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A current post reminds me of an incident from my caregiving past. My husband, Coy, attended a nice Adult Day Health Center a few days a week. He would rather stay home, but he was usually a good sport about going.

He wanted to stay home for a special baseball game on tv. I told him no, he needed to go, but I'd tape the game for him. Don't ask anybody for the score and he could watch it when he got home.

He asked at the center if they would put that special game on television. No, there policy was no television.

The day of the game came. As he was leaving I assured him I'd record the game for him. Most participants rode a bus to the center, but he lived out of the area and they sent a van for him.

I was working in my home office when he appeared in my doorway about 1:00. !! How did you get here? I called the van company to come and get me. I'm just in time for the game, so you don't have to tape it.

I called the social worker. Do you know where Coy is? She wasn't sure but she thought he should be in the activities room. Should she check? I told her not to bother checking -- he was home watching television.

Complete and total consternation. Panic. How did he get there? Is he OK? Did I know he was coming home? Could he have gotten in if I hadn't been home? Oh my, oh my goodness!!

I assured her that everything was OK, but she might want to check on how this happened.

I can about imagine the meetings that went on.

The one change that came out of (in addition to alerting the reception area to keep a better eye on unaccompanied exits) was informing the transportation company never to pick up a participant off-schedule without the approval of a staff member, and a staff member accompanying the participant to the van.

Our daughter who works at an ALF tells me this kind of elopement is their worst nightmare. I suspect that center shook over that incident for days.

I continued to send Coy, and continued to recommend that excellent program to others.

Would you have handled it differently?

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One of Mom's more clever moments she pretended to be an employee of the day care. She was helping a woman in a wheelchair to go out to the parking lot to meet her ride!;-) She also developed a friendship with a former engineer. They worked together designing a way to get out. I never did find out the specifics of the plan, but it kept the two of them involved in a project.
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i'm surprised the doors weren't alarmed. The Confident Caregiving course I took was at a facility which also provided day activities. The specific area inside the building was alarmed, as was the exit door.
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I think you handled it very well, even though it must have scared you terribly. I can't imagine how I would have felt. No doubt no security measures will be taken.

However, unless the place is secure, I could easily imagine how a person who is walking, talking and appears fine, could just walk out. Do you know what their policy is on a person who says they want to leave? That's the issue that I encountered with regular AL. They could follow my cousin to the parking lot, encourage her to wait inside, suggest she call me, and delay, but if someone wants to leave, how do they prevent it, unless there is a doctor's order?
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I found myself chuckling at Coy's craftiness. Smart to the end. I didn't know Coy, but I liked him.

I was thinking of how I would have handled the day. I probably would have let Coy stay home to watch the special game that was important to him. But if he had gone and did the great escape, I would have called to let the facility know I had the escapee. I know they would be horrified at what happened. I wouldn't be angry. I'm surprised that more children don't walk off school grounds and more adults don't leave unlocked facilities. Teachers and caregivers depend on predictability of behavior. They know to watch escape risks, but they probably weren't so concerned about Coy. He taught them that they had to be vigilant about everyone. You never can tell if maybe there is a special game that they want to see.
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Adapted from the traditional Welsh girl's name, Glad :)
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Anghorrid?!

Jeanne, I too would have done as you. Overreacting is only going to develop animosity. Coy must have been in early in his disease since he was able to call for his ride to come. This incident probably also had caused a change in policy at the transport company.

My mom was able to get to the phone and called me to come pick her up a couple of times. She once borrowed another participant's cell phone (asking the woman to dial) to call to ask me to come pick her up. Those calls led to change in policy about keeping phones more secured. They also had a few incidents with people escaping. Thank goodness that none of those had tragic endings but did lead to policy changes. In one case the receptionist lost her job which I felt was not at all fair. She was not the only employee that was responsible for mom's safety, all staff were, but only one was fired. This, I believe, was not at all right. But, the end effect was a change in policy and procedures and did not happen again whild my mom attended.

The responsiveness of the facility indicates they will act when there is a problem. In what happened at mom's day care that was how they discovered that their alarm system did not always work, some of the triggers senors worn by participants were not in working order. They then started to regularly testing them.

Jeanne, I would have done as you did.
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I think your mild, good-humoured 'no harm no foul' approach was spot on, Jeanne. An outcome where important lessons are learned, procedures tightened and nobody's dangly bits end up on a plate is the ideal, isn't it?

My good friend's 3 year old daughter decided she was bored with her nursery school's playground offering and set off home. This involved crossing several roads in a very busy North London suburb, and she wasn't apprehended until the third or fourth when a gentleman using the same crossing happened to glance down and was startled to see this fellow pedestrian apparently unaccompanied. Thank goodness the school had a uniform because I don't think she'd have willingly told him where to take her.

The first my friend knew about it was when the school rang her to confess all. She squarely blamed her daughter. Which may sound harsh, but then this child went on to break her thumb on a school skiing trip and talk the resort's doctor into setting the plaster at a right angle to her hand so that she could still hold a ski pole. The family's pet name for her was "Anghorrid."
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The news reports that h.clinton slipped out of her own house today-she's not that old, but ended up at the offices of the fbi.
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Wow, Rainmom, that would have scarred me for life!
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I probably would have done the same thing regarding sending him back but I don't know how calm I would have been on that initial call. When Rainman was about 6 or 8 yrs old hubby and I were watching out the front window for the school bus to drop him home - it was screaming rain out. The bus pulls up - hubby goes to grab an umbrella and as I'm watching the doors open, Rainman gets off and the bus drives away - all before hubby had opened the door to go out. So here's this severly disabled little kid standing next to the street in the pouring rain - and the bus driver had no way of knowing if we were even home! Now - I'm the over protective type as it is...before hubby and Rainman were back in the house I was on the phone to the bus office reaming each and every person I got transferred to - and eventually the main boss. Yes, new procedures were implemented and I got lots of reassuring call backs over the next few weeks but the incident literally scarred me for the rest of Rainmans schools career. If the bus was even five minutes late dropping him off - I was on the phone.
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