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Mom loves to go out, knowing that I try to take her for a walk or for a drive but lately she has tried to get out of our moving car. I experienced a very dangerous episode two wks ago when Mom decided she wanted to get out. Luckily a passerby helped restrain her while another ran into the hospital to get help. We were leaving the hospital emergency room after a very bad dementia moment so we were just outside the parking lot.
I guess what I am asking is, other than putting her in the back seat where I can use the child proof locks (I have and she removes the seat belt) is there any thing else someone might suggest? Thanks

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With my husband, I had to make sure that the locks were on at all times, sitting in the back was not an option. But he loves music, so I found that keeping him occupied with my iphone looking for, and listening to music worked, I tried to pick a station that plays the kind of music he enjoys, this was both calming and kept him occupied. Our commutes for his chemo often times took 2-5 hours each way. Sometimes he would become convinced that we were going in the wrong direction, the iPad worked for this, I would open google maps and ask him to map the way. I actually carried an old map book, the type that the pages flip, between the two he usually would become preoccupied enough for me to be able to drive.
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I'm so glad things went well for you! I can imagine how scary this has been. My mom started to grab the steering wheel once, so now I drive my husband's car instead and she can't quite reach.

I have to commend the person who said "TAPE OVER THE DOOR HANDLE". What a BRILLIANT answer!!! Use tape that matches the interior and wow! Mom lives at her home of 60 years with my bro and sis-in-law living with her and being her caregivers (with help). Their possessions are in a PODS unit in the driveway. Mom hates, and doesn't understand, the PODS being there. She constantly called the number on the side to come remove it!!! Now it is taped over with matching tape. Voilà! No more phone calls!!! BRILLIANT!!!
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Most cars have a childsafety feature that is on the rear doors.You can activate it with the twist of a scredriver or get a mechanic to do it. Having them sit in the rear seat is the safest way to handle it. If your car doesn't have thechild locks then get a mechanic to "fix" them so that they only work from the outside of the car. We had to do this for my husband on roadtrips an had to move him to the back seat too because he grabs the steering wheel shifts gears while in motion etc.
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You need someone to go with you and assist when you take mom out in the car. I never take my dad alone anymore.
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Buy a pair of oven mits, put on the hands and tape them tightly at the wrist. It works perfectly without injury.
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Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions. I finally took her out last night for a drive to look at the Christmas lights, she was content in the back seat with her seatbelt on. Of course I had fixed her some coco in a snippy cup to keep her hands busy!
Mom is a runner and loves to wander at night so I have been using motion detectors that alert me with a flashing light next to my bed, it is great! I have a wemo device that lets me lock the garage door from my phone along with any other security device. Thought I would share. Thanks again everyone it is so nice to know that there are other caregivers out there to turn to!
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That was pretty cute & I wished I had let him ride in the left-back seat he could have opened that door from the inside but seriously I wouldn't have any elder that confused exiting w/o asst. at the destination. Then when mom was bed bound & dad could ride with me - he started out in the backseat & he kept scratching every car in the parking lot getting out because he had dementia & couldn't space gauge & loss of values (all of that) so I had to always park really really far where I could take up almost 2 spots until I went thru the red tape to get a handicapped & then somehow he still managed to damage as much of other's property as he could.
Always let them ride in the back like a baby you want to keep safe. Precious cargo.
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She was much calmer & a happier passenger in the back seat & the only time the safety lock was humorous was one night I gave a grocery store cashier a ride home because the weather was horrible out & he didn't have a car. He had checked me out every evening for I don't know how many years but I didn't want him walking home at 1am in that weather & I was just getting my food then at closing since I had been at mom's until then. I was finally eating my dinner at 1-2 am. so I said you know my pass. seat is a mess, which with mom living nearby
(dad was her caregiver at the time) you would always have a mess of paperwork, pullups, whatever. So hop in the back. Well he had never trusted this stranger with a ride anywhere. And I get him home & he can't exit. It set us up for a little moment of his panic as a young man & he said "oh that's right I remember your stories of your "Ma" I think he even remembered the story at the checkout about her thinking we were parked at every red light.
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When mom had alzheimer's & still lived at home I never had her ride up front with me in the passenger seat because of a time when she was trying to touch the steering wheel while driving, she was upset about something. Then she started trying to open the door at every red light asking if it was time to get out (thinking we were parked). Only 2 trips did she sit up front til I realized it was safer for both of us with her in the back. There should be a child safety lock in the back door of any car I would think. It does not matter that they can't get out alone because anyone this confused should not be allowed to exit the vehicle w/o asst. when you reach your destination. Just press unlock for all doors when you get there & go around & open her/his door from the outside & help them out. If they are confused enuf to try exiting a moving vehicle, they could open the door from the inside in a parking lot & get run over or fall or something. The safety lock was a godsend for me & I never unlocked it - just went around & helped her out at our destination. They are safer in the back seat anyway. You don't want them reaching out at your arms, hands or the steering wheel in a moment of panic or upset or increased confusion. I guess they could reach up from back but it also cuts down on their agitation & confusion because they can't see as much or it isn't as fast moving. Akin to riding a plane in the aisle seat vs. the window seat.
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Keep her in the back seat, she cant help it , its her disease. If I have dementia some day I hope my family puts me in a safe spot too! Be aware she will take off out of your house some day, chain the doors, its a "stage" they go through, my Mom was a year like that. We will pull up to the house and she would yell "that not my house keep going!" over and over and over, it was wicked.
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Put a strap, long fabric scarf or some similar thing you feel comfortable with and is easiest for you, around her just under her chest and tie or buckle it in the back of her seat. Make it snug but not too tight. She won't be able to undo it herself. She will have to wait for you to get out of the car and come around to undo it for her. Worked like a charm for my mom and gave me piece of mind. I kept a pocket knife right under my seat I could reach just in case I ever had any emergency and had to cut it off fast.
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I pull the car over to the side of the road whenever my mother reaches for the door handle. Then we deal with whatever the issue is, buckle back up, relock the door and move on. She is still mostly rational -- I can't imagine what it will be like as things progress. Thanks for the heads up -- the next car I get will have to be "child safe".
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I only have child locks on the back doors -- so my hubby has to ride in the back on "confused" days. Your car dealership or the police or fire dept. should be able to help you figure out what to do.
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Ever since the harrowing trip from rehab to assisted living dementia unit this summer (she's now ih nh), when she she tried to grab the steering wheel from my husband, we've had mom transported by ambulette to Dr's appts and such. Just not worth the danger.
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Engage the child safety locks on the rear doors of the vehicle. If the vehicle is not so equipped, remove the inside door handle or have a mechanic remove it for you. Save it for re-installation later. Mittens are also a good idea, but they must be sewn into the sleeves. Wrap your passenger snugly with a fleece blanket so they feel more secure, with velcro or lacing that secures at the back. If all else fails, you may have to buy a Posey jacket.
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I hate restraints, but for her safety and for your peace of mind while driving I would run a belt of some sort around her and fasten it behind the seat so that she cannot unhook it. I have seen this done in healthcare facilities, strapping a patient to a chair. It would be much like a seat belt and she possibly wouldn't recognize the difference. Or if you don't have safety locks in the front, maybe you could secure the door from the outside. Surely they have something on the market to do this.....I doubt that you are the only one experiencing this dilema!
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Gosh maybe handcuff her to the seat belt. Seriously all I can think of is to bandage her hands and tape the bandage to itself with duct tape. very frightening
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After experiencing the same harrowing event, on the freeway... I now tape over the door handle very securely with STRONG packing tape. Mom can't figure out where the door hand went! Even though it may leave the door a little sticky, it is certainly worth the effort.
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I'm not being flippant, but if you're in a cold weather area could you persuade her to wear sheepskin mittens when you go out? If you then button them to her sleeves so that she can't easily take them off, she'll have a heck of a job manipulating either her seat belt or the door handle.

