My elderly parent just started wandering off, where we could leave her while we cannot be around? -

My elderly parent just started wandering off, where we could leave her while we cannot be around?


We thought of cameras, GPS watches ect. but that will not stop her from wandering off. In the past it was just once in awhile, now in the last day she walked off several times in one day and once today. While we were gone we called her 3 times and she still managed to walk off and a neighbor had to bring her home. We live in a rural area. Lee County Iowa. So I was wondering if there was an elderly day care for someone with mental issues. Also I was wondering what type of camera and/or GPS watch would be the best for my mother. A GPS watch that I could communicate with her. What products would be the best so she still can stay at home?



You stated that "now in the last day she walked off several times in one day and once today". Unfortunately it is time to face the truth--Your Mom can NOT be left alone for even one minute!!!

For your Mom's safety and for your peace of mind, you need to have her live in a Memory Care Unit that can monitor her movements and that can prevent her from going outside.

I looked at the map of Lee County and I notice that the Mississippi River is one of it's borders. How far away do you live from the river? I also noticed that there are lots of hills, wooded areas and corn fields. It looks like Lee County would not be an easy place to conduct a search for a missing person, especially an elderly one. I had a friend whose parent died after they wandered away from their house and was not found until the next day. I pray that your family does not experience this tragedy.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to DeeAnna

My hubby’s grandpa had Alzheimer’s and one night he got the car keys and drove through 3-4 states before he was found. No harm came to anyone but the possibility of tragedy was huge!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to HolidayEnd

Gary, this is a very serious situation. Your Mom has to have supervision, not just a phone. My grandpa used to wander from our home, looking for his home down the Glasgow-Paisley Road. (We lived in NY) If he hadn’t gotten too far, gran could retrieve him. But she had arthritis and couldnt walk very far. One day he took off up the street and she couldn’t catch him. She called the police. He was missing all that night but the next morning they found him in town about 25 miles away. We think he hitchihiked but no idea. A phone wouldn’t have stopped him. He was OK but a NH was the only solution as even with supervision, he was still an escape artist. Always looking for the road home.
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Reply to rocketjcat

Gary, i agree with the others above, your Mom cannot be left alone. Or thing about moving Mom to an Assisted Living/Memory Care if that is within Mom's budget. It would be nice for her to be around people of her own age group.

As for a GPS watch where you can talk with her.... I doubt with her memory issues she would understand that the watch is talking to her. In fact, it might scare her to a point where she would run trying to get away from the voice. Modern technology is nice, but is far off from perfecting one's voice to actually sound like that person.

You don't want to come home and find a search team out looking for your mother.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to freqflyer

The state police in our loved one's area offer a GPS ankle strap to those with dementia. However, getting your mom to wear it might be a problem. (It looks like the ones they use to track people on probation.) . I would look into the Safe Return program at It doesn't help with the wandering, but it might help her get safely back home.
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Reply to Marcia7321

Have you visited the Lee County Health Department's Website?

Here is the Lee County Home Health website:

I think that you need to talk with these organizations and tell them your situation as they know what type of services Lee County has for the elderly better than we do.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DeeAnna

I agree that your mom shouldn't be left alone since she is wandering. That was my first thought as I read your post.

I think the only thing that can prevent her from wandering is having someone else with her at all times. Technology is amazing but will it prevent her from walking out the front door? When someone wants to wander they can be very determined and they need to be diverted. 
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Eyerishlass

An adult day health program would be ideal for your mother. Are there any available to you? What about Jo Daviess County Senior Center in Montrose Lee County? Is that a day health program?

Unfortunately, cmagnum is correct. At this point in the dementia progression, Mom cannot be safely left alone, probably not even for short periods. This is a sad milestone in the disease.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to jeannegibbs

Your mom should not be left alone. Is it possible to hire a caregiver to stay with her while you are gone? Has her doctor said anything about her needing a nursing home at this time? 

Being able to communicate with her is good, but she will reach a point that she can't be reasoned with and that will be a mess with her out some where. 

Being in a rural area puts you in a bind for there are not resources there like in the city. How far are you from a town or city with resources?

At some point your mom's care and safety need to become the priority over her being able to stay at home. 
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to cmagnum