Dementia and Independence
Hi all. I know that some on the forum have experience caregiving for people with dementia and I’m wondering if I can get some advice on how to know when it’s no longer safe for them to go out unsupervised.
My husband’s parents live with us. His mother has memory issues and some dementia, but she’s also very intelligent, which makes her fairly convincing in terms of being able to handle herself. That said, we are told that her illness is “permanent and progressive” and she’s showing signs of poor decision-making, impulsiveness and loss of memory. (But, it could be argued, she has always been impulsive, stubborn and occasionally belligerent. It’s her personality as well).
We’re in a bit of a quandary here – we know she has deficits but no one (including us) is clear on how severe they are. We don’t have anyone saying whether she can safely go out on her own. After weeks of advocating for her, we finally have a speech therapist coming in to do a cognitive assessment but that won’t happen right away. In the meantime, she’s pushing hard to go out on her own. Just this morning, she had a meltdown when she was ready to leave in a taxicab and we told her that she couldn’t because her in-home PT was on her way for an appointment she had forgotten. Do we let her go and see what happens (hubby’s preferred strategy) or do we try to keep her home in the name of safety? If we do, are there legal issues with making an adult stay housebound when they don’t want to?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide. This is a tricky situation so while I know that there’s no easy answer for this, I’m hoping that someone else might have had to navigate these waters before and can help us think through it.