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Wandering, looking back.

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,251
Looking back, just before your PWD started to wander, did their behaviour start to change?
Were they asking questions? " Where's mother/father?"
Making statements? "It's time I went home/work."
Go out for walks, at normal times. Only for those times to get more abnormal.
Or did it just happen out of the blue?
My partner is getting concerned regarding her mother starting to wander, although I don't pick up on any signs yet. MiL shows no interest in even going out into the garden, in this nice weather, but is quite happy to go to the car, for day-centre.

Thanks
Bod
 

JJwren

Registered User
Mar 30, 2018
42
Hi Bod, Hubby’s wandering started at day one, or at least day one when we knew it was dementia. He seems to have gone from absent minded to full blown confused in a few short weeks. He wandered in the hospital and needed constant supervision and in the care home where he went for assessment.

However, since returning home he has calmed down somewhat but that could be because we only have a small house. He does occasionally ask to go home which is a challenge as he means back to Scotland. He gets upset and distractions don’t work, he’s registered blind but at these times he thinks he can drive. I daren’t leave the keys around anywhere.

I don’t know is this helps as I am still learning after 10 weeks coping alone.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,512
N Ireland
I read an interesting theory on wandering recently and it, possibly, ties in with asking for parents/home. Apparently a PWD is like everyone in that there is a reason for what is said/done, even if that reason is not immediately clear.
The theory is that asking for home/parents is often a sign of anxiety/confusion/fear and so security in the form of 'home' or a 'parent' is sought. Once the person sets out to seek this security they may soon forget what they are looking for but the physiological changes in body/mind associated with fear/anxiety remain. The natural thing to do when afraid of something is to get away from it so they keep going in a forward direction, which to others looks like aimless wandering.
I suppose the thing to do is to take them home by a different route/means as to just turn them around and walk straight back would probably seem to them that they are just walking back to whatever danger they were trying to escape.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,103
Scotland
My husbands wandering began with forgetting where he was and where he was going. Then forgetting how to get home. At first I could contact him on his mobile phone and tell him what to do but eventually he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer the phone. Then we used a tracker. Very successful until he started jumping on buses, one after the other with us chasing our tails.

Without doubt this was the worst part of the dementia journey and I thought it would never end. It has but only because he is now so lame and further down the AZ road.
 

Elle3

Registered User
Jun 30, 2016
643
For my dad his wandering/going out was just a continuation of his routine before Dementia set in. However, when the Dementia got worse his wandering always had a purpose depending on what popped into his head or maybe what he saw on the TV, for example to get food/lunch, to get money, to pay a bill, to visit his mum and dad, to sign in with the army etc, the problem was he would do this numerous times during the day or night. He would then get upset and angry when places where closed or he couldn't find where he wanted to go, he had no understanding of time and darkness just meant it would get light soon. My dad always returned home though eventually, unless he was questioned by someone and then as my dad couldn't communicate well/find the words, they would assume he was lost and confused and sometimes they would call the Police or me.
 

Tin

Registered User
May 18, 2014
4,825
UK
I read an interesting theory on wandering recently and it, possibly, ties in with asking for parents/home. Apparently a PWD is like everyone in that there is a reason for what is said/done, even if that reason is not immediately clear.
The theory is that asking for home/parents is often a sign of anxiety/confusion/fear and so security in the form of 'home' or a 'parent' is sought. Once the person sets out to seek this security they may soon forget what they are looking for but the physiological changes in body/mind associated with fear/anxiety remain. The natural thing to do when afraid of something is to get away from it so they keep going in a forward direction, which to others looks like aimless wandering.
I suppose the thing to do is to take them home by a different route/means as to just turn them around and walk straight back would probably seem to them that they are just walking back to whatever danger they were trying to escape.
This is my experience too. There seemed to be this deep rooted need to go and the run up to it was mum talking about how she had been here long enough or that how much she wanted to go in the garden and if she did make it out of the garden gates, her walk would be in one direction and she would keep on going. Interesting that the direction she took is the only way I drive my car out of the village.

Mum's wandering around the garden and house did become a problem, because she could do it all day long and earlier this year I spoke to gp and memory clinic dr and we all agreed that the anti depressants she was taking were increasing this restlessness. so they were stopped and things have improved. Mum has always been ultra sensitive to medication.

I am sure she still has this need to go, because there are times when I hear her hovering around the locked front door and she always tries to open it.
 

Norfolk Cherry

Registered User
Feb 17, 2018
289
My mum has vascular dementia, but I remember that long before the obvious symptoms, my dad (no longer with us) saying that she kept falling off her bike? She fell in the shower once and fell on a countryside walk. The other thing I remember clearly as being distinctly odd, was when regretably, both myself and my dad managed to forget her birthday. It was dreadful. But, the thing is, she hadn't said anything to dad? You know, like "what are we doing for my birthday?" I just wonder if these were symptoms two or three years before I started thinking she was confused about money and directions?
 
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karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,512
N Ireland
My mum has vascular dementia, but I remember that long before the obvious symptoms, my dad (no longer with us) saying that she kept falling off her bike? She fell in the shower once and fell on a countryside walk. The other thing I remember clearly as being distinctly odd, was when regretfully, both myself and my dad managed to forget her birthday. It was dreadful. But, the thing is, she hadn't said anything to dad? You know, like "what are we doing for my birthday?" I just wonder if these were symptoms two or three years before I started thinking she was confused about money and directions?
Quite often I read that people look back and realise that symptoms started a few years before things got obvious and a diagnosis was made - it was certainly the case with my wife.
 

Norfolk Cherry

Registered User
Feb 17, 2018
289
Quite often I read that people look back and realise that symptoms started a few years before things got obvious and a diagnosis was made - it was certainly the case with my wife.
Thanks Pete. I'm sorry about your wife. My dad died very suddenly on a caravanning trip in Berlin, in 2010, and I think my mum suffered post traumatic shock and this escalated the dementia? I have so many regrets that I didn't realise things weren't right earlier, it might have made a difference if I'd got her counselling or anti depressants.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,251
Thanks for the replies, keep em coming!
Our situation is this, MiL has been fairly stable for the last few years, but from the New Year there has been a slow decline, which is now speeding up.
So we are trying to put in place, whilst we can,anything to make life calmer.
Having had the experience of my father and dementia, we missed the wandering stage till it was far too late, 2 WPC's and the force helicopter, and half the village out looking, very quickly got him into Care!
We are now thinking of getting her used to locked doors,and outside coats and shoes, being out of sight.

Bod
 

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