I've been dreading this moment for quite some time....even thought maybe it was happening but, without any proof, was able to live in blissful denial. Now that I have proof, I can't deny it anymore. She has started wandering at night.
Over the past 3-4 days I've noted some behaviors in Mom that she previously had not been exhibiting. She's been suddenly OBSESSED with food & drinks, she suddenly can't sit still & gets up every 5 minutes to look out the window, go out to check the laundry on the line, walk out to the barn to make certain the horses have enough water despite the fact that they have a constant water source in the stream that flows through the property, go to the bathroom, get a drink...yada, yada, yada. I also watched her, multiple times throughout the day on Saturday, sit and fold & re-fold a long strip of clean toilet paper. I also noted increased confusion during the day. This is all VERY new symptoms for her. I already switched her to decaf coffee & sodas a few months ago, so I don't see this stuff being the effects of caffeine-withdrawal.
With the increased confusion & sheer number of trips she was making to the restroom, I assumed she had a UTI. She won't let me help her in the bathroom but I've "innocently" wandered in on occasion during her wiping process with a roll of toilet tissue in my hand & the ruse of "Oh, I thought this bathroom was out of toilet paper. Sorry." At those times, I've noted that she has started wiping in the wrong direction (a perfect set-up for UTI) and, of course, by the time she hits the bathroom the next time, she's forgotten my gentle reminder to wipe front to back. Anyway, she started treatment on Saturday evening for a UTI....her second one since April....and the daytime confusion backed off but not the restlessness nor, I've come to find, the nighttime wandering.
Unfortunately, I don't have a video of her doing it, nor do I have a way to record one, but I'm 100% certain that she's night wandering now. The first time I found the digital clock in the living room unplugged, I racked it up to the cats bumping the plug from the socket during play at some time. Day? Evening? Night? Who knows. Found that Saturday daytime. First thing Sunday morning I noticed that the clock was missing completely! A quick check found it, cord all balled up, lying on the floor next to her bed. She, of course, denied doing it and, like every other dementia patient, said "someone else" must have put it there. Last evening I stayed up as late as I could...midnight....and she never once came out of her room. I got back up at 4:30 and the digital clock was gone again.........lying on the floor next to her bed again.
During the day yesterday, I saw her sit & start to write a letter to my brother, who lives 980 miles away. I dug it out after she went to bed, fully expecting to see dropped words, gross misspellings, no punctuation and, well, confused thoughts. She wrote in cursive, there were a few, small areas where she scratched somethings out but it all made sense....and she correctly remembered that there's a shopping plaza about 25 min from here that I take her to.
How can she be that "good" during the day & so, well, bizarre at night? How can I get her placed in a facility if she's THAT oriented during the day & can say "no"? Most importantly, how the heck am I supposed to keep her (and me) safe at night & still get some sleep? I already have front & back door alarms & I've placed a gate in the hallway near her bedroom to try to curb the wandering. The gate has obviously been completely ineffective because she's made it to the living room 3 nights in a row to mess with the clock. I'm afraid she'll wander away from an AL facility. What are the "eligibility requirements" to be placed on a locked dementia wing?