I am wondering how others have dealt with this. She likes to go same route and see places she may remember which I can understand, but I can't spend all my time driving around.

OldArkie - At one time, my mom needed things to keep her occupied.

While she wasn't looking:

I pulled out half of the clothes in her closet and asked her to help hang them on the hangers and put back in the closet.

I unmatched all her socks in the sock drawer, and asked her to match them and put away.

I bought a big load of artificial flowers and 4 containers with floral foams. She would arrange the flowers by sticking them into the foams. Later, I'd pull them all out, so she could start all over again.

All these kept her busy for a couple of hours at a time. She did these every day for many months until she didn't care anymore about them. Perhaps your wife enjoys doing something similar?

My mom liked ice cream. I'd give her a small Haagen-dazs cup, and a TINY wooden stick. It usually took her about 30 minutes to finish it, and she enjoyed every bit of it. Thirty worry-free minutes allowed me to do other things. Precious!

There are also fidget blankets for dementia patients with lots of things to fasten/unfasten, buckle/unbuckle, zip/unzip, etc, to keep them occupied.

Hope some of these ideas help you.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to polarbear

The Area Agency on Aging was able to make me aware of a state/county run Adult Day Care my mom qualified for with no cost in my area. Before their recommendation, I was not aware this ADC facility existed in spite of having looked into facilities online and in the regional phone book. If you haven't contacted the AAA, I would encourage you to do so. There may be programs available that would help. I think my mom loved the van/bus rides to and from our home as much or more than the time at the ADC. After she was confined to a wheelchair the transportation certainly made it much easier for both of us.
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Reply to TNtechie

Once you realize that restlessness is part of dementia and not fixable, you'll stop trying to fix her need to go for a ride constantly bc she'll still want to keep going for rides, in the endless loop known as dementia! Diversion is the key to all of this.....occupying your wife's mind with something to distract her off the thought of a car ride for the moment by telling her "later" or whatever, then again when she asks, and so on. Otherwise, you'll be her cab driver 24/7 and still she'll be begging you to take her for a ride 24/7!

Try to have some sort of routine you can stick to which includes a car ride daily if possible but doesn't chain you down to unreasonable demands from a broken mind. Your wellbeing is important here too my friend. There is only SO much you can do before you need to consider memory care AL for your wife, imo.

Bestof luck to you
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to lealonnie1
OldArkie May 22, 2023
I keep hearing of "Memory Care Facilities" I don't know what they are or what they do! I'm pretty sure we have never had one in our area!
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This happened with my husband, who had Lewy Body Dementia. The car was a real lifesaver, but, of course, I couldn't drive around 24 hours a day. I started to recruit friends and relatives. Just to take him out for lunch or a cup of coffee. Some of them would drive around for a while, then go through a drive-thru and bring the lunch back to the house. One friend took him to a local park to feed the ducks and watch people enjoying kayaks and canoes. Others were brave enough to take him into restaurants, usually just fast food. He never cared much for fast food until after his diagnosis, and then we were all about McDonald's and Dairy Queen. We could NOT drive past a DQ without stopping. I loved the long drives, because they would tire him out and he'd be begging for a long nap when we got home. Anyways, I managed to find several very dependable friends of his who were happy to be asked. The first few times, we all went together (to give them a feel for the challenges therein), and after that they were on their own. Each friend had something unique to offer. One friend would take him to bookstores; another would take him to the mall; another took him to an art museum and even to a concert!
It was wonderful for him to have his own life. He'd come home and tell me all about it...or what he remembered of it.
Even after he went into a memory care facility, these same friends (some of whom I hadn't really known previously because they were old college pals) would visit him a few times a month, even when he was no longer certain that he knew them.
I hope this helps. I'm sorry to hear that there isn't an Adult Care near you. We never found one either, but I've heard great things about them.
Be strong. There will be, as you know, days when you think you cannot go on, but know that you will never be sorry for the time and love that you give her.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to LoveConquersAll
ascharged May 20, 2023
How wonderful that you had friends and family to call on. We are new to area so have no such help. It woils truly be a blessing.
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Hi OldArkie- it may be possible for a doctor to come up with a medication that will give her, and you, a greater degree of peace, but because each case of dementia is unique to the patient, each case may respond a little differently to medications.

