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For us, yesterday was a bad day in the world of dementia.


My mom has been with us for about a month now. She has been doing well and seemed to be adjusting nicely. Pretty low maintenance. Eats well, slept well (or so I thought) and showered herself.
Yesterday we were out shopping and when we were exiting the store she veered off of my arm and did a header right into a plain glass pane of the exterior door of a store. It happened so suddenly that I couldn’t figure out why she had done it. She bent over, like ducking and walked right into the glass window. Prior to that she had seemed a bit off but I saw no major issues. All she said was “how stupid can I be”, then laughed.
I let her out on the deck to watch for the deer while I worked at the table, all the while keeping an eye on her. At one time I found her cowering in the corner and asked what was going on and she didn’t have an explanation.
I then went out and talked to her for a while. After a few moment I realized she was delusional. She was claiming all sorts of things that I knew just weren’t true. Confusing her present with her past. I listened and didn’t make any corrections. Some of these stories can get bizarre can’t they?
She did okay for the rest of the evening and went to bed at the usual time.
At 4am the house alarm went off. She tried to go out the door that is in her bedroom. She said she was looking for her glasses, which were right on the nightstand. Thankfully we have a house alarm otherwise she’d be out wandering in the forest.
Apparently she had been wandering the house after that. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t. I’m one of those that my mind starts racing after waking so it’s very difficult for me to go back to sleep. I heard her going to the bathroom, etc.
Then this morning I found her in the hallway. She said that she thought someone was in her shower.
Now I understand when people say that sometimes people with dementia are up half the night and the caregivers aren’t able to get any sleep.
I am thankful it is a Saturday and that I can stay home and don’t have any appointments.

Do all dementia patients begin to exit seek? I realize that they all want to go home and that she is still adjusting to being here, but…..

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I agree about moving the uti recheck appointment sooner.

No, not all dementia patients wander or "exit seek" as you call it. You'll just have to see how this plays out with your mother.

My husband had Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) which does not typically include wandering. There was an episode early in the disease when he decided to run away from home one morning. He packed a little yellow gym bag and headed for the door. I intercepted him. "Honey, if you open the door the alarm will sound, and emergency people will show up here." For some reason he was in a belligerent mood (rare for him) and he said, "Fine. You do what you need to do. I don't care who shows up. I'm outta here!" and out he went! OMG! I wasn't prepared for that at all! What to do? I shut off the alarm and ran down the street after him. He was not going to be persuaded to come back. Logic did not impress him. When I got close to him he pushed me away. He was very strong at that point and I actually was afraid. Finally I said, "Coy, I am standing here in the middle of a public street in my nightgown and slippers. This is a very bad situation for me." And wonder of wonders, that did it! He came calmly back home with me.

One thing I learned from that episode: ALWAYS take the time to grab your cell phone if you have to leave the house to go after your loved one! I also quickly learned that reasoning with a person whose reasoning ability is impaired is an exercise in futility.

Your mother's delusions may be a part of her dementia, but they could also be related to a uti. Do you think that she had hallucinations as well? Did she see things that weren't there as part of her delusion? These are things to watch for, make note of, and discuss with the doctor who is following her dementia, at your next visit.

Wandering is common in dementia, but not in all kinds of dementia, or in every patient. It is very fortunate that you already have an alarm system.

Keep us informed. We care, and are hoping for the best for you and Mom.
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1tired...that is good advice. My dad has had UTI's that made him delusional!! He has dementia as well, and cancer and on different medications that really affect him oddly. As far as 'exiting' my dad does that sometimes too. He is unable to walk, but doesn't know that, and he tries climbing out of his bed (hospital type bed) or his 'geri-chair' (closed in with a tray). I ask him what is he doing, and he'll say "I'm going to get up and walk out of here and go home!" (And he's home) Luckily I have a bed alarm on his bed...but he is very stubborn and surprisingly strong when he wants to go somewhere. The brain really plays cruel tricks to a person with dementia.
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I would have that UTI checked again right away. It can do strange things. Also have the doc check through the medications and any supplements for interactions. Is she well hydrated?
Yes in FL we have the silver alert system. Our city will also call anyone who signs up for it to get a call when there is a missing person, adult or child missing from/near our community. Very good service. We live on a canal and whenever I get one I walk the perimeter of the canal and park looking just in case. Many eyes help !
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Yes, she was treated for one a couple weeks ago. We have to take her back the first week of November to have her tested again to make sure it is gone.
I bought her one of those Medical Alert necklaces that has the fact that she is memory impaired and it has my cell phone number on it. I'm just thankful we have a house alarm.
She woke up still confused today. Said someone was in the shower and that is why she didn't sleep well. Sad.
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I also understand why we hear on the 5 o'clock news about some older person who has Alz. and has wandered off. They put the person's picture on the TV and have all of us be on the look out for them. I think about the families that are worried sick about their loved one back at home. Scary. I read that Florida has a 'silver alert' instead of the normal 'amber alert' that streamlines the looking for the old person who has wandered off. Sounds like a good idea to me. You have had your mom checked for a UTI though right? I know that makes people hallucinate etc.
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