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    • scaredofdebt
    • By scaredofdebt 8th May 18, 10:25 AM
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    scaredofdebt
    Alzheimer's and "Wandering"
    • #1
    • 8th May 18, 10:25 AM
    Alzheimer's and "Wandering" 8th May 18 at 10:25 AM
    Just wanting some advice, sorry if this is a long-winded post.

    My motherin law (92 years old) was diagnised with Alzheimer's 4-5 years ago and we moved in with her to look after her, she has stated on several occasions that she doesn't want to go into a home. The move was precipitated after she had a fall and broke her hip, she was left on the bathroom floor for 3 days so we knew we had to move in, having previously lived 20 miles away.

    This arrangement has worked fairly well until recently when she has started "wandering". We live in a very quiet village and she will go for a walk when the weather is good, usually during the afternoon. She walks down the village and back again, stopping to talk to anyone who she encounters. Despite her Alzheimer's and age, she is pretty fit and can walk about half a mile without any issues.

    A couple of the neighbours have raised concerns about allowing a vulnerable woman out on her own.

    1. Should we stop her leaving the house? I expect not, the roads are quiet and she still has some road sense. She enjoys walking.

    2. Should we never leave her alone? This isn't really practical for us.

    I work full time and my wife part-time, so mum is not often left alone for any period of time, but yesterday we went to the coast and so were away for about 6 hours.

    We are going to be getting in touch with social services for some advice and also getting a tracking device so we can keep an eye on where she is going.

    We have booked a holiday abroad and will be getting carers in twice a day to keep an eye on her, mainly to make sure she is eating and drinking, do you think we should cancel the holiday?

    Thanks for any help.
    Make 2018 in 2018 Challenge - Total to date 2,108
Page 1
    • Out, Vile Jelly
    • By Out, Vile Jelly 8th May 18, 10:38 AM
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    Out, Vile Jelly
    • #2
    • 8th May 18, 10:38 AM
    • #2
    • 8th May 18, 10:38 AM
    "Wandering" in the context of dementia to me means leaving the house at 2 am and confusedly pacing the streets in a nightie. A walk to the village and back sounds focused and purposeful, if she is still well enough to remember the way and road rules. If this has been routine in her life, it might be more confusing to her to stop it. Maybe ask the concerned neighbours to give you a call if they think she looks distressed?

    Bluntly though, dementia patients get worse not better, and you do need to prepare yourself for the reality of her needing 24 hour care at some point. You could consider respite care in a nearby home during your holiday, to see how she gets on?
    They are an EYESORES!!!!
    • scaredofdebt
    • By scaredofdebt 8th May 18, 10:47 AM
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    scaredofdebt
    • #3
    • 8th May 18, 10:47 AM
    • #3
    • 8th May 18, 10:47 AM
    Yes I put quotes around the word wandering as I don't consider it like that, she is simply going for a slow walk down the village and back, stopping to look at things and chat to people. She can seem confused when she is chatting as obviously her memory is poor. It's some of the neighbours who seem to have the problem, but they don't know her or how the condition affects her.

    Some neighbours do look out for her and are helpful, others will try to bring her back to the house which isn't always helpful as she sometimes doesn't want to come straight back home. She has lived in the village for 40 odds years so she knows a lot of people, it's relative newcomers who are less helpful.

    We are aware that the condition deteriorates over time and she is assessed by social services/doctors on a regular basis and we know the time will come when she needs 24/7 care and we will then need to put her into a home, but I feel she is not ready for that yet.

    She will go downhill quickly in a home as that is not an environment she will enjoy, so we want to delay that as long as we can so long as it is not causing problems.

    Thanks.
    Make 2018 in 2018 Challenge - Total to date 2,108
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 8th May 18, 10:57 AM
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    bugslet
    • #4
    • 8th May 18, 10:57 AM
    • #4
    • 8th May 18, 10:57 AM
    I'd go on holiday. You made the choice to do so before these queries were raised so you were of the opinion that she is fine at the moment. And it certainly does sound like decision to go for a walk, rahter than wandering aimlessly.

    Looking after people with Alzheimers is very wearing, I made myself ill looking after Mr Bugs, so please look after yourselves as well as her.

    Instead of carers with residential care be acceptable, could you sell it as a break rather than care to her?
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 8th May 18, 10:57 AM
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    • #5
    • 8th May 18, 10:57 AM
    • #5
    • 8th May 18, 10:57 AM
    And to address the going away part.

    Have you got a care home near you that does respite care? I don't know the financial situation but if this was possible then it might be a good way to ease her into that environment.

