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My mom has Alzheimer's. Probably around stage 6. To make a long story short, she wanders all the time. She is obsessed with going over to our local post office to check the mail, although I took the key away from her several months ago. I have locks on the doors and windows which I can unlock but she cannot. I'm not sure that is the right thing to do either. I also have become a prisoner in my own home. When she finds out that she cannot get outside she becomes very angry and somewhat agressive.

If she does manage to get out; sometimes I forget to set locks, sometimes she will go out an unlocked window because I don't have the ones high off the ground locked. She will get lost and not be able to find her way home but not always. We live in a very small town where everyone knows her but I'm not sure that makes it any safer. Anyone out there experiencing something similiar and what did you do about it? I've considered putting mom in a memory care unit but haven't been emotionally able to do it yet.

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What kind of a Dr is that, thats like saying you cant lock your own doors. It will pass its a stage. You should see the people at the daycare wander all day, its part of the disease and putting her in a new environment will just make things go down hill faster. Ask for Depakote, give her time, they will drug her anyway so they dont have to chase her, poor thing.
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I just took my mom to the appointment today. The appointment is almost 100 miles away from our home just one way. Mom's doctor prescribed seroquel. However, for the wandering, he said there is no presciption to prevent wandering. Which of course I knew but was hoping for something that would calm her down a bit and possibly discourage her from wanting to leave the house. So he said there is only one option and that is to place her in a locked dementia care unit. That is if I cannot keep her safely inside the house. So that's where I'm at now. I knew I would be here sooner or later. Things just keep getting worse and worse.
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confused - you said you are calling the doctor for an appointment?

OPTION NUMBER 3 - MEDICATION ADJUSTMENT ! !
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I am going to call mom's doctor tomorrow and talk to him. I think she should have another appointment anyway because its been a while since her last one. When I lock her in she threatens to call the police, and throws things out the windows.

I feel when winter comes I've got two choices. One choice is to continue to keep her in the house only then it would be 99% of the time and then she will be even more angry. Choice two is to get her into a memory care unit. I don't really like either option but something will have to be figured out before the cold months get here. I'm afraid if she gets lost during the cold months something will happen without a doubt.
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confused - IF you lock the doors, how does anyone on the outside know that she wants to get out. If she is screaming or vocalizing about it, that's just an aspect of dementia. Time to talk to the doctor about a medication that will calm her down so she can stay at home without fuss.
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That part about detaining her against her will doesn't make sense. My mother wears a tracking device on her ankle to enable the local Sheriff's Office to find her if she gets out on her own. This acknowledges the fact she is a danger to herself. You might want to try a different attorney.
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I need to clarify something. I wasn't locking mom in the house by herself. I know not to do that. However, the police and attorney said it is still against the law to detain her in the house against her will. The police suggested that it may be time for a memory care unit. Which is what the memory care unit will have to do but I guess then it isn't against the law.

So I'm back to square one really. Still trying to figure out what to do. I know eventually I will have no choice but to put mom in a facility but it is going to be one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life.
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The only wandering my mother does is when she's Sundowning. She'd get up at night and not know what she was and checking ever door to get out, and calling people granting among for help in the middle of the night. Doctor prescribed Trazadone and it took care of that. Good luck.
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Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are one of the most debilitating diseases of our time.It is the progressive and degenerative nature of Alzheimer’s that it is infamous for. Hiring home care workers as full-time or part-time caregivers for Alzheimer’s disease is a sensible solution.
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Dear confused - it is certainly okay for you to lock your doors with double locking deadbolts when you are inside with your mom. That is just normal security that you would do for yourself. But the key is, YOU are inside WITH your mom.

It is not safe to lock people inside a building and LEAVE them alone. This would probably be considered imprisonment and if a fire started and they could neither get out nor someone new to go in and help them, I would think at the very least that may be considered reckless endangerment or negligent homicide.

