My DH feels like a prisoner in his home. Driving prohibited and has no idea where he is when we are out. Would get lost in the neighborhood if walks alone. Fortunately I have many neighbors that have eyes out for him.

If I take him to a place and tell him he can walk, I'm going home, would I be legally in trouble for leaving him with the knowledge he would get lost?

I'm so tired of the argument of I can't drive, who says, I can't even walk alone without someone looking over my shoulder. Refuses to wear a bracelet from Project Lifesaver that would find him. "I'm still keeping him prisoner."

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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How far would he want to walk?

You cannot take him somewhere and go home. Perhaps it's best to not drive him at all - keep the driving out of sight/out of mind - but rather let him walk in your neighborhood while you keep far enough behind him that he feels less like a prisoner but you can still help if he gets into trouble.

Have your tried adult day care? Even a few mornings a week will give you some respite and keep him occupied.
Helpful Answer (2)

A few stories from my personal experience:
1. Dad with evolving dementia was found lost in his car at night, did not remember where he lived. Dad got put into a locked memory care unit and all his money was gone in 3 years. Daughter had tried to get him to move into a condo purchased with some of his money where she could take care of him. He had refused.
2. Dad with Alzheimer's was left alone and wandered the streets, asking a strange woman to marry him. Left food out, couldn't recognize his daughter-in-law. Had no money and also went blind from no medical care. Got locked memory care somewhere.
3. Woman walked great distances regularly, one night never came home and hordes of police and volunteers spent days searching for her. Got locked memory care somewhere.
4. Man escaped nursing home and walked in the woods, fell in a ditch, hit his head and died. Nursing home blamed.
5. Man came into my store, stating he forgot where he lived, could we help. Took out his wallet and we were able to read his address 9 blocks away so he could get into a taxi.
Common thread here is they aren't able to care for themselves anymore.
You might as well leave a 3 year old to fend for themselves.
I hope you either put a GPS in his shirt collar or something, or you're out of luck. Next stop is the memory care unit (expensive).
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I can't imagine how frustrating this is for both you and your husband. My experience with people with dementia who want to walk is that they will walk extreme distances, not just through the neighborhood where you might feel that you have some neighborly support. We had a neighbor who would regularly walk around the neighborhood and then would suddenly turn up 15 miles and two major highway bridges away back where he used to manage a paint store. Another neighbor would often walk through the neighborhood without problems but occasionally be found far, far from home. You really can't risk it. There are some wearable trackers that may be useful to you. I found this link:

If he was wearing something like this you might be able to keep track of him without having to be right with him.
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Contact your Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and see if the SWs can arrange some respite hours or Adult Day Care (ADC) for your husband so you can have at least a brief break. ADC just started back in my area of Northeast TN and it has made a big difference to my mother who was "stuck" at home during CV. Having a few hours _alone_ with no responsibility to watch over Mom and be ready to help her get to her feet or fetch something for her makes a huge difference to me too, much more than I would have dreamed possible before actually experiencing it. Last week I used those three 6 hour breaks to make butterscotch pudding and divinity candy (which cannot be left at a certain point in the cooking), catch up on my sleep, swim in the above ground pool with the kids, read a book without interruption, and run a few errands.

If you can change your mindset a bit, it can make some of the uncooperative behaviors little easier to take. I was able to view a lot of my father's dementia behaviors as his disease and not really my father anymore. Those behaviors became more irritants than the deeper emotional pulls they had been at one time. Most of my Mom's irritating behaviors from her short term memory problems never bothered me much, but during CV isolation she started begging me to take her to her mother's home so she could care for her (as my mother did 30 years ago) and I have had a much harder emotional time dealing with the begging. After the verbal and emotional battering my father put me through, I really did not expect to have such a hard time with anything my mother might say/do. Right now I'm just so thankful the behavior disappeared when Mom went back to ADC.
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I hear you. I understand what you are going through. The answer
to your real question lies in the solution to allowing him to walk alone.

It was right there, in your own words:

"Fortunately I have many neighbors that have eyes out for him."

Arrange for a gathering at the park, with a few neighbors social distancing at 30 feet or more. A bar-be-que they happen to be having and he walks by, is invited to stay. A jogger who just happens to be jogging in the park. All have eyes on him.