    You would need to choose carefully. We did this with my MIL and she had a lovely time. They spoilt her and she loved it.
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 8th May 18, 11:26 AM
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    • #6
    • 8th May 18, 11:26 AM
    • #6
    • 8th May 18, 11:26 AM
    If your living there and not paying rent (I'm not sure by your first post so not making assumptions but you put moved in) could your wife's hours be changed so that there's always one of you in. You could also put door alarms (like a shop door sound) so you could go with her/ walk behind her if you are concerned. You might also get day support for when you go away on day trips.

    Also possibly second respite for your break as I know when nan was here we had a family friend pop in a few times a day but respite might have helped in hindsight. Then she can have a mini break too
    roll on end of April 2019 *17 done* = *23 to go*
    • ciderboy2009
    • By ciderboy2009 8th May 18, 12:11 PM
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    • #7
    • 8th May 18, 12:11 PM
    • #7
    • 8th May 18, 12:11 PM
    My father was diagnosed with Alzheimers about 7 years ago.

    We used to think he was safe going to the post box or local shops on his own until one day when he didn't come back.

    We ended up having to call the Police who were excellent (even putting up the helicopter to look for him) and eventually found him about 3 miles away from home (we were told later that it's well known for Alzheimer sufferers to just keep heading in one direction).

    After that incident mum made a point of putting a switched on mobile phone in his pocket if he went out so we could at least track him using the 'find your phone' option.

    He's now in a wheelchair so this is no longer a problem.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 8th May 18, 12:16 PM
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    • #8
    • 8th May 18, 12:16 PM
    • #8
    • 8th May 18, 12:16 PM
    There are a variety of "trackers" available these days, including tiny luggage ones... you could look into what's available and find one that you can attach to her, so you at least know where she is.

    Think about the likelihood of her taking the item with her though. e.g. shoes that track are no good if she's likely to wear her slippers .... and if you use a watch then keep making sure she puts it on ... so is there something she ALWAYS has, say a handbag, where you can secretly get it into there....
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 8th May 18, 1:06 PM
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    • #9
    • 8th May 18, 1:06 PM
    • #9
    • 8th May 18, 1:06 PM
    my mum survived for quite a long time with twice daily carers plus an arrangement to take her to an old peoples club most week days.

    The problem with carers is that they sometimes don't stay as long as they should.
    • marlot
    • By marlot 8th May 18, 1:07 PM
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    marlot
    I was about to suggest a tracker of some sort. I think some of them can be set to raise an alarm if the person goes beyond a pre-set boundary.
    • onlyroz
    • By onlyroz 8th May 18, 1:18 PM
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    onlyroz
    There's a lady with Alzheimers who wanders around our village - the locals seem to keep an eye on her and when she gets lost (every few months) people send out search parties looking for her. I think she does wear a tracker, and has a son locally who looks in on her. The problems arise when the tracker batteries run down. She has been known to walk miles and miles - last time she went missing she was found in the next town over.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 8th May 18, 1:19 PM
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    Mojisola
    We have booked a holiday abroad and will be getting carers in twice a day to keep an eye on her, mainly to make sure she is eating and drinking, do you think we should cancel the holiday?
    Originally posted by scaredofdebt
    I don't think you should cancel - respite breaks are essential for carers - but two visits a day might not be enough.

    If you haven't got neighbours who would pop in or phone her each morning and evening to make sure she is okay, four visits might be better. You don't want to be worrying while you're on holiday that she's had another fall and it will be hours before anyone finds her.

    It's also making an emergency plan with someone fairly close by who could handle things if something happens while you are away.

    From experience - the more eventualities you've covered, the more relaxed you will be while you're away.
    • ifstar
    • By ifstar 8th May 18, 1:42 PM
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    ifstar
    Definitely buy a GPS tracking device as when folk with Alzheimer's go missing then it's very difficult for the police to find them and they often rely on a member of the public phoning in to report seeing someone in a strange place or not dressed appropriately. There was one chap up here who walked for over 20 miles. Keep it charged up, or have a spare battery or spare unit, particularly if she starts going through the night.
    • scaredofdebt
    • By scaredofdebt 8th May 18, 1:46 PM
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    scaredofdebt
    Thanks for the comments everyone, good to know people don't think we should be putting her into a home just yet.

    Generally speaking mum isn't left on her own at all, my wife's job is mainly home based so it's only during the school run when she is on her own and then only for an hour or so. It's just if we decide to go out for the day or the holiday when she will be alone for a period of time.

