Someone broke into your house?

I spent my evening trying to figure out what happened after my mom calls me to say that someone broke into their townhouse. She says the police are on their way. Earlier she called to tell me they were staying in the retirement community for the week.

Wait, you are at the townhouse now?

I was on my way home but changed direction to head over to their house.  Before I arrive, I call my brother who says he has already talked to the police. They understand my parents have dementia. I arrive and the policemen are very nice. I get a quick debrief to understand that my dad and a neighbor broke into the townhouse.


After we clean up, board up the broken window and my parents and I are driving back to their retirement community the story emerges.

My dad believed that when his keys didn’t work, we kids changed the lock on the townhouse. He broke in with the help of a neighbor.

During this process, my mom decided someone broke in and then called the police. She was still overwhelmed in the car when she realized they caused the whole issue. My dad seems crystal clear on what happened and apologies to me several times for the mess he caused.

I mentioned to my parents that they both now have holes in the memory that mean together, they make some really poor decisions. We love them and are very concerned for their safety. I also tell them I’m sad they think we would lock them out of their house.

The car issue raises its ugly head. If we would take their cars, wouldn’t we lock them out of their house? I can understand how they jumped to that conclusion. I tell my parents that both my brothers sat with them and discussed this over the course of three days. Unfortunately, they don’t remember.

I walk them to their apartment (to make sure those keys work). I ask them if they would please stay in the retirement community until I can get the entry fixed, clean up the glass and make sure the locks are not so sticky.

My dad is tired and sweaty and already told me he just wants to shower. He promises me they will call before they attempt to go back to the townhouse.

I tell him I am worried they won’t remember. He gives me a nod as I stick a note to the refrigerator. Confronted.

8 thoughts on “Someone broke into your house?

  1. I understand how you feel as we have been through hell and high water with my 94 year old aunt. Call it sneaky if you must, I call it survival. I can no longer reason with my aunt, so I don’t. We take care of her bills, and all her needs because we know it has to be this way. We are way past guilt. Se might not like the nursing home, but the three of us taking care of her can now get a good night’s sleep knowing she is eating at every meal and is safe where she is.

    Always have your sense of humor with you, even when things look bleak. My aunt is now telling my brother and cousin that she secretly gave birth to me, but gave me to her sister (my mother) to raise. (No she didn’t). She tells me that my brother has never once visited her in the nursing home, even as he arrives to visit while we were on the phone.

    I assume you have already read The 36-Hour Day?

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