Registered User
Mar 27, 2008

My mum's 78 was diagnosed with Alzeihmers almost 4 yrs ago. With hindsight it started a few years before this.

She was a very very difficult woman to deal with, if anything the illness has made her more easy-going. She still gets moody and throws tantrums but because of the illness she quickly forgets unlike when she was well.

She makes no sense when you talk to her. Added to the fact she is italian and she will start mixing the languages. (I do speak ital). Washing is not good but she changes clothes at least. I manage to do feet, face hands etc.

She lives alone and is v.independant. Although I have to spend much more time there than before cleaning, cooking etc. She sort of copes with alot of my help because she has lived in the same house for 40yrs and the layout hasn't changed.

The main cause of worry is her wandering. She had a Urinary infection and is better now. But I thought/hoped the wandering was just a phase.

She lives in Central London and always tries to go to same area. So I go with her everyday no matter what I do I cannot persuade her to go somewhere else with her. She just gets v.angry and goes off by herself. Its just such a hassle/stressfull crossing central london on the buses with her.

Also she tries to shoplift, she knows what she is doing.

I typically get there 12-2pm and we will set off and get back about 6pm. As soon as we are back she will want to go again, because she claims we haven't been. Sometimes I think its an excuse to get rid of me (she used to do this to guests over staying their welcome many years ago), so I say my goodbyes and will leave but wait in the street. 20 mins later she will leave to jump on the bus and of course I accompany her.

Today, she did the same thing after we returned. I thought it was ok and only waited 5 mins outside; seeing as she had taken her shoes off and didn't have her bag with her. My mistake; she was changing these items :-(. I left and came back 45 mins later and she had gone - she was found wandering in Leceister Sq. Its happened 6 times in 2/3 months.

I've taken her bus-pass, but she's crafty and jumps on at the back of the bus and so doesn't pay.

If she's not back by dusk I know she is lost, I have an ID Bracelet that works well. A tracker would be a great but all the ones I've seen are not worn and as she changes coat/bags frequently it will be just left at home.

The issue is with Longer day light hours its getting more and more of strain on me.

She is so so lucky and always gets found by really kind people who will wait with her until I turn up. But she has had her bag snatched but she doesn't remember any of this.

I've spoken to SS they offered home-help/carers but no one to go out with her.

I know a great home my relative was there, but they don't accept people with serious wandering. Although their front door has keycode lock mechanism. I guess she could get out via the garden.
I will give the home a go and see if they accept her as she is an accident waiting to happen.

Any ideas would appreciated.


Registered User
Feb 13, 2008
Hi Terry999

My dad also wanders, however we don't live in a busy city or indeed town.
I have bought some of those sew in strips that you put onto your childs clothes for school. I have put only my mobile number on them and indeed have spent a lot of time with a couple of my very close friends sewing them onto every item my dad owns even down to his undergarments. I also was told to look at purchasing a disc which you normally put onto a pets collar. This again I have done but I find that dad does leave it at home on a number of occassions.

Its a very frightening time when a parent or indeed a loved one dissapears and I can only sympathise with you because I get so worn out myself having to go our lookign for him.

I am sure that when others read your thread they will come up trumps with lots of good valuable information for yuou.
Take care


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Terry999

This is not an uncommon problem, but it isn't an easy one to solve.

My wife went through a stage when, during sundowning, she would want to leave the house.

By that stage I was caring for her at home most of the time, so I had no phone calls from anyone saying they had found her; I could try to deal with it myself, as it happened.

We lived on a single track country lane, two miles from the nearest main road where there was a bus service, so she couldn't in any case hop on a bus.

The lane itself posed problems because it was used as a rat run by those on the school run and they would drive by at 70mph with no visibility of what was around the next corner, or coming out of a drive. Dangerous.

Fortunately we had a long-ish drive before the road.

How to solve the problem?

- medication for the sundowning: never helped all that much but it was an excuse to distract her

- diversion: trying to change the topic when she said she wanted to go out; this worked with a range of other diversions "I need to find my gloves" etc

- locking the door: this just made her mad as anything and worsened the situation.

- putting coats on and walking out together: this was the most successful thing I did. By the time we reached the end of the drive I would say "wow, I'm thirsty - shall we go in and get a cup of tea?", and that generally worked

So, diversion therapy.

However, that works only when the person has someone else with them.

I suspect the shoplifting is a form of cry for help. She can't bring herself to put it into words any more. It may be that she thinks that she might be locked up for stealing, and realises that would provide a measure of safety. Or she might just like things and want to have them. She may no longer realise you need to pay for things.

The bus pass is a form of ID and if she gets on the buses anyhow, it is probably best to leave it with her.

Sorry, not being much help here.

Worth trying the home, in consultation with the doctors and SS, I'd have thought.

Good luck!


Registered User
Mar 27, 2008
Ta Brucie

I find diversion therapy works for everything else. But not this. Before we would go out to different places - she really enjoys it; but now she has to go to the same place its as if on auto-pilot.

Shame meds didn't work as we have an appointment coming up with Doctor specialising in dimentia for medicine review. I know each patient is different - so maybe?

Her friends and other family cannot cope with taking her out, as she has pulled a scene with all of them. So no chance of a shift work.

What has truly amazed me is the amount of kind people who have found and spent time with her to make sure she was safe.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
but now she has to go to the same place its as if on auto-pilot.
In the same way that we learn to repeat the same conversation ad infinitum, if going to the same place all the time works, then just do it.

It is her wandering alone that concerns me most.