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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!

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Thanks. He went on Friday. The bus picked him up and brought him home at 3. It was such a nice day that I felt guilty having free time to myself! But I will have to get over the guilty feeling. I know it's good for him to have some outside stimulation and activities to do. When he is at home he does nothing but sit in front of the TV, and sleep. So it was good!
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I have read here in which the posters would struggle so hard to get their parent up from bed, dress up and get ready for day care...even up to 90 minutes of continual struggle. The parent finally gets to day care. When the poster goes to pick the parent up, the staff says that she enjoyed herself so much with the activities. I agree, it's part of their dementia dealing with memory loss. They enjoy the Now but forget the past events.
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You can also kind of go and watch if you are uncertain. There is a problem with that, though, and it's that your presence can be a distraction to him. My mom's memory center said that we're welcome to visit but to just keep in-mind that being there can cause a disturbance in the routine.

If you think about it, this is our chance between the caregiver and the person we're caring for to have a little break from each other. In fact, to make it totally separate, Mom is now using the senior ride service so there is no separation issue when I drop her off as I'm no longer dropping her off. She's terrified of missing her ride, so I do wait by the door with her for it and watch for it with her, but that's still not too bad for us.
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Thank you Geo123. He said it was just OK. So I was glad to read what you had to say. He did not complain so that was a good sign, I think. I am glad you wrote that to me. It is good to know and I can always check in with the caregivers. Thank you so much!
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My mother's memory center told me that they have people that just love coming and enjoy all the activities but who immediately forget they enjoyed their day and insist they're not returning. So, if he says he doesn't like it, you might want to ask him to try it for awhile and do a review with the staff after some period.

My mother only has mild memory loss but immediately forgot most of her session. The director of the center and I were glad to see Mom and another female patient become fast friends. But when I picked Mom up to drive her home, she didn't remember her new friend nor any of the activities. She just remembered it was all pretty "silly" and pointless. Seriously, I saw it with my own eyes how she lit-up at making a new friend but she didn't remember any part of it afterwards. So, it's just something to keep in-mind.
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It is 3 months now since the Easter incident. Bill has recovered pretty well. He was in Rehab for three weeks and is now grateful to be home. He became stable on his feet right away and then seemed to get his mind back the next day. They kept him for a few days and then he had a bleeding ulcer and was sent to a local hospital for tests and treatment. After three days he returned to Rehab. He remained there for three weeks total including the hospital trip. Now he is home and doing as well as could be expected. His mind seems to be going backwards more quickly now. I see him losing little skills every day. But he is in his 9th year since I noticed the change in him. I have two safety bracelets for him now plus a home security system. I have installed locks on all my closets so I can lock dangerous substances away. Today he is starting at a local day care system for one day a week. I am praying that he likes the change. It will have breakfast and exercise in the early morning and then another activity, lunch, another group activity and finally a snack before he comes home on the bus. I am hoping he will really like the activities. Instead of sitting at home infront of the TV all day and nodding off all day.
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Katiekat, your post did sound a little like 20:20 hindsight. Once you know you've got a wanderer, then you know; but not everything is predictable and not everyone with dementia goes walkabout. Wamnanealz, hope he gets better and you get over the shock - the stuff of nightmares, poor both of you.
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katiekat, you sound just like my granddaughter who also accused me of being a bad caregiver. I was sitting outside of the door where we always come out. He left by a different exit. No, I never should have left him. It is just that Mass gives him such pleasure. I didn;t want to deny him. He had never done anything of this nature before. I was very sorry it happened, but that is hindsight. I did not realize he had the mentality of a two year old until this happened. He had been covering very well! And I was not out having a good time. You are accusatory and I resent it.
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My question is this. If you know they have Alzheimer's and are prone to wander, why do you leave them unattended? Why not take him out of the church with you or sit outside the door and wait for him? Would any of you leave a child alone in a church or on a bench while you shop? Same thing! I don't mean to be accusatory but you have to keep in mind their childlike mentality.
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Flyer, I understand. I have some major struggles I'm working through as well, and I doubt they'll ever be resolved. We have to pick and choose our battles, ones we can at least survive if not win.
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GardenArtist, I wish I could order things for my parents to make their life easier and safer. But it always turns into a major struggle and Mom always wins, thus the item is taken out of the house.
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Flyer, I ordered an alert system through Guardian Alarm, a local company which also provides house security systems. After contacting several different providers, I felt they were the most honest and frank about the limitations of the systems. I also wanted a local company which had a presence in the community, and a reputation to uphold in that same community.

Thus far their monitoring has been excellent. The cost is $40/month. I know there are other services that are cheaper, but I wasn't impressed with them when I called them.

If you could afford it, you could get an alert system for your father as a gift, but the question would be whether he would wear it. My father didn't wear his consistently for the first week or so, but now he does. It's well worth the cost.
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I really like the Medic Alert group, I've been on their registry for over 30 years now because I am highly allergic to a certain medication. It just puts my mind at ease.

I wish my parents would sign up for some type of medic alert. With Dad out in the yard and if he should fall and Mom doesn't realize it, and someone drives by and sees Dad. At least if 911 is called the EMT would know who he is, if Dad can't talk for whatever reason..... but my parents don't want to spend the money.... [sigh]
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I anow have the GPS device, now that the dilemma already happened. I didn't get until after the problem happened. I also have Medic Alert (national registry) on a bracelet that he cannot take off. We are prepared now. My GPS came FREE from the local Police Dept. I contacted the County Govt. first to find out about it. Gee the Govt. is good for something. Well County anyway!
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I reported 16 or 17 of them, so I hope the messages and poster disappear. Who would want to do business with a company that advertises by spamming support groups? Gives me a lot of confidence in their professionalism... NOT!
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Thank you.
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Reported as spam - all 11 of the same posts.
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Don't you love people who spam the group? and even resurrect old threads to do it? Be gone, spammer.
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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.
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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.
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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:
amazon/Belle-Hop-Travel-Alarm-Flashlight/dp/B000SKZM0A/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398367185&sr=8-2&keywords=travel+hotel+alarm

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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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That was scary. How did you ever find him?
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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.
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