phone you and you come along as her father - it is often better to enter the world of the person rather than trying to bring them back to our 'normal'. By the time you have walked her home she may be distracted enough to return to your world. Just a thought
 

AlsoConfused

Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
1,953
Might it work to take your wife for a walk of your choosing before she 's ready to start her accustomed hike?

I remember reading a book titled Amazing Grace ; the husband took his wife for a 5 mile walk each day until she could no longer manage that distance. He said she never, ever wandered at any stage in her dementia, presumably having walked off all her restlessness under controlled conditions.

If this approach works for you and your wife, the "accompanying" could be done by younger and fitter companions - which would give you some spare time to do what you want.