Make no mistake, if you are taking on the responsibility of a dementia patient single handedly and their condition is severe enough to need to be locked in, it is severe enough in my opinion that the law would consider you never want to leave them alone, locked in or not. They can get into too much trouble and if their lives are in danger by your actions, there will be terrible legal trouble ahead.
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I pray that you can find the strength to put her in a locked memory care unit. I like all of the ideas above, but someone who is at Level 6 of Alzheimers, in my opinion, just needs more help than any one person can provide. You will be in my thoughts. Lots of hugs.
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Well my idea of new front doors with double locks just went out the window, did not think about them being locked in, but if I ran to the store I guess I would not lock the door at all, two dogs barking here would keep anyone away, so if I only locked it during the night when I in in the house also I would have peace of mind knowing my husband could not leave, if and when wandering begins here.
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Hi Confused, I went through it with my Mom for a year ( in my home). you can buy keypad locks and put the keypad on the inside of your door for your basement door, etc. On the outside doors I have a chain on top that she couldnt reach. She would pull it and yell at me, it was a long year until I finally called the dr and he put her on depakote sprinkles. You might want to ask the dr about them. She was on them 2 years and I recently started weaning her off of them because she cant walk anymore. She is coming awake! She says some words now, can scratch her on neck, cross her legs, and she laughs and laughs! Its just a Stage and they cant help it. Its the rougest part of the disease until they start to pee on the floor! haha No fear, buy unstrippable pajamas!!! Moms been with me over 5 years now, it is a slow disease for sure. Hang in there, its not their fault, the poor poor things.
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sounds like a secure memory care facility is required for many of these people. I had to do that with my husband because he would take off in the car! The last 2 times he was gone for 3+ hours, lost and totally confused. Only by the grace of God he didn't have an accident and hurt himself or anyone else. The first time he was 20 miles from home at a grocery store. The associated there were kind, took him in, called me and helped me get him home. The 2nd time I had no choice. I called the police. Had a Be On the Lookout For bulletin put out and was finishing up what is called a Silver Alert, similar to an Amber Alert but for seniors. Just as the BOLO went out, the hwy patrol found him on the side of the interstate!! The only reason he stopped was because he ran out of gas. He had no idea where he was, where he had been, where he was going, where he lived, etc. It was horrifyingly scary and caused me such stress that I nearly ended up in the hospital myself. If you want to protect your loved one, the public, and yourself, you need to find a facility for your loved one. This was the hardest thing I've ever done, but it had to be...for everyone's safety and my sanity. It's been a roller coaster ride for me since then, but at least I know he is safe and secure and being cared for 24/7 because I couldn't do it any longer. Please, for your sake, the sake of your loved one and for everyone around you, call today! Call the Alzheimer's Association for leads on places. Call your local elder care agency. Call and call and call. You will find a good, safe, loving facility for your elder. God bless. Peace!
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Reading this........my mind is blown. Going to go rest while I still can! Fortunately he only gets up in the middle of the night to bathe with bottles and bottles of hand soap! Then I have to get up to steal the dirty clothes or he will put them back on! I throw them in the washer, turn it on and go back to bed! Unfortunately he keeps pulling down the towel bars and I have to try and put them back up the next day. But at least I get some sleep at night. I am fortunate that I go right back to sleep when my head hits the pillow! I am not looking forward to the future!
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Get her a medic alert bracelet or necklace which says she is "memory impaired" with the phone no. so you can locate her when she is lost. Get a lock for all windows. You had better find the courage to put her some place with secure fencing/locks or as her legal caretaker, you will be liable if she gets out, gets in an accident or get killed. You know about her end stage dementia, yet you are unwilling at this point in time to really protect her. If you were my neighbor and I knew about her escaping, I would call Adult Protective Services on you. Get her safe or you will regret it should something untoward happen to her.
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Since asking the above question, I found out from our local police and our elder law attorney that I cannot lock her in the house. Apparently it's not exactly legal. So now I don't have any idea what to do. Reading the comment about the dementia patient drowning in the water scares me. I just don't know what to do. I will be getting more caregiver help pretty soon but it won't be around the clock. This disease makes life very difficult. Thank you everyone for responding.
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Yes, gigi, I should have mentioned a double locking the deadbolt, with the key required for each side. You can't have one where you can turn the inside lock by hand. And because of a safety issue, such as fire, you do need to have a key immediately available. It's also good to have a couple of neighbors who are frequently home with the key to let in paramedics, the fire department or police.
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I went through this with my MIL who had dementia, and for whom I was 24/7 caregiver for the last two years of her life. As long as she was able and weather permitted, we would take several outdoors walks each day. Some of these were quite long, as I was hoping to tire her out or get it out of her system for the day. Despite being tired sometimes and wanting to go back inside, she would often get up just minutes later and be ready to go again. I finally secured the doors to the point that she could not open them on her own, and I sometimes just had to remove myself from the situation, sit aside in a far corner of a room where I could still see her, and just let her roam from door to door until she gave it up for the day. This could sometime last for up to 3 hours or more. I would try to distract her, and often took her out for long and winding car rides when the compulsive walking seemed to be getting the best of both of us. She really did not seem to tire of the walking door to door, although she would frequently seem frustrated and pull on the knobs with surprising strength. Until I secured the doors and removed myself from actively keeping her from going out, she would get extremely angry and aggressive with me. Even when we were out walking together, I had to call the sheriff twice to help me get her home, when she would not walk back to the house, but was insistent on going toward the highway instead. The staff from the sheriff's office were very helpful, responding quickly, driving us home, and coming in and talking for awhile. Still, it was hard to explain how I needed help to get my 90 pound, 5 foot MIL to return the block or two from her house, at least the first time, but she would get physically aggressive, kicking, pinching and even spitting at me. I was certainly not going to respond in kind, so thank Heaven for the sheriff's staff. I had covered the doorknobs with plastic covers designed to keep toddlers from opening doors, but even had to secure those with duct tape wrapped around and around, as she could usually get the knob covers off when really intent. I also had to add internal hardware, sliding locks and the locks like those on doors inside hotel rooms, designed to keep someone from forcing the door open from the outside. They also had to be above her reach. This went on for a few months until a change was finally made to her medication, when Namenda was added to the Aricept that she had been taking for more than two years. This behavior of trying to "go home" then began to change. She had been strongly fixated on going home to her childhood home in Tennessee, hundreds of miles away from her home in northern Illinois where she had lived for more than 60 years. She believed that her parents were ill and needed her help, and nothing could convince her otherwise. Eventually, this behavior mostly subsided, though there were still instances now and then, and until the end of her life about 18 months later, she still woke and wandered almost every night, but just from her bedroom to the living room where a bed was also made up for her on the couch. I discovered something late in the process, that might have made a difference in the overnight wandering, had I tried it earlier. She was beginning to fall now and then, and I began sleeping on a loveseat in the living room and just let her sleep on the sofa all night, rather than going to her bed. This seemed to calm her and help her sleep more soundly through the night.

