Last night I had a dream that my parents and I were navigating some large place, like a mall or airport. We paused for a moment and I was keeping an eye on dad. He was there one moment, but when I turned around again, he had vanished. A stressful search ensued in my dream. Finally, he appeared out of nowhere, as if nothing had happened. There was great relief and the dream ended shortly after that.
Wandering is common with Alzheimer’s patients. When my father still lived at home, he would go to the bank on Sundays, even though it was closed. He would wander to the post office when he said he was going to the convenience store on the corner to buy a pack of cigarettes. While my mom went to the restroom at McDonald’s and told him to wait right outside for her, he was eventually found at the drive-thru window. A few times, the police had to be called to locate him. It got to the point where I worried about him just stepping out onto the front porch to smoke.
I bought a tracking device from the Alzheimer’s association, but dad got sick and went into the hospital before I convinced my mom to use it. I read on Twitter that they are developing shoes with GPS built in them. This sounds like a great idea.
Anyways, I’ve always wondered what Alzheimer’s patients are thinking about when they wander. Are they really intending to go to the place they end up at, or were they searching for something that only exists in their mind? I guess we may never know for sure, but I hope my dad has found what he was looking for on the other side.
One response to “Dad the wanderer”
Pingback: Getting lost at the fast food restaurant | The Memories Project