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Hi, my dad is an 81 year old clever man with PTSD and dementia. He has been in the memory care facility now for two weeks. This week is #3. My parents moved with me 3 years ago to Phoenix. I care for them both with my husband. I also have a 15yo daughter. Dad started to get aggressive with my mom and would often wander away from the home and get lost. This is why I had to place him somewhere. He is also a disabled vet 💯 %P&T. I’m self pay for this beautiful facility because I didn’t want him to go to the places here that I felt weren’t up to my standards. The community sits off by itself separated by an open field. It’s beautiful one story ranch homes separated by severity of diagnosis. Dad is in a locked home that has codes in the doors to get in and out. The windows are big and have a screen that pulls back. Last week dad got out, pulled the window off track and pushed the screen out and fell. They took him to the hospital, he was examined, and released back to the home. The maintenance fixed the window so it can’t open. Last night he did it again. He went into the activity room, pull the window open and left! He had a pillow case with clothes, 3 depends in there socks, everything he needed to survival, except food. It was rolled military style. They came looking for him and noticed he was gone. They immediately started looking for him and saw him walking across the field. They caught him and cohersed him to get in the car and brought him back. I went there, spoke to him. He says he wants to leave and come home. I told him he has to get better but he doesn’t understand. Tomorrow Monday, I’m going to speak with administration and possibly look for a more secure facility. I’m paying almost 5k a month for this lavish place, but this shouldn’t be happening. I have a sister who is overseas who tries to help and two disconnected brothers who don’t do anything. It’s a lot to deal with. Open for any suggestions you may have. Also I work full time as well as my husband. He is helpful also, but I’m emotionally run down.

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Based on the fact that you really like this facility and you are admittedly picky when it comes to where you will place dad I support giving this facility the chance to fix the problem, figure it out. If they don't immediately come up with a plan to make sure dad and the others are safe, then you have a problem but at the moment it sounds to me like your dad is harder to contain than any patient they have had in the past and is helping them too by showing them the weak links in their security. The first time they secured his window and it probably never occurred to them he might try another window because no one has before but this is their business right? I would hope they put an alarm bracelet or anklet on him soon or wire all the doors and windows to set off an alarm if someone goes through them without the code. I don't know what the safety rules are for that area or MC facilities in that area but they might not be able to legally prevent all the windows from opening and it sounds like Dad will just keep trying new ones.

His desire to escape and "go home" whatever than means to him at the time probably wont change with a new facility, it isn't this facility he's running from it's anywhere, he was wandering from your house too so I doubt reasoning with him is going to do any good. Does Mom visit him there, I mean spend enough time with him for him to think of it more as home and less like "a home"? Have you set up his space with familiar furniture or belongings so it's more familiar and maybe feels more like home? It's worth a try. I do think it takes some longer than others to settle in to a move like this and 3 weeks isn't a long adjustment time based on feedback I'v heard and seen. Sorry...
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CaregiverCyn1 Jul 7, 2019
Thanks so much. Yes, I totally moved his whole bedroom to stage it like he is at home. He did say “why are my thinks here”. His memory come and goes, in and out. The maintenance secured the windows so no more exiting. I truly appreciate your input.
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The sad reality may be that any facility that is a secure as a jail is going to look like one too. I would have a sit down with the director of care/nursing, administrator etc to see what they propose as a solution to this problem. In my mind the most obvious, simple solution would be to disable the windows from opening more than a few inches.
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CaregiverCyn1, if this is happening at night, chances are your Dad also has "sundowning".

After 5pm, my Dad use to get into his time machine and go back to the 1940's, talking about needing to get to a meeting, that he missed the bus as he wanted to go to the diner for dinner, etc.

I am thinking that is also happening to your Dad, since he had his clothes rolled military style.

I agree with cwillie, time for the facility to limit how far their windows will open. You'd think that would have been a given.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Is he actually locked in? What if there were a fire, earthquake or something happened that he would HAVE to get out?

It sounds like he needs a more secure facility that monitors him more closely, keeps him busy with different activities, SOCIALIZATION opportunities, etc.

$5,000.00 a month is on the low end of memory care facilities in my area. Poshness is not an indicator of the care that will be received or the safety of the facility or the suitability for our loved ones.

And are you, personally, paying dad's fee?
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worriedinCali Jul 7, 2019
I agree with this. Also window restrictors can be overridden. He needs to be in a more secure facility.
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My friend's husband was known as Houdini, no matter what, he escaped. He was thrown out of 3 places because of his escapes. Finally, in the 4th place, he was medicated and this kept him under control and he did not escape again. He has passed and it was the best thing for my friend, she was so stressed and unhappy that she could not live her life either, she too passed a year after him, she was just worn out, he lived too long as so many do today.
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earlybird Jul 7, 2019
It Is up to God how long one lives. I wonder how long you will live? Just because someone is old and has dementia does not mean they can't contribute to society. I am constantly learning from my wise and wonderful mother. I hope my mother who is 96 years of age lives many years to come.
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Hi CaregiverCyn1-I'm not sure what part of Phoenix you live in but I moved my 95 year old mom into memory care in Chandler and it's been great. She was wandering from her AL facility in Mesa and I wasted time trying to fix the situation before finally touring several facilities and moving her. They keep her busy all day long with activities. She no longer requires Ensure because she eats all 3 meals! The only window escape is into a garden atrium that's in the center of the facility so even if she tried what your dad does, she'd be outside on the patio, visible to all. I hadn't looked at facilities in several years and was amazed at the number of facilities now available and how nice they were. Good luck! I hope it all works out.
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I would talk to director of nursing first. See what h/she says. They are now aware their facility not secure. Your dad won't be alone in his attempts. And now that they are aware of multiple breaches, well they need to do something. And that they are aware of issue and choose to do nothing as a first response, for example, someone will be lost and then they will be sued.

Document your experiences. And their responses. Also check out other facilities and what their secure facility means. I kinda admire your dad for his determination.
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mymomisold Jul 7, 2019
Segoline-your comment about his determination made me smile. As much as my mother's wandering worried and freaked me out, part of me was sickly proud of my 95 year old blind mom using a walker & walking as far as 2 miles away from her AL apt. She's one strong and strong willed old lady! :-) Fortunately we got her moved before anything serious happened and I don't worry about her doing that anymore.
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My mother is in a totally secure memory care facility that looks NOTHING like a jail....nothing. You need to get your dad out of a place he can escape from and place him somewhere he CANNOT escape from. There are plenty of MC facilities around these days that you are likely to find several that meet your approval. Explain to the administrator the problem you're having and let her show you how secure the place is and how your dad will not be able to pry open windows and escape. This is CRUCIAL to any good MC facility. I pay $6400 per month in Colorado and there are 24 residents and 12 caregivers. The residents are kept busy from breakfast thru dinnertime, and tended to continuously. This is how a MC facility should function and if it doesn't, it's not the right place for dad.
Best of luck
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CaregiverCyn1 Jul 7, 2019
Thanks!
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"Locked facility", but when you think about it, don't we all keep our front and back doors locked all day long? I know, we can still get out, and I wouldn't be surprised if facilities have a way to gather up all the residents if need be if there was an emergency. My Dad's facility had routine fire drills, and Staff would make a sweep to be sure everyone was outside or in the court yard. Afterwards, it was like herding cats.

The windows in Dad's apartment would rise up only a few inches, thus he wouldn't get out if so desired, nor could anyone come in from the outside. And all the rooms had ceiling sprinklers in case of a real fire.
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Thanks you everybody for your response. I’ve never reached out before to speak to anyone about this other than my sister and a few friends. I truly appreciate your responses so much.
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