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    waking up during the night and wandering
    An_254450 posted:
    Hello everyone.. i am currently taking care of an 89 year old female with moderate Alzheimer's disease. We are there (at her home) in the morning to wake her up until bedtime. We make sure she is asleep or at least in bed and resting before we leave her house. This morning we were told that she was outside during the night and went to the neighbors house and had asked to use the phone (she has her own phone and knows how to use it). We have no evidence that this is true. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED THAT WE KNOW OF. This is SO unlike her, she rarely goes outside at night time unless going somewhere with us. We question if this incident even happened at all.

    My question is... What precautions can we take to ensure that she stays inside during the night? We have put up notes on the door, on bright paper in large bold print, at every exit of the house. Tonight we started putting a piece of paper in the door to see if its still there in the morning.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your time.
    davedsel responded:

    Sounds to me like it is time to install locks on the door that the patient can not open. I am also wondering if the patient now needs care 24/7.

    I pray you can work all this out soon.
    Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


    cjh1203 responded:
    I agree with Dave. Getting out of the house and wandering is a stage that many Alzheimer's patients seem to go through. I have a friend whose mother used to go to her neighbors' houses really early in the morning, and ask if they'd seen her babies. One neighbor found her sitting in his car, holding a candelabra. They finally had to install locks that she couldn't open and, not long after, the decision was made that she needed round-the-clock care.

    Best of luck with this new challenge.

    An_254519 replied to cjh1203's response:
    Although installing locks on the door sounds logical, it is not safe. What if a fire started? Your loved one would be locked in the house! I came across a case where someone had locked their loved one in the home and it was prohibited by adult protective services. Please, please do not do this. It is ok to do if someone is home with the person, so the AD patient doesn't slip out while you are in the bathroom, but not when they are alone. Buy a baby monitor and have someone sleep at the house, listening for the AD patient should they get up. I am a Certified Senior Advisor. Please heed this advice.
    leoturner responded:
    Speaking as a caregiver for my wife who had midstage Alzheimer's and recently passed away I must state no person
    should ever be locked in a house without an adult caregiver
    present. The obvious danger is fire. However, there is another
    caveat, this person should never be left alone, period. If she is
    89 years old with Alzheimer's she requires an adult caregiver
    present at all times or custodial care.

    The loved one will be unlikely to agree with this but you will need to insist. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease and the patient's condition will not get better; it will get worse and you are fortunate you had a neighbor to tip you off.

    cjh1203 replied to An_254519's response:
    I would never, ever, ever suggest that someone be locked in a house with nobody there. That's why I agreed with Dave that the patient needs round-the-clock care and mentioned that in my post.
    cjh1203 replied to leoturner's response:
    Hello Lee,

    I'm so sorry about the loss of your wife.

    I did not, and would not ever, suggest that the patient be locked in the house when she was alone, and did say that I agreed with Dave that she needs care 24/7. I'm not sure how my reply got so misconstrued by the previous poster.

    Best wishes to you,
    Judith L London, PhD responded:
    It's time for someone to be with her the entire night. Unfortunately, she cannot understand the notes and instructions she may receive before she is left alone at night. The only way locking doors works is if the caregiver is in the house as well and knows what to do in case of fire or another emergency. Often, this type of wandering becomes the trigger for family members to consider placement in a memory care facility where her safety is assured.

    biancalthompson responded:
    I would suggest having a sitter with her at night. They can lock the door and have a key with them in case of fire. I would also suggest a baby monitor with a camera to help the sitter keep an eye on her.

    I do this for a living. I work for an agency that supplies around the clock care for seniors so they can stay in their home.
    You don't necessarily have to put her in a home but you can't leave her on her own a night at this point.

    Good luck and God bless

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