Just consider too, if she has been DIAGNOSED with AD, NOTHING is “slightly…..”.

Her illness is constantly progressive, and relentless. I know you know that, but sometimes I had to remind myself during the course of my LOs’ illnesses, that although what they did that was annoying and puzzling to me, was also sometimes something over which they had no control, and also continuously emerging then changing.

If she’ll tolerate a “companion”, that’s certainly worth a try, hopefully for you both.
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Reply to AnnReid
OldArkie May 13, 2023
Beautifully put Ann and very compassionate. I have to remember just what you said, that every individual is unique, and every caregiver has their own approach to the treatment and care. She is much like a child and I can't tell when she is being honest or faking her problems, but t doesn't matter. I refuse to be strict or stern with her and will continue to treat her with as much respect as I can while helping her navigate her way through this miserable disease. I am trying to discover a diversion that doesn't require a lot of ability to enjoy.
Like already suggested below, why don't you take her to an Adult Daycare Center? You can bring her there up to 5 days per week and up to 8 hours per day. They feed their folks breakfast, lunch and a snack and they have all kinds of activities to keep everyone busy and entertained.
They do a wonderful job, and if you can't afford it there are programs available to assist you with the cost.
That would give you plenty of free time to do what you enjoy and give you a much needed break from caring for your wife. And it would occupy your restless wife for hours. It's a win win for you both.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
OldArkie May 13, 2023
Thanks for the idea. There are none in my town and I would have to drive 50 miles to find one.
You say she won’t do group activities and that was how my mother was at first…however if the activity is geared toward dementia patients it seems to really do the trick. And any activity with music makes it sooo much better. You should try an Adult Day Center for dementia and stay with her the first few times. Once she has a buddy you will be able to get some alone time. It’s important for your health.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to LINDA165

I would ask her Neurologist if there is something to help with the restlessness. Its like an anxiety.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to JoAnn29
OldArkie May 13, 2023
I could give her depression pills but I am a little concerned it might worsen her remaining cognizance!
Good Morning,

Sounds like your wife needs a little more to do, fold facecloths, take off the tips of fresh string beans, dust, anything to keep her occupied.

A home care physical therapist will get rid of some of that energy. An UpWalker Lite is fabulous. I bought one for Mom and it gives her freedom.

Local morning respite programs offer exercise, lunch, etc. You can go for 1/2 a day too. They are wonderful.

A girl's gotta get out...keep it simple. Hope I helped!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Ireland
OldArkie May 21, 2023
Ireland, thanks for the tips. I'll check out the upwalker light. Our local availability for seniors is very limited. We have a seniorcenter but she would never be able to participate in their activities. Too immobile. Walks short distance with a walker!

You said that your wife constantly wants to go for a car ride. "She likes to go same route and see places she may remember which I can understand, but I can't spend all my time driving around."

For a short-term solution, could you hire someone to video the drive your wife knows and likes best? Then, you can purchase a child-friendly tablet, with a big screen (I like the ones that come with the big rubbery case around them that make them easy and fun to hold, and if the tablet falls to the floor, its rubbery casing protects the device from damage), and your wife can watch the scenery and the virtual-drive on screen over and over.

1. You drive the exact drive she likes, while the videographer sits in the front seat where your wife normally sits, so the whole video will be like it is seen through her eyes. When the camera catches scenes of you and your voice pointing things out, or commenting at the exact same things you normally do in the drive with her, you are behind the wheel exactly as she has known you to always be, and maybe she will feel she is on her daily adventure
2. Make sure the videographer arranges the video in at least two formats: 
  - the actual drive, with the video stopping when your car arrives back home
  - on a never-ending loop so the video will just keep going over and over until you stop it or she loses interest, so that you won't have to keep going to her device to press "play"

How to hire someone to make this video? I don't know where in Arkansas you are located but when I searched online, a number of your colleges have video production courses. You could approach the instructor, and maybe hire a student who could do it as class project for class credit, or for pay, or both.

I found scores of college video production classes, here is just one:

Alternatively, hire a professional: I don't know this guy but I liked his website:

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to BeenThroughThis

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