Sunday was my wake up call and a huge reality check!

Started by

I left Bill in Mass on Easter Sunday because I was sick and I am allergic to lilies. There were at least 200 lilies in church. It was beautiful. I said, "Are you sure you will be alright" "Yes, I'll be OK." I assumed he would be. He has gone to Mass every Sunday for 78 years. He left the church in the middle of Mass and couldn't find me so he decided to run home on a 4 lane highway. He ran for over a mile until he fell, hit his head and ended up airlifted as a John Doe to a Shock Trauma center two hours away from home. I didn't know where he was and ended up driving for about 4 hours searching for him on Easter Sunday. The moral of the story is to get a Medic Alert Bracelet for Alzheimer's patients. It has a trick catch so they can't get it off. He threw away the first one I got for him. The Medic Alert is on a national registry so he can be found and the next of kin can be called right away. Now he is in the hospital with a concussion and I am sure he has lost about a year of time. He knew me until today. He called me his sister's name and he was hallucinating and grabbing things in the air. Don't let this happen to your loved one. I am so sick that now I am going to have to put him in Rehab and pray he gets well enough to come home!


i asked about this very thing some time ago with few responses.. thank you for bringing it back up! We got Dad one as he no longer knows his address or even our names most of the time. You are right, they are dang hard to remove.. thank goodness. I caught Dad going after his with a nail file one day! Now he has kind of forgotten about it, and I like the piece of mind, as they still go to casinos sometimes, or if he would wander off and we didn't catch him fast enough. Great advice, and best of luck to you. I can only imagine how scared you both were.
That was scary. How did you ever find him?
omg thank God Bill is okay! That is beyond scary. That is horrifying! What is really frightening is that as the disease progresses, things like this can happen at all! Thank you for the bracelet idea. I think I will be getting one for mom before long... just in case.
He was running from church with a church bulletin in his hand. I think he panicked because of the crowd and went to look for me. A policeman saw him running and then fall, so he was there in a jiffy. He came back to the Church to find someone looking for Bill. I was the only one left running all over looking for him. I saw the policeman and had a sinking feeling. The worst part was that they sent him off as a John Doe and then I had to drive into the big city. Something I am crazy afraid to do. I went to the wrong hospital. twice and finally put the address of the shock trauma hospital into my GPS. I got there calmly as I prayed all the way for calmness! Can you believe it? And I was fearful that he might be in a coma, or have a brain bleed so I was definitely scared, but heaven sent calmness prevailed. Praise God!
I found a workbook that has some good tips, so far (am not very far into it). It's called "In Search of the Alzheimer's Wanderer" and is actually good for all wanderers, regardless the reason.

It has tips like taking their pictures, every six months, with smiles/not smiles, favorite clothes, etc... One thing I've found useful is those travel alarms for your hotel room door. It works great as a front door alarm, as my bedroom is close-enough for that to work.

The first time is happens, it's shock. Then, they seem fine and you think it won't happen, again. In my Mom's case, it has not yet happened, again, but people tell me it's usually just a matter of time until incident #2.

One thing to check on is whether your local police department has been trained in this. The officers that brought my wandering mom back seemed to have done this, before, and by their patience and attitude, it seems they must have been through this training.

One thing I've been told and read in some of the books on wandering, is that if the person doesn't see their caregiver, they might forget what's going on, focus on the missing caregiver, panic, and wander off. Also, people can go out their front door and forget where they just came from - they can get lost in their own front yard and start wandering aimlessly to find their home, sometimes ending miles away.
That is exactly what happened. He panicked because he didn't see me. I will get one of those travel alarms. Who makes them and where can I get one? I have to see if he makes it home from the rehab unit. I just hope he recovers a little bit! so I can deal with everything.
I don't remember where I bought mine, but I remember it was $10-$15. I just did a Google search for for following (just cut-and-paste it in) and it brought up a number of them:
travel alarm for hotel room

I do see some in Amazon, some of which help will qualify for the free $35-or-over shipping, if you have other things to buy, too. Here's just one example:

You'll also see the door stop style door alarm. We thought about that style but figured Mom is smart enough to just kick that one aside. With this one that I'm talking about, it takes a little dexterity to work it.
Actually, a little more expensive, but you might need to know this if your house is setup in a way that this door alarm isn't helpful, but here's something else I looked into:

Lowe's is big into home alarms and also personal safety, like for people who fall, as one example. Amazon has a lot, too. There are alarm systems that are now completely wireless that you can install, yourself. You can put the main unit in your bedroom or kitchen or wherever you most want it, and can add some limited number of controls to it. You just have to attach them to the wall, but there's no wiring to do. I can't remember, but I think the base unit was under $100, then each addition was less than $100, if I remember, some much less than that.

Unfortunately, the motion detectors had too wide a range and they wouldn't have worked in the areas I need to put them, but I'll mention that as something to consider. In my case, my upstairs hallway, where Mom's bedroom is at, is next to the front door. If I put a motion sensor there, it would trigger every time she goes back to her room for something. I'm just giving that as one example of the types of issues to consider if you look at some of these things.
One more tip from my experience with my Mom: do less.

What I mean is this: if Mom is tired and wants to sit down, I sit with her, now. I used to tell her to relax and that I'd continue to shop a little and be right back. She has no sense of time, worries about me after a few minutes, and comes to look for me. Then, she's totally lost and frustrated and I come back not to find her where I left her.

So, when she's tired, we both sit down, now. If I have lots of errands, or errands in big stores, I leave her behind with my husband and, if you have someone that visits that would sit with him while you're getting a lot done with shopping and things, that's something to consider, rather than having him along for all of it.
Don't you love people who spam the group? and even resurrect old threads to do it? Be gone, spammer.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support