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Quick background, mom is 80 years old with midstage Alzheimer's. She's able to do many things with direction and limited help on my part; bath, dress, eat. She's mobile and loves to be out. We go out to eat a couple of times a week and shopping almost every day, we may only pick up a loaf of bread but it gets her out of the house. Also, getting out helps keep my sanity!


A couple of months ago she started making noises and talking to herself. Lots of noises when eating at home, less when eating out. Because of this I've started giving a lot of thought to where we go, trying to go places when it's not busy so we/she doesn't bother anyone. She's not rude towards anyone or loud, the talking to herself are things like "oh my, geez".


It occurred to me yesterday that I've never noticed this kind of behavior in other seniors when I've been out. I'm wondering if I'm trying to hard to keep her in "normal" society?


At this point I'm trying to keep her engaged and happy knowing at any time things will change and she won't be able to go out.

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You never ran into my Husband while I had him out.
He made quite a bit of noise. Most of it a sort of moaning sound and I would have people ask if he was in pain. I would gently tell them that he had Alzheimer's and this was one of his "quirks".
I would kid that it was easy to find him if he wandered off while I went to grab a bunch of bananas!
I would have kids look at him and ask their mom "why is that man crying?" I would jump in with..He is not crying this is just a noise he makes because his brain does not work as well as it used to. I would then ask if they had classmates that had Autism and most of the time I would get a nod of the head. I would ask then..does your classmate make noises sometimes? And again I would get a yes. I would explain it is sort of the same thing. And I would thank them for being so caring.
If you go to the same places to eat lunch or dinner the staff will begin to know your mom and will be extra patient.
There are cards that the Alzheimer's Association has that are something like...Please be patient the person I am with has Alzheimer's and may need a bit more time.

As far as other diners or people in stores...most people are so preoccupied with themselves that they do not notice a bit of extra noise. And with all the noise in most restaurants a little from your mom will not be noticeable.
When you are seated and order, ask for "to-go" containers to be brought with the meal. Just in case she gets agitated you you have to make a quick departure you can pack up while the staff is getting your bill ready.

As far as taking her out..until it becomes unsafe getting her in or out of the car. Or when she is no longer safe walking.
Until she become so agitated that she is no longer enjoying herself.
Or when it becomes frustrating for you. Until then enjoy the outings.
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kimberlitas Sep 10, 2019
Thank you for the great suggestions Grandma1954. Humor is wonderful way to handle many aspects of this disease. I especially liked the suggestion on getting the food to go boxes at the beginning of the meal. When she's ready to go, she's ready!
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Both my in-laws needed all-hands-on-deck care at the same time. They lived 6 miles from us and we had 3 teenaged sons at the time. We enlisted them a lot to help, since stepFIL was 6'5" with Parkinsons and MIL weighed 185 lbs and eventually needed a wheelchair. Once, in my naivety, I tried to take them both to a dental hygiene appointment on a college campus by myself. Ha ha! That took an entire day and I was longing for some laughing gas at the end of it.

Taking them anywhere was a huge undertaking that required all 5 of us. I never felt bad to ask my sons to help (and they never hesitated). It made them feel needed/important and appreciated and it showed them life with all its warts, and helps them to have gratitude and appreciation for their health. Our experiences with this caregiving continues to give me the opportunity to point out that how you treat the elderly and infirmed is how you will want to be treated, and that aging is a normal part of life and to not be "surprised" by it. Today my sons have such an affection for "Q-tips" (as we call all the silver-haired seniors in our family). They rush to help elderly strangers and give up seats on the train for them, etc.

Kimberlitas, I applaud your loving kindness to your mom. Keep taking her out as long as you can. Blessings!
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kimberlitas Sep 11, 2019
Wow Geaton777, you certainly bit off more than you could chew that day! Your sons sound like loving, kind gentlemen. Kuddos to you! I have 2 daughters in their twenties that help when they can and frequently point out to them that we "lead by example".

Thank you for the compliment and advice. Being on this site shows we caregivers, whether up close or from afar, are doing the best we can. I send on the applause to all of you!
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My mom has started to sing when I take her out or when I take a friend over to visit her. She never sang before. She waves her arms around as she sings in a sort of dance. She mostly just wants to go for rides. She can't go out to eat any longer because noise and motion around her bothers her too much. She used to love shopping. No more. So I think as long as your mom wants to go, take her and never mind the other people. If our elders are just put where we can't see them, people will not understand the old and infirm and discriminate against them even more than already. We understand better what we see and experience.
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I stopped taking the person I cared for out in public when she refused to use the bathroom and would sit at the table incontinent, insulted a waitress and picked up her plate and licked it and made disgusting slurping sounds. It is a question of what you are comfortable with, I had hit my limits.
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Tiger55 Sep 11, 2019
Holy cow, you surely had your hands full with that lady, tacy!😱
Kudos to you...
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Oh this is an excellent question! My mother is 94 with mild Dementia and COPD. She coughs up sputum excessively and it can be quite embarassing especially in a crowded restaurant. When she asks to go out, she just wants to feel the sun and breathe the fresh air. I feel guilty if i refuse her that small pleasure. So now instead of taking half the day to clean and dress her, I put a bathrobe on her and slippers and we just ride around for about two hours. We live in a beach resort area so I take drive her up and down the main drag. She gets a kick out of watching tourists bustling around and afterwards we stop and I buy ice cream at a local farmer's market. Lately though, this has become a chore for me due to a back injury. But it works if you don't wear yourself out dressing them and preparing them for an outing. Works for me!!
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I would take her out and enjoy every outing you can.

