When It’s Time to Lock Your Loved One In
A Turning Point on the Alzheimer’s Journey.
My mother came out of the shower one morning, and my father was gone.
They’d had breakfast as usual that day, and then she left him in the living room watching TV to get ready for her day.
But there was no Daddy as usual when she returned. He had walked out the front door, down the street and was found by the police an hour later smiling, they said, but not knowing where he was.
We were blessed that he wasn’t hurt and that the kind policemen brought him home. By God’s grace, my mother always dressed him before breakfast so he had his wallet and ID in his pocket.
But now things had changed. And it was hard for my Mom to face the new reality.
She could no longer leave him alone. She called a locksmith to change the front door double bolt from a turn latch to a key lock. And then every night before they went to bed, and every morning before she took her shower, she pulled the key out of the lock, and locked Daddy inside with her.
This was a brilliant man who had built a successful business. A loving protector of my mother and me. A wise man whose friends and clients came to him for counsel.
And now he had to be locked in his own home to keep him from wandering off and coming to grief.
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, know that this moment will likely come as Alzheimer’s patients love to wander. Please consider changing your door locks now.
This doesn’t meant that it’s time for a facility unless the stress of the disease is overly burdensome on you as primary caregiver.
My parents lived together for two more years after that day, but my Mom now knew that she had to keep a much closer watch on my Dad.
In retrospect, his wandering that morning and safe return were a gift that led Mom to act before something worse happened.