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I am the caregiver to my 86 year old father who has Alzheimer's. He lives with me in my home. He requires around the clock supervision. Everyday around 11:30 he gets very agitated and says he's going to walk home or hich-hike home.He walks with a cane, but is still very mobile. Several times he has walked to the road with me following him or even has tried to get into cars to drive.I try to distract him by changing the subject or giving him things to do ( such as folding laundry) but it only calms him a little while. He has also started to swing his cane and to poke at people with it when he becomes irritated. His Dr has started him on meds, but so far nothing is working. HELP!

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There are light-beam sensors for doors, as well as tracking devices for people like your dad, but the question is can you do this all alone? Not everyone with AD goes through this behavior, but it's very common and when it happens, it's very difficult for one at home caregiver to keep the person safe.
You may be coming to a point where caring for him at home won't work. That's why memory units are locked - this behavior is part of the disease. I hope you live in an area where there are wonderful memory units that are homey and inviting, with good hands-on care.
Also, of course, ask his doctor to try other medications. However, sometimes nothing short of drugging people with AD will stop this behavior, and you don't want to do that. So, even if you want to hang in with at home care for now, please start looking for options.
Good luck and take care,
Carol
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My aunt starts making plans to go "check her house" every night, and putting her in a "memory unit" is not an option for a number of reasons. For a while distractions worked - saying I'll take you tomorrow, works occasionally. But then she'd forget that, go to her room, and come out with a couple of paper sacks full of stuff she had to take to her house. (Her house is in California, by the way, and we live in Indiana). I put her in respite care once a month, and when she tried it there, they called to ask if they could give her Tylenol PM. "Works like a charm," they told me. I hated to say yes (Benadryl is the PM part) but you know what? When you're exhausted, when they're that old, when you have to take care of yourself -- so I gave permission. Since then I have relied on it more and more. All the literature says it can make hallucinations worse, but my aunt seems the same. Sweet and loving during the day, stubborn and quick to rage at night if she doesn't get her way. Then came the big surprise. I read about coconut oil as a treatment for dementia. Started giving her 1 tbl per meal. Overnight, everything changed. She still wants to go home but when I tell her, oh, let's go in the morning, she'll say, ok, I'll just go to bed now. The day I ran out and was too tired to go get more, she immediately reverted to nonstop, agitated talking (from 10 pm. until 5 am). The next day I bought a huge container. Check out www.coconutketones.com for really good information. If you decide to try it, I get mine at WalMart - it's in the vitamin section,$10 for 12 ounces. More and more people are finding out how helpful coconut oil can be, maybe it might help your dad. At least to tone him down a bit! Good luck! Oh, and by the way, haven't given her the Tylenol PM since starting the coconut oil.
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Before you have a breakdown, go visit some memory care units near you. Have a list of questions to ask, things to see, eat a meal there. They are much safer than a loved one being able to walk outside without anyone knowing or getting violent because they can't get outside (this happened to someone in my family - she had to lock her bedroom door at night or she'd be attacked by her own husband with his cane or whatever he could get his hands on!).
The deal with Memory Care or Alz units is USUALLY that the people who work in them have more training on how to deal with dementia behaviors than in regular AL facilities. They also are there because they like working with that particular population. You can't be around multiple people with dementia for 40 hours a week if you can't stand it. My parents moved to one a few months ago and I can breathe easier. When they were in indep. and AL, my dad was leaving their apt. all hours of the night, roaming the hallways, riding on elevators, knocking on other residents' doors, waking them up because he couldn't find his way to his own apt., sometimes was only partially dressed. In memory care, he was safer and his dignity was spared. He was a kind, mannerly, Southern gentleman, who would've been mortified if he knew he was behaving that way. We had to get sitter for him thru the night, at $1100 per week!! And his dementia made my mom's stress/dementia worse. It was vicious cycle. When they move to Memory Care Unit, it gave them both some relief, and me, too! It cannot feel good to be agitated like that either. Dad was on meds for agitation that seemed to do nothing but make him sleepy and fall more often. It's so hard. Good luck.
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Redirect! Redirect! Redirect! :) That is the best way to get them off of the course they are on... Change the subject. Create a distraction. Talk about something that they would have loved to talk about 40 years ago! Childhood memories are great too! They seem to revert back in years mentally to that time anyway. Talk about childhood teachers. Pets or hobbies as a kid. If appropriate, sometimes a snack will do the trick. Sometimes NOTHING you do will change their thinking though. That is ok too. Take a breath. Smile and keep going. It is a stressful thing. Just do your best and don't let it get you down. I know if can be very frustrating. I also put the "child safety" knob covers on the outer doors. That gave me some peace of mind. She can't figure out how to open those. :)
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All good advise. The Alzheimer's Assoc. has a prog. called Safe Return. The memory impaired person wears a bracelet w/the phone # of the prog. When you apply, they put all the emergency info in their data base & can reunite a lost person w/their family. Of course, it's important to have the safety locks for prevention, but I think that this is a good insurance policy just in case.