If someone says anything, tell them that she has some unknown disease and it is highly contagious, so you do apologize for exposing them and you hope they fair as well as your mom. Sorry, I get so bothered with people acting like our seniors, disabled and others that are different are to be hid away, so I like to freak them out a bit.

She is blessed to have you.
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kimberlitas Sep 11, 2019
LOL, can you imagine the look on their faces! Your reply made me realize that I don't have any issues with people that are different so I really shouldn't worry about what others think. Thank you!
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Your question makes me sad. I thought we'd moved on from the days when people with mental and physical disabilities were shut away out of sight so that their mere presence didn't disturb passers-by who weren't able to mind their own business.

Of *course* you are right to use your common sense about this, and not take your mother to places where her diminishing abilities are going to hold people up or significantly inconvenience them or ruin their first candle-lit dinner date. Apart from anything else, very noisy or rushed or crowded places will not be pleasant for her.

I think I recall that you can get pre-printed cards to hand to concerned members of the public that explain "my mother has dementia, please overlook her talking to herself" with, perhaps, the website for the Alzheimer's Society - it all adds to useful awareness-raising in the general population.

But as long as she benefits from outings and she is doing no one any harm, you go right ahead. May you long enjoy her company! :)
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Tiger55 Sep 11, 2019
So kind & very helpful answer CW. I recall it was hard taking the kids out (one had autism, & back then it wasn't well understood by the public). I used to get some dirty looks...but they didn't swear, just had odd behaviors. (I could have used those cards u mentioned), lol.
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Up until recently I took Mother with me everywhere I went. That is too stressful and time consuming. Yeah, it sounds mean and selfish, but for real, a thirty minute shopping trip shouldn't take an hour and a half. And then there's trying to explain to her to walk beside me, where it's safer, rather than all up my butt with her walker. Oh yeah, can't leave out the rude comments to strangers in Spanish because she thinks they don't understand!!
Can't leave her in the car alone, or even with one of my adult kids, because it she feels like I'm taking too long she will get out to look for me.
So lately I take her out a couple times a week to a store to walk the aisles for exercise, or to McD's for ice cream and people watch. Sometimes I drive the long way to town because that's really all she wants -- a drive.
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MountainMoose Sep 15, 2019
It's not mean and selfish, MumsHelper. We all try to do what's best for our parent to keep them happy, but we matter too. Sometimes we just have to do what's best for our physical and mental health...and try not to feel guilty for it.
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Like Ikdrymom said, its exhausting to take hubby out and he really just wants to stay home, watching tv or sitting out on the porch drinking coffee. He has his nurses and doctor that come in the see him and we have son, DIL, grandson and great grand baby that live across the driveway...and daughter and SIL that live a few blocks over...so he gets interaction at home. And of course he has his wild birds that he has to feed every evening. He seems really happy at home with Meals on Wheels during the week and take out in between home cooked meals. He’s going to be 78 October 15th and we will be in Ensinada enjoying a cruise and eating Lobster.for his birthday dinner. I find it so much easier to take him out and about on the cruise ship. Everything is right there, beginning with an open walkin shower, breakfast omelets on Lido deck and coffee on the back of the boat. Casino, drinks and dinner in the dining room, and broadway shows in the evenings. We even make the midnight big screen movie on lido deck sometimes. Its a truly enjoyable week for both of us, and we go every 3 months. For his birthday, we are flying to California so dear daughter is coming with us as co-caregiver. My advice is just prepare for every occurrence. He stays in depends when we cruise and we are close enough to the room that we can slip away to change with no problem. We also use the laundry service and keep his clothes clean. He is in a wheelchair on the ship, but can use his walker for shore excursions. Its easier to transport with him and give him a seat if he gets tired walking. His blindness is our biggest hurdle but organization and preparation is key. Know your limits and LOs limits and enjoy everyday of your life. I believe that some of the bad behaviors are caused by a lack of understanding. If I tried to take hubby out to senior daycare because I felt he needed more socializing, he would flip out on me!! Maybe Im crazy or in denial, but we are truly very happy and enjoy everything we can, while we can. Thank you for this forum, it has really opened my eyes to what may lie ahead. Prayers and understanding for all my fellow caregivers...its the toughest job out there.

NOTE: We are not wealthy! The cruise was $198 per person and flight was $258 per person round trip. Less than $500 each for 5 days. We splurged for a hotel room in Los Angeles at $198 we’ll share, and the Lobster dinner in Ensinada was $210. This is a little more than we usually spend, but it’s his birthday.
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I think it’s wonderful that you are taking her out! I used to take my mom out to church, the movies and/or dinner a couple times a week. It felt like one of the few things I could do to give her a sense of “normalcy” in her life and to give both of us some “fun” in the midst of all the stress/challenges. She’d do some strange things, but I figured I probably noticed more than others did, and it wasn’t hurting anyone.

I kept doing this until it became unsafe. There also was an in between phase where I’d bring her to my house instead of someplace public, or i’d bring my husband along so I had some who could help with logistics. I gauged safety by her behavior. For example, would she wait for me if I had to go get the car? Would she wait for me to bring her walker up/down the stairs, or would she try to do it herself? Was she able to safely go up/down stairs herself? Did she pay attention when I gave her direction?

I would say as long as it is safe and manageable, it’s lovely! 😊
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Kate06 Sep 15, 2019
Hubby and I are struggling today with guilt for not getting his mother out (95 YO, wheelchair bound, moderate and advancing dementia). L-o-n-g discussion at lunch after leaving nursing home. Your reply regarding safety and how you gauge safety is very helpful to me. Can't wait to share with Hubby. Thank you,
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