Register your husband with the police/sheriff under the many programs they have for vulnerable adults, so they can recognize him. pick him up, bring him home when he does 'get lost'. You would just call them, give him his location provided by the neighborhood kid on his bicycle 'not really following him'.

Additionally, there are GPS trackers for wandering adults, maybe can be installed in his shoe.

There are walking and hiking clubs. Maybe his need is to find some space from his wife for awhile. The group, or club can keep an eye out for him.

Maybe Adult Day Care could help. Maybe after Covid restrictions are lifted.

One thing is sure (for me). Dropping my husband off anywhere and returning to pick him up never has worked. He is not there. He is not visible. He went home by himself. Or many other scenarios, but he was not there! The anxiety this causes me will lead to my early death.

Focus on the "Covid restrictions", it is not you isolating him. Does he understand that part?
Helpful Answer (3)

Karen; You sound SO sad and frustrated; I'm so sorry for your troubles.

This was the point at which one of my Aunt's HAD to place my uncle. She kept the interior doors locked and key around her neck; if he got out, he would stroll on the Highway. When he realized that she had the key, my gentle, loving Uncle started beating up on my Aunt. Her "kids" found this out when one of them dropped by "surprise! I'm here on a business trip" and found Aunt black and blue.

I think that there's comes a time when we run out of redirection, patience and strategies. That's when it's time for placement.

Please think about this and give your own health some consideration here.
Helpful Answer (5)

I have to say, dementia/Alz is THE most frustrating and aggravating condition for a caregiver to have to deal with, that's for sure! I have an idea for you: is there a track you can take him to like a high school where athletes run? If you sit on the bleachers out of sight, he can walk to his heart's content w/o getting lost. If the track idea isn't feasible, how about something similar where you can see him but he can't see you? An area that's safe; we have a park here where I live where there is a small lake surrounded by a walking trail; it's a circle. Something like that, although the water feature may be a danger to him. That's the sort of thing you want to think about vs. letting him out alone to walk, knowing he'll get lost. In the end, YOU will suffer more aggravation and inconvenience than anyone, so that's not really a viable idea.

You can't argue with a person suffering this condition, either. So don't bother. Just figure out where you CAN take him and let him 'loose' for a while where both of you get a break; he gets his 'freedom' and you don't wind up dealing with the police later on!!!!

Wishing you the best of luck in a very difficult situation. Sending you a hug and a prayer for peace. And a suggestion to look into Memory Care for your DH for when things become TOO much to handle alone any longer. Nobody's superwoman.
Helpful Answer (4)

Karen, I totally get your frustration but please, please don't let him walk alone - there are just too many things that can go wrong and you will be responsible. Can you hire a sitter/caregiver(after checking references) just to take him for a walk and pay an hourly wage?
Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)

That's a stupid question, likely asked out of frustration. Whether or not a situation develops that rises to a legal issue, who knows? But seriously, try a little harder for a different solution. How about some help for the anxiety you both seem to have? Can someone whose patience not been exhausted take him off your hands for a while?
Helpful Answer (0)
Karenhage Jun 2020
Ok, I'm probably frustrated and looking for answers. However, starting your reply with "that's a stupid question" does nothing to abate my frustration or the desire to read your suggestions. Sorry!
You would be morally responsible for what happens, no matter what the answer is legally.
If this is now too much for you then you must consider placement for your DH. This will not get easier; it will get more difficult. Your husband's behavior will become more child-like, but he will remain a larger, stronger child.
We all have our limitations. If there is any level of understanding then I would sit with your husband and tell him that this deterioration in his mental abilities is nothing either of you wanted, and is difficult for both of you, but that his inability to understand or accept any limitations will shorten the time you are able to keep him in your care.
So sorry for all you are going through. For you both.
Helpful Answer (5)

Let him complain. You are now his need to step out of the wife mode and step into the caregiver mode. You are there to keep him safe and healthy. To willingly let him go when you KNOW he'll get lost is on's not the neighbors responsibilities to watch over him. Is there a park nearby you could take him to so you can watch him as he walks by himself?
Helpful Answer (6)
Karenhage Jun 2020
Thank you for your encouragement and suggestions.
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