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Catjohn22: Coconut oil can cause diarrhea if given too much too soon. I started my aunt with 1 tsp/meal & she was fine. Gradually I've worked her up to 1 tbl/meal and she's fine. I don't think she needs more than that, but she definitely needs it everyday! Thanks for bringing up a good point.
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Kimmie I am so glad in a way to hear you are worried about him. That only means he's in the right hands. I was informed that the only way to get guardianship is if someone is found "legally incompetent", or am I unclear in what you wrote? Is it written in a legal document that when and if he is declared incompetent he grants that power to you? This is very important to understand his legal ability to make decisions on his own right.
Anyway you have to understand your Dad's behavior in another way. It took me a while to do this "mindset switch" myself. I will explain.... If you had a child you were babysitting and the child was going to stick a screw driver in a light socket and you stopped him by pulling the child away "that would be your duty" and the right first reaction, BUT....if you told the child to stop and yet watched, and let the child tell you, "I don't want to listen to you" and you know the child would cause harm to himself... You wouldn't say go ahead get yourself electrocuted because the child knows best.... That's Crazy right!!!
What I am trying to get you to understand is at this point if your father is endangering himself in anyway, it's because he doesn't know better., You do!
I thought I could keep my Mom ( remember tricky Houdini) safe but one night I was sleeping in her bed with her , I had a feeling she was going to take off, she waited till I was in LALA Land climbed over me tried to walk out the door that was completely booby trapped so she decided to go out the window she crossed the street , there was a 14 mile long lake in my neighbors lake front property back yard. Luckily the neighbors dog barked "12:30 AM" woke the guy and he saw my mother up to her boobs in the lake!!!!! He called the police they called me a daily event at that point (never in lake or dark before) And all she had to say was isn't this police man nice and handsome too.... I asked her why she was wet she says "I was in a puddle" I hate to think about what would have happened if the dog didn't bark. Oh and by the way she told the neighbor her prior address and said she walked from there which in reality was an hour ride by car highways and up mountainous roads. She had no idea she left the house minutes before and was in the house across the street ....mine. I am calling my Story's You Can't Make This Stuff Up!!!! I got many more!!!
I understand everyone has a different situation but the bottom line is his safety and your sanity!!!! I finally have peace of mind and she does too in NH and I make sure her meds are for stabilization not sedation. She is actually the favorite at the home by staff and residence. 3 years ago was pulling teeth to get her to Dr, dressed, bath, etc.
Diagnosis of mental condition and proper meds and routine are key for starters. To get him to Dr. try whatever.... a pretty woman he likes a person he trusts.... tell him your taking him to a favorite place then go to Dr from there. Good Luck!!!!
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Jim, go with your heart! My mom lives with us and sounds as thou mom is worse as she cannot talk or walk, etc, she is 90. No one would ever tell me to cut my visits if mom weren't with me, no one. Does that mean in should leave my house every other day? You are a wonderful husband, please follow your heart and keep up the visits, it's also routine for your wife and I bet is why she is so happy :0)
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Pam, I went through that and now called it the year of hell, day and night. I have chains on the tops of the doors and even though Mom would pull on them and yell at me, she was safe inside. They have no reasoning and will go right in front of a car, dont let them out. When my Mom tried to open a window, I immediately called her neurologist! He called in Dapokote sprinkles right over the phone when I told him what I had been going thru. Wow, why did I wait so long? Its actually an antiseizure medication in which he says is safe for dementia to calm the brain. At first she slept a lot, then she got used to it and was just normal again. Well, not normal, you know what I mean, dementia without the aggitation. To my surprise she actually acted as relieved as I was so I know the aggitation wasnt comfortable for her either. You open these capsules and sprinkle on food, I put in pudding for her everyday. Good luck, I hope he gives you some. (Before I retired I remember reading some of my previously trouble-maker students were this medication to calm them)( Btw my mom never had a seizure , its just a nice medication for them and safer than black label meds)
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I have the same problem, but my dad is in the beginning phases, it actually strated with ICU psychosis.....we got him to stay with us about 5 weeks and now he is back at home. I go over there twice a day, and call him 4 times a day. He in not incompetent in the laws eyes, so I can't do anything so far.....I can't figure out what to do. He is on medicine for agitation but it isn't helping him either....it is actually for dementia and psychosis......but it isn't helping. I hope I can figure out what to do before he drives somewhere and doesn't get enough oxygen?????
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