I would have to say that this was definitely the most challenging part of caring for her and I was so thankful when it mostly passed. I wish I had some better advice, but this is what helped us. All the best to you and your mom.
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If you can get her to carry a cell phone, most have tracking capability. Verizon calls the feature "chaperone" but any carrier can do this for you.
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Yes, the KEY-ONLY locks are necessary. I wear the key on a lanyard around my neck and feel like a prisoner. But what else was there to do?

As a back-up in case I forget to lock something, Mom has been equipped with a TRACKING DEVICE which is fastened to her ankle. Luckily she accommodates this. When she questions it, I tell it's so we can find her if she ever gets lost and that satisfies her.

The equipment was loaned to us by the local Sheriff's Office (St. Johns County, Florida). Their victim advocate staff handles it and a woman came to our house to affix the device. She also comes when the battery needs changing and meanwhile I use their *tester* to check the battery on a daily basis. If Mom goes missing, I call the Sheriff’s Office and they have her in the computer system, along with photographs of her, and they go looking. I think the tracking range is a mile and a half. This has been a great help to my peace of mind.

No point in resisting this. If you don't feel strong in your necessary actions, your mother will sense that and keep arguing. Blessings to you in this challenge.
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Errors...

both of my parents and one of my aunts all HAD forms of dementia

the neighbor where I lived who WAS caring for her elderly mother

knocked her self unconscious and DROWNED IN TWO inches of got her water
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Both of my parents and one of my aunts all have forms of dementia. My aunt was very self-protective so even though she talked constantly about getting into a car and driving home, she never really tried to do it. It was more a threat to motivate me to action on her part but I never took the bait. My mom was definitely a homebody. She would get cabin fever and wanted to go out but she had a fixation for only wanting to use her bathroom so we were never out long and she always wanted to return home.

My dad on the other hand had a fixation with "going home". I kept telling him daddy, we are home, which only served to frustrate him. Finally I thought to ask, what home? He look at me as if I were nuts and said Hollywood of course. He was79 then and hadn't lived at his parents home in Hollywood (long gone btw) since he was 28. We had a security door on the front of the house that we had to keep locked. He could go out the back door but the backyard with fenced and the gate was locked. I guess we were fortunate he didn't try to go out windows or over the fence. He was a big man compared to my mom and eventually had to be put in a locked facility because he became dangerously violent, although we knew it wasn't his fault. At the facility, he did try to escape by climbing fences but the enclosures were at least 8 feet high so they were always able to contain him before he got out. In anger however, he threw his glasses and his dentures over the fences into deep ivy, and they were never to be seen again.

As you can see, all dementia patients are different. If you want to keep your mom home, you WILL have to find a way to secure the home completely. In my younger days, when I was in my mid 20's and the only experience I had with memory problems was my great aunt who had "delirium" because of cancer that had metastasized to her brain, the neighbor where I lived, who is caring for her elderly mother (and I later realized I had Alzheimer's), "escaped" out an accidentally unlocked front door, crossed our residential street, tripped and hit her head on the curb, knocked her self unconscious and round into inches of gutter water. If you can't be assured of securing your mom, you will have to place her in a locked memory care facility. Anything else is too dangerous to imagine.

I'm sorry for needing to tell you a horror story, but the neighbors mom dying the way she did is still on my mind over 40 years later. I can only imagine the perpetual grief it caused my neighbor. Believe me that nobody wants to live with that.
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Experiencing the same thing with MIL right now. Last night she went missing about an hour before dark. Found her at grocery store. Very concerned about next steps. I will be watching posts here.
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