Haven't got to this stage with my mother yet, but will never forget driving a schizophrenic and his manic depressive girlfriend to his mother's funeral. I don't normally break speed limits, but I was almost wishing the police would stop us...
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Hello Ronnie, I wish I could help, but we never really solved this problem with my mother. Yes, she did the same thing, and luckily I had the controlling lock on my driver's door that first few times. So I could stop her from opening the doors and windows when I took her to the doctor. That worked for a short time; but soon she started playing with the seat belt latch too, and I couldn't stop her from doing that. I tried putting her in the back seat, but that caused her to be agitated. I'm ashamed to say, a few times, I just let her ride without the seat belt. But that didn't work either, no sooner did she have the seat belt off, she'd start to work on the door controls, and being that those wouldn't work she started in on the radio and then the gear shift and other dash controls. That was a bad scene, as I had to pull off the road, and I was the agitated one then, not knowing how to get us home with her acting like that. The last time we took her someplace in the car ( with my husband driving and me in the back seat to stop her touching things, she started pulling on the back of my husbands seat belt and when I tried to stop that, she was reaching over the seat and pulling on his arm, (It's amazing how strong these old people can be when you try to stop them from doing something.). We never took her in the car again because as it happened, soon after that she had a fall at home. Ended up in the hospital and then in the nursing home; she was never truly ambulatory again. We had to use the ambulance-like transfer services after that. ....I do hope you get more help from the others. Just know that we do understand what you're going through.
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I forgot one important thing about the child safety door lock feature, the handle on the inside of the car can't open the door, and both doors would have to have them flipped in the correct direction to disengage the opening handle.
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Sorry you're going through this type of scenario, but it is common. The safest bet is to find out if your car has "Child Safety Locks". She will have to ride in the back seat. Sometimes they can be found when you open the door, and on the wide part there will be a level to flip. You can ask your dealer if there is one. If not, and it's within your budget, for safety (you, your mom, and others on the road), it is recommended to get a car with this feature. If not, you could find one of your friends who has this, and can take you and your mom to the doctor or hospital. (Volvo cars from 1994 and newer come with it, including windows that only roll halfway down, and have child window control locks that the driver can control).
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My husband tried to open the car door while we were driving on the Interstate back home from a rehab session. He kept pulling on the handle, but I had locked the car from the inside - so all car doors were locked. The only way for him to open his door would have been to push the lock itself open - which he couldn't do. I considered putting him in the backseat, but I knew I'd be constantly checking on him while driving. Besides our airbags are only in the front and I could reach over and take his hand when he tried to fumble with the seat belt lock. I also gave him something to hold and watch for me (anything from my purse would do). It worked. Hope that helps - because this is really scary and I know what you are going through. One more thing in this roller coaster ride dealing with dementia.
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In every newer car that I've been in, the doors lock automatically when the car is taken out of Park. They will unlock manually but the door will not open using the handle. It is actually difficult to unlock them manually because the placement of the door lock at the bottom of the window. Perhaps you could consider a "newer" car for that reason if you do a lot of driving. I'm not sure what year this went into effect. Our 2008 chevy does that, while my 1997 mazda doesn't.
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Wow! That is really hard. I hope that people will have suggestions for you, from their own experience. Being unable to open a door is probably more important than having the seat belt buckled (though obviously both are important), so I guess the backseat is the better option.

Might she go for a distraction, like watching something on a dvd player?

Hugs to you are you face this challenge.
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