Walkin’ After Midnight

ALZHEIMER’S, YOUR PARENTS AND WANDERING


“Can I help you find something?” my husband Randy asks Mom as she comes out of our guest room and starts down the dark hall.

The clock on the wall reads 12:14 AM. Mom shuffles on straight ahead.

Randy rises from the couch and calls again to Mom across the kitchen. “Chris? Do you need something?”

Mom continues on her way.

Randy dashes through the living room to intercept her. He meets her at the front door.

Mom’s eyes are wide, frightened, lost.  She tries the doorknob.

“Chris, your room is this way,” Randy says, gently redirecting her back toward the guest room. And back she goes.

The next morning, we query Dad about Mom’s wandering. His response?  Mom has yet to ever wander.  So we present last night’s evidence to Dad: Dad’s sound sleep; Randy’s eyewitness testimony; Mom testing the door knob.  But the facts fall on deaf ears. Dad dismisses the evidence as circumstantial.

Case dismissed.

Sophocles wrote in Antigone, “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.” This is as true today as it was then. 

How are you managing your role as the bearer of unwelcome news?  For Alzheimer’s Kids who are also people-pleasers (like me), this can require triple measures of effort.  What effect is this role having on your relationship with the Alzheimer’s Caregiver in your life?

2 Replies to “Walkin’ After Midnight”

  1. I have awoken in a strange room before, feeling lost, in a fog to remember exactly where I am.
    Is that the same intense feeling an Alzheimer’s patient has…all the time?

    It would seem with caring loving touches and gentle reminders, a "lost soul" can find direction…even in the night.

  2. Interesting question you pose, Barney. I really wish I knew the answer.

    Mom took Randy’s kind direction this night and returned to bed. And then got up and wandered again two or three times more before Randy finally turned in.

    The next night, we moved a credenza in front of the door to insure Mom would be safe in our house. Insuring her safety at her house required buy-in from Dad, which required a good deal more effort.

    – Barbara Ivey

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