    We will get the tracker device, this looks quite good and will attach to the "alarm" that she wears on her wrist:

    http://www.spottergps.uk/gps-tracker-dementia

    We'll get carers in more often whilst we are away - mum never gets out of bed before midday and she never goes outside if it is cold, anything below about 20 degrees so if we have carers around midday for breakfast, 4pm for tea and then 8pm to make sure she is in the house that should cover it.

    We can always alert the carers if she is out and about by checking the app/tracker and neighbours will keep an eye out and call round from time to time.
    Make 2018 in 2018 Challenge - Total to date 2,108
    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 8th May 18, 2:05 PM
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    buildersdaughter
    Sounds like you are looking after her well.
    Who is she seeing for medical care? Ask them if they can refer you to a specialist nurse, and look on the Alzheimer's website for useful information.

    Of course you don't want to upset people who are trying to be helpful, as you will need their help should your MiL be out and fall or become acutely confused. It can be very difficult for strangers' to know what to do. I wonder what your village is like generally. I would try to spread the word that MiL enjoys her walks, which help her remain active and engaged. You can thank them for taking an interest and maybe say that she enjoys chatting to the people she meets out and about. Then ask that they leave her to enjoy her usual route.
    I think the mobile phone is a good idea, with your number programmed in, and a piece of paper saying the above - ask them to phone if she is 'off piste' or has any other problems.

    Although I think a tracker can be useful, be aware of it limitations (and ditto mobiles) in our village there's no signal!
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 8th May 18, 3:08 PM
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    unholyangel
    I was going to say about trackers (come in ranges of options, mobile phones, bracelets, necklaces etc) but plenty have already beaten me to it Try and think what would suit best - does she always use the same jacket/bag? Remember you may not be there when she goes out so something she might leave behind won't be of much use.

    Also, with regards to the neighbours...have you tried speaking to them? Telling them how it affects your mum and what the best way to handle her is? Perhaps also give them your phone number or email so they can contact you if they have any concerns?

    And not to alarm you as everyone is different but I've seen a few people with alzheimers deteriorate very quickly. As I said, not trying to alarm, just to advise that its better to plan for how bad she could get (ie wandering) than waiting for signs shes worsening.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 8th May 18, 4:16 PM
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    Mojisola
    My motherin law (92 years old) was diagnised with Alzheimer's 4-5 years ago and we moved in with her to look after her.
    Originally posted by scaredofdebt
    Thanks for the comments everyone, good to know people don't think we should be putting her into a home just yet.
    Originally posted by scaredofdebt
    She sounds a long way from needing residential care now but you do need to accept that it may be needed in the future.

    As you gave up your home to look after her, check out what your position would be if she needed care and was assessed as a self funder because she owns property.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 8th May 18, 4:41 PM
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    margaretclare
    Yes I put quotes around the word wandering as I don't consider it like that, she is simply going for a slow walk down the village and back, stopping to look at things and chat to people. She can seem confused when she is chatting as obviously her memory is poor. It's some of the neighbours who seem to have the problem, but they don't know her or how the condition affects her.

    Some neighbours do look out for her and are helpful, others will try to bring her back to the house which isn't always helpful as she sometimes doesn't want to come straight back home. She has lived in the village for 40 odds years so she knows a lot of people, it's relative newcomers who are less helpful.

    We are aware that the condition deteriorates over time and she is assessed by social services/doctors on a regular basis and we know the time will come when she needs 24/7 care and we will then need to put her into a home, but I feel she is not ready for that yet.

    She will go downhill quickly in a home as that is not an environment she will enjoy, so we want to delay that as long as we can so long as it is not causing problems.


    Thanks.
    Originally posted by scaredofdebt
    The way Alzheimers or any dementia works is that the recent memories go first. So, as she's lived in the same area for 40 years, knows her way around etc, she can cope with it. And she sounds to be physically fit and able to walk, which is good for her, good for anyone!

    Yes, in a home it will be all strange to her and she won't be able to learn her way around it.

    Talk of 'putting' her in a home is not a very nice way to describe what may happen. She still has a will of her own and shouldn't be forced to do anything. Reminiscent of 'The Woman in White' - horrible.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • MysteryMe
    • By MysteryMe 8th May 18, 5:17 PM
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    MysteryMe
    The OP and his wife are very clearly loving, responsible and respectful carers.

    Other than indulging in some cheap guilt tripping what relevance does The Woman in White have to anything. Has the OP suggested they will be dragging their screaming MIL down the street to the nearest lunatic asylum?
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 8th May 18, 5:53 PM
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    margaretclare
    I just think talking of 'putting' someone somewhere is not very nice. It's the idiom. You 'put' things into places - things, not people.
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
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