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Grandma going out for walks on her own
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 1:18 PM
Joined: 2/7/2018
Posts: 2

Hi All, 

My grandma has mid-stage Alzheimer. She often goes out for walks by herself when no one is home. I am worried she will get lost one day. 

The problem is my family can't afford a full-time caretaker to watch over her throughout the day when we are at work. We also don't want to lock her in like a prisoner. Personally, I feel like it's good for her to get some fresh air, sun, and exercise. Better than her sitting and watching TV all day right? I just want her to be able to return home safely.

What should I do? Is there some kind of GPS device that can be turned on remotely by a family member to lead her back home?

Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 1:46 PM
Joined: 6/12/2015
Posts: 1132

The help line told me about something called Medic Alert. It's a bracelet that the person cannot remove herself and a monthly service (that you pay for) that has her information and contact information so that she can be taken back home. I would worry more about her falling or encountering people without her best interests in mind (I live in a city but you might not have that issue where you live). It might be worth it for the bracelet to get her back home because if she forgets her way, she could be lost for a long time if you can't locate her to get her back home. I wouldn't think GPS would help her if she's got dementia. It would help YOU to find her but it would likely be much too confusing for her to try and find her way back.
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 1:51 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4599

Nothing is available to lead her back home that she would know how to use or even remember to use, but you can place a GPS device on her to find her when she doesn't come back home. A smart phone with a "find the device" app, or a GPS bracelet or tracker will work. But really going out alone is not good for a PWD.

 Walking and exercise is absolutely a good thing-but not alone-so many things can go wrong, from falling, to muggings and abductions, crossing or walking into traffic, getting lost in the city or woods, walking into ponds, getting overheated or freezing -why take the chance? Better to get her a sitter for the times she is alone and have the sitter and her take walks together. 

We got mother a companion caregiver (they are cheaper than someone who provides help with ADLs) to stay with her once we knew she could no longer be left alone. The likelihood of a fire at the house was very slim-but when mother could no longer figure out how to use the phone or what to do in an emergency, or find her way back home-we knew we could not leave her alone.  Good luck!

Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:05 AM
Joined: 2/7/2018
Posts: 2

Ok so I guess it's either keep her at home or have someone take walks with her. Thank you both for the advices!
Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:20 AM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4599

We never locked my mother in the house-that would be unsafe in case of fire. What we did when she was still able to do all her ADL but could not be left alone-was to hire a companion sitter for her when we were gone. Some people use adult day care to they could work or get respite. If your must be left alone -be sure to turn the power off to the stove and microwave, all chemicals are locked up and she has a GPS bracelet. Good luck!

Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:38 AM
Joined: 6/10/2017
Posts: 312 are a wonderful granddaughter for caring for her.  My suggestion is to find out all resources available.

Call Alzheimer’s Association 24/7/365 1-800-272-3900 to find out the resources in your area.

Call your county “Council for the Aging” .  We have a daycare program where they have a mini bus that comes and picks up the PWD and takes them to the daycare for the day for activities and socialization. Cost is dependent on income of PWD. And a number of other programs. 

Our local Alzheimer’s Association has volunteers that will come to the home as companions for a very small fee.

They will send you a fair amount of information based on the services offered in your area.

Maybe your grandmother has another relative or friend that would be willing walk with her  on a schedule that is mutually convenient for both.

Just a few ideas ...but it truly isn’t safe for her to walk on her own,  mostly because of the possibility of her getting lost or hurt.  My DH would get lost the minute he turned a corner and I was with him. 

She is lucky to have you to care for her. 




Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:41 AM
Joined: 5/30/2016
Posts: 557

My FIL used to take walks around the neighborhood, because my SIL told him he needed to get exercise. What eventually happened is that he would get lost or winded, then forget how to get home. When we placed him in AL/MC, we were told by the neighbors, he would see them come home and want to follow them inside their homes. The neighbor, that lived behind him, used to have to walk him home. He would get tired and forget where he lived. It is too dangerous to allow her to walk alone. If she has a friend or even a part-time care aid, they could go on scheduled walks. Wearing a Medic Alert bracelet is a must.
Taking A Deep Breath
Posted: Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:46 PM
Joined: 7/2/2013
Posts: 510

I would look for a retired neighbor willing to take her for walks.  Also maybe a retired neighbor would be willing to let your mom come "visit".  Since it would be in the person's home, maybe they would charge less than someone coming to her home.  Also, I have video cameras set up that alert my cell phone when there is motion in the areas that I set.  I can view it live and also look back to see if something happened.  My mom fell the other night, nothing major, but I was able to look back and see how it happened since she couldn't tell me.  It was also nice when we had a sitter and my Xanax turned up missing.  I even told the lady we had cameras.  Sure enough, I looked back and she went through all of our stuff and off camera you could hear the pill bottles rattling. Anyway, I use the Samsung Smartcams.
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