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Going out - Carers UK Forum

Going out

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Decided to go out shopping with mum today and all went well including a lovely lunch.....we returned to the car and it all kicked off. She refused to get in the car so I gave her some space... but this didn't help as she started yelling at passers by to get help as I was trying to kill her. It was so embarrassing. Two people stopped to help but I explained that mum has dementia and they went on there way. We went back in to the shopping centre as I thought maybe having a coffee would calm things down but she threw the cup up the wall of the cafe. The staff where very understanding even asking if I was ok and if they could help me in anyway......I just wish I could work out what triggers these moments.....and as if by magic within about 10 minutes things where back to normal. She is usually aware of what's happened but doesn't understand that this isn't rational behaviour. It's so draining....anyone any ideas as its getting to the stage when I'm actually scared to take her out.
Hi Linda,

I don't have personal experience of dementia, so cannot advise. I just wanted to empathise as I have had difficult times out in public with S, particularly when I first had him (aged 9,) and again in his mid to late teens. He has autism and at first glance looks just like any other lad.

One thing that I used to do, was to explain things to S, (even knowing full well he didn't understand much speech,) for the benefit of the public. E.g. The first few times I took him swimming, he had a major paddy when we got out and it looked like I was kidnapping him! So in a calm, loudish voice, I said things like; we've been swimming for an hour, it's time to finish. I know you'd like to stay forever, but we can come again etc (no mean feat, when you walking along the side of the pool in a dripping wet costume, trying not to draw attention to yourself!

The National Autistic society do autism alert cards to hand out to onlookers in difficult situations, Which briefly explain the person has autism, how this can affect the person etc. I did a quick search but could only find an American version for dementia.... Might be worth enquiring if there is such a thing here?


I don't have any answers. I once took mum to her hospital appointment and she kicked the doctor and she had a cast on at the time :blush: . I find it helps to ignore the "bad" behaviour and look for distraction. Also, like Melly, I kept up a dialogue which said what we were going to do next. However, I confess that at her worst nothing really worked. Sending ((hugs)) although aware they are not of much use in such situations
My mother has what I call "blips" where total confusion descends and there's nothing to be done but sit her down and talk soothingly to her. If a stranger were trying to get me into a car I didn't know, I'd start yelling. Maybe your mother temporarily didn't recognise the car and panicked? Or she saw something that unsettled her.
Many thanks for all the replys....we are in that no mans land bit of have being moved on by the Parkinsons team to see if the mental health consultant can help so nothing the GP can do till an appointment comes through..although the GP did issue me some tablets to calm things down if it got really really too much. The trouble is if mum is that bad she won't take a tablet and tends to spit them out....she could probably smash a windscreen with the speed she can fire them out..lol
She once had a melt down in the middle of a carpark and kept putting her hands on the wheelchair wheels so I couldn't move the chair. I retreated a bit to give her space. Everyone was so understanding in driving there cars around us....
I sat calmly next to her on Saturday whilst she was yelling for the police as I was trying to kill her and I guess everyone judged she was quiet safe and moved on. It was when she launched her coffee up the wall of the cafe that my heart stopped that no one was sitting within firing range. It was just then that you feel really alone as you notice people giving your area of the cafe a wide birth...... :(
Linda, not sure if this will work with you mum, but I'll mention it all the same.

When my husband was in end-stage from cancer he found eating etc tricky, and pills became very, very difficult for him to swallow. The hospice nurse recommended taking two teaspoons, and arranging them 'spoonways' (one bowl inside the other). Put the pill in one, and use the convex surface of the second to crush it, then mix it all into a teaspoon full of icecream. Much more palatable.

Your mum may not be aware that she's actually swallowing pills then.

All the best with it. It's so, so difficult when dementia gets a grip like that. As if infirm old age weren't bad enough..... (sigh)
Jenny has a great idea with meds,crush them in something ask for liquid med and mix it in yoghurt,does your mum go out often? If so it could be she forgot her bearings also if she does not it's caused her upset as her home is familiar,please use the medication soon as you see her behaviour change this is to keep her and you safe,try and keep on at Drs to chase appointment up as its no good for either of you.
A friend of mine bought me a book recently written by her beautician who had cared for her mother. My friend thought this book would help me feel less isolated but on reading the book I learned that her mother and their experiences were nothing like mine, thank goodness, but your experiences sound exactly like hers.
The book was called 'A Nice Cuppa Tea'. It might help you in the way my friend had thought it would help me.