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My Dad lives on a locked memory care unit and I like to take him out frequently. He has a girlfriend, also on the memory care unit, that I used to take out with him with her family's permission. That is, until she started refusing to return to the locked unit and then running down the street without minding traffic. I find this a dangerous situation so I don't take her along anymore, not to mention a legal grey area if she got hurt or killed on my watch. But frequently when I stop by to get my Dad (3-4x/wk) they are together and she gets upset when she can't come along. Sometimes I'm successful in coordinating 1) staff members who separate them prior to my visit 2) outings that include her family or 3) reaching my Dad on his cell phone prior to a visit to let him know his girlfriend isn't invited. However inevitably this does not always work out. Staff members have much higher priorities and I totally understand this or they separate them but still she manages to find me; the girlfriend's most devoted caregiver just moved 3000 miles away; my Dad forgets his phone or forgets how to work it. I've explained the situation to my Dad over and over but he still invites her along. So every visit is filled with tension. Last visit she followed me onto the elevator and nearly left the facility with me; I got the assistance of the receptionist but it was a close call. If anything ever happened to her I would be devastated and feel responsible.

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Maybe you could arrange a few times when he and his girlfriend are together at the facility. If possible, include some of the other residents, and make it a fun time for all. Then your dad's girlfriend wouldn't feel so excluded. Even if you just have coffee and donuts, it's nice to just get together. I used to do this when my mom was in the nursing facility - it not only helped her, but it was great for me because there were a lot of people to talk with. I hope this helps a bit. As a caregiver, I found I was always looking for ways to help my mom by being there for her, and even if we visited with coffee and looked at magazines or old pictures, it made it nicer for both of us. Good luck with this - it's not easy, but hopefully others can help make a little difference.
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If your dad enjoys the outings "in the moment," then I'd continue to take him because I'm sure it pleases you as well.

The moment you walk into the facility, you go to a nurse/aid and ask them to get your dad. If he's with her, tell the nurse to make up something -- bathroom trip, change of clothes, whatever -- and bring him to you. If you can't do that, don't take him out that day.

If dad is blase' about your outings, then I'd simply stop taking him. Sometimes, we may find we do certain things because it makes US feel good -- not because it makes any difference to our loved one. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but, at the expense of another person? If dad doesn't really care one way or t'other? Don't take him out.
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sunnygirl, we found with Dad's Alz it was about the moment, not whether he'd remember later. Everything was that he was enjoying that moment in time, listening to music, seeing the trees, a nice breeze.
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There are some great suggestions here. I would like to know if your dad remembers these outside visits. What benefits do you think it brings your father? I'm considering outside excursions with my cousin, who has significant memory issues and from what I'm seeing, I can't justify it.
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Jem813, my mom is in a nursing home. It is not the memory care unit. She has dementia, so does lady she often sits with. They are both in wheelchairs. I offered to have the friend come outside and side with us on my last visit. We did not leave the grounds, and her aide knew where she was. OMG ... you would think that since they are both in wheelchairs, how hard could sitting with them be? Now I now. VERY hard! LOL. Don't plan on taking the friend with you unless you have a helper with you. Or ask when an aide might be available to take a walk and plan your visit accordingly. Taking your Dad out is quite enough for one person! You have a kind heart. Sometimes bring something in for the both of them to do/eat etc. But don't deprive Dad of some outings just because you don't have 4 hands and eyes in the back of your head!
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Thank you for your feedback...I guess I was feeling guilty for not taking her out. I think you're right, jeannegibbs, I've been at the facility when someone's gone missing and it's absolute panic. I think they probably appreciate the heads up more than anything, and if they don't, they probably haven't been working there long enough to know better.
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Isn't dementia absolutely hideous?

Of course Dad isn't going to remember not to invite GF, even if he seemed to understand the explanation each time you provided it. He wouldn't be in the memory unit if his memory weren't impaired. And the GF also can't comprehend the situation, Neither one of them has bad intentions, but they are making your visits miserable. This is so sad.

Yes, staff is busy and overworked. But it is their responsibility to keep their locked unit secure. Alert them to the possibility of GF leaving the unit without authorization. Be firm that you are only taking your dad out. Staff should be grateful for this warning, even if it is an interruption for them. Believe me, if one of the residents in their care leaves the grounds unsupervised they'll have one huge interruption to deal with. You need to adjust your attitude about their role a little. They are not doing you a favor by separating Dad and GF when you come; you are doing them a favor by alerting them to a possible elopement.

They operate under the concept of providing a secure environment for residents. Dad's girl friend is entitled to that protection. It is not your responsibility to provide it. You tell the staff, and they deal with it.
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Maybe instead of taking them out bring them a treat, food, a game to play with them, music? Try to "escape" with dad when possible, if you get busted stay in. Under no circumstances take her out
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I guess you could make your outings with Dad a suprise and not tell him in advance, then he does not get the chance to invite her?
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You leave him in there, quite simply. He has made his choice and you